Allison Plean: Gaming at Gate D |

Allison Plean: Gaming at Gate D

— My favorite holiday is closing day at the Steamboat Ski Area. It trumps Halloween because you get to dress up and snowboard.

The only place to celebrate this day is Gate D. Those of us who were just outside the ropes of the ski area boundary Sunday earned our right to rejoice and wear ugly sweaters, or nothing but a g-string and a CamelBak.

With Morningside Lift closed, everyone had to hike from the top of Storm Peak.

The scramble felt like climbing Mount Everest. At least on Everest you can pay Sherpas to carry your gear. Once at the top, many vowed to stop smoking and to never hike again.

The endless hill led to a base camp of carved-out sculptures, steps, benches and entranceways made out of slushy snow. There was even a man in a sombrero with a handlebar mustache standing at the gates to greet the weary hikers.

By 3 p.m., it didn’t matter if we had accumulated 300 feet or 3,000 feet of snow during the season. The mountain was ours and we were there to celebrate our way of life.

We are residents of a culture that integrates small glimpses of real world reality with the freedom of the outdoors.

Ski town culture is silly revelry and whiskey courage – locals launching off deadly kickers in front of a group of funny dressed spectators.

Robbie Shine flew off the ski jump in his skate skis.

More amazing than the inverted ski jumpers were the plaid pants and yellow felt suits that men in our community hoard in their closets. The best costume I saw was a man named Trent dressed as Clark Griswold. He sewed a stuffed squirrel to the back of his jacket. There was no lack of creativity in the Gate D colony.

From 10,000 feet, the whole world was sprawled out in front of us as the vast expanse of our soon-to-be summer playground.

Closing day is more than a rite of passage into spring. It marks the end of a season of ski pass holder’s guilt.

At the end of the day Sunday, all everyone wanted to do was take a nap and dream of all the future naps we can now enjoy on our days off without the pressure of skier’s guilt.

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