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Passes: Diamond Peak Season Pass and Mountain Collective Pass

Midway through the 2016/2017 ski/snowboard season, I came to realize that skiing resort-accessed terrain within North America every month of 2017 was entirely possible. I joked about it with friends and coworkers, and it wasn’t until April when I decided that I would finally commit to this nonsense.  At the time I didn’t have rules or a plan for how I would accomplish this, and I would say that is the general theme of this entire experience.  What sparked my desire to do this was how much fun spring skiing was this past season. Many of my best days were in May and June. Another bonus during these extended hours of daylight and skiing was the ability to enjoy the mountain from 7am-3pm, and then move onto other activities such as hiking, swimming, biking and exploring the area.

Winter 2016/17 (December-April)

The winter months were pretty typical. Lake Tahoe was getting lots of snow and the conditions were great every day. From bluebird days ripping groomers to bluebird pow days shared with great friends, the season treated me well. During the winter, I visited a lot of Tahoe resorts: Diamond Peak, Boreal, Sugar Bowl, Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, Homewood, and Sierra at Tahoe to name a few. I also got a day in at Brandywine in Ohio (February), Peek ‘n Peak in Western New York (February), a couple days at June Mountain (January), Aspen Snowmass (January), Whitefish (March), and Mammoth to round out the season. We had a great winter of snow on the West Coast, so the bigger than normal snowpack meant we were in for a great spring/summer season on the mountains.

Spring/Summer 2017

May 2017 – I skied a couple days in May, as the conditions proved to be truly great.  The most memorable one was ripping laps at Squaw with my cousin, who was visiting from Ohio. Most of the mountain was open and conditions were very spring-like with temps in the mid 60s. The sun was shining and we maximized our bluebird day.  

PHOTO CREDIT: Author at Squaw Valley

June 2017 – I used the soft snow conditions to convince some of my non-ski friends to go skiing at Mammoth. Sharing my love for snowsports with others is one of my favorite things. I was stoked to see all of my pals enjoy spending time on the snow! Most of the mountain was open too, so that allowed people of all ability levels to enjoy the snow in June. Soft snow makes learning how to ski or ride more forgiving and it takes out the possibility of being cold, so I thought it was the perfect time to introduce them to snowsports. It seemed to work since all of those friends now have their own set of skis or snowboard. Most of them have even purchased a season pass!

July 2017 – While Mammoth was a great resort to spend my June ski day at, and I am sure July would have been equally as fun, I made it a point to try and visit new resorts that were open (within reason).  I embarked on a road trip to Mount Bachelor over the Fourth of July weekend. Mount Bachelor tends to have a “JulySki” day whenever the prior winter is a good one. I recommend checking out Bachelor and exploring Bend if possible in the upcoming seasons. Conditions were much more firm than I anticipated during the morning, but as the day progressed, we had some fantastic spring conditions. The level of stoke from the Bachelor locals skiing at their home resort in July made you really understand how passionate Bend locals are about skiing.

August 2017 – In August, I crossed a resort off my bucket list that I have always wanted to ski in the summer. It is arguably the summer skiing capital of the US — Timberline Resort in Oregon. The conditions were fantastic, and there is something exhilarating about skiing on a glacier in August. The most difficult decisions about being at Hood in the summer are whether to ski or bike.

PHOTO CREDIT: Author at Timberline

September 2017 – The only thing that stood between me and my September ski day was a short flight to Colorado, and bronchitis.  After arriving in Colorado, I became super ill, so I took a few laps at Copper Mountain’s summer park then made my way to the local doctor. Copper was a park-only day, as that is what they had set up. They had features set up for advanced skiers and snowboarders.

PHOTO CREDIT: Author at Copper Mountain

Fall/Winter 2017

October 2017 – October was one of the more difficult months, as I patiently waited for the early season resorts (Loveland and Arapahoe Basin, I am looking at you) to open for the season. In order to make the month of October more challenging, I thought I would invite my mother, who hasn’t skied in 40 years, to join me.  This indeed made my October ski day more difficult, but it was also the most rewarding day. I spent most of the day pulling my mother up the bunny hill, just to be certain we could spend a ski day together! Out of all of the ski days on the mountain, this one is the most memorable. I want to give a huge shout out to the entire Rentals Department at Loveland for being so helpful, and helping me get my mom on the snow!

November 2017 – November ended up being the most challenging ski day for me. I assumed Tahoe was going to have a solid snowpack by November, but that was not the case, and I hoped if I waited till the end of the month I would have a great story about an epic November pow day, but that wasn’t the case.  In order to continue this journey, I skied a couple night sessions at Boreal. I grew up night skiing in the cold air under dim lighting, so this was a great way for me to tie my childhood ski memories together with my current journey.  

December 2017 – December was the final straw, and I spent the day at opening weekend at Sugar Bowl resort in Tahoe.  As the snowpack in Tahoe didn’t amount to much, there was enough to enjoy a great day ripping groomers under sunny skies with friends.  Skiing in December, when the mountain is closing up around 4pm, and the sun is starting to set, really had me appreciating the long summer ski days I had this year.  

PHOTO CREDIT: Author at Diamond Peak

Final Thoughts

With the 2017-2018 ski/snowboard season is in full swing, I reflect on my year chasing an endless winter, and think about how I miss the ease of spring skiing.  A typical summer ski day checklist went something like: shell pants, shorts, a hoodie, sunscreen, and your normal gear.  In the winter you obviously need layers, so I miss traveling light for summer skiing.  There is also something liberating about waking up in a tent at 7am to have a cup of coffee from a Jet Boil. Besides the pow days I had at Sugar Bowl and Aspen, my favorite days were at Loveland and Mammoth. At Mammoth, I got to introduce my friends to skiing and, at Loveland, it was great to get my mother out on the slopes for the day. I was able to spend some great powder days ripping hard with friends who are great skiers and riders, so it was nice to balance out the skillsets of friends who joined in my endeavor.  

PHOTO CREDIT: Author at Mammoth Mountain

It was also very motivating to have so many people interested in where I was going to spend each ski day during the summer months, and to have acquaintances or friend’s parents check in on my journey throughout the summer/fall to see if I was going to complete my challenge.

I think it’s a fun challenge, but the real fun is just spending warm days with extra sunlight on the mountain with friends.  I would highly recommend trying to plan a weekend or a long weekend camping and chasing an endless winter with some of your closest pals!

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