As ski resorts are now preparing to open, many of Colorado’s new transplants are eager to get out and enjoy all the incredible skiing and boarding that Colorado has to offer. While many new residents have been skiing for years, thousands will be hitting the hill for the first time.
You may be asking yourself, “What is a gaper”? Although there is no official definition of the word in Webster’s Dictionary, a gaper could be described as someone who is in over their head, and / or is lacking on-mountain etiquette. I can speak first hand, because I was once a gaper myself. Even though they look warm, I found out quickly back in 1993, that Starter jackets were not meant for sub-zero temperatures.
Just because you might be a beginner, doesn’t mean you have to be a gaper. Dressing for the elements will definitely bring much more enjoyment to your day on the mountain.
Like many adventure sports, you get what you pay for. If you go with the knock off brands, you are going to be in for a long, cold winter. Invest in the right gear from the start. While you might be on your rear for the first few months, at least you’ll be dry and warm. High quality outerwear (Patagonia, Arcteryx, Marmot) will be used for many seasons to come. I’ve been wearing the same Patagonia Capilene base layer for the last ten seasons. I pretty much live in it from mid-October until Mother’s Day. If you are on a budget, there are some killer deals at the local consignment stores around town.
I’ll admit it, up until the late 90’s, early 2000’s, helmets on the mountain were still perceived as lame. Fortunately, the evolution of protecting our dome is now common sense. Buy a helmet folks. You will charge so much harder and be more confident once you do. Additionally, your head will never have felt so warm on a cold day.I love the Bern helmets; stylish, lightweight, and durable.
Once again, the technology of goggles has advanced light years over the last decade. Stay away from the amber lense Scott goggles that your dad bought in 1992. Having clear vision on the slopes is paramount. I suggest Zeal for the quality, and for the locally owned aspect
The only thing better than a good day on the hill is a good Apres ski with friends and family. As a former bartender in Vail, I can say that gaper-ish behavior is not just limited to the trail. If you are the loudest guy at the bar, bragging about how many “double blacks” you skied, you are entering into gaper-ville.
Be safe, have fun, and don’t be a gaper!