Being part of the small percentage of Americans that doesn’t own a vehicle poses some problems when it comes to traveling to and from the mountain, especially in the pre and post seasons. Even with having a free public transit system problems do arise and alternate methods of transportation are sought out. While some people in today’s society might deem hitch hiking as being socially unacceptable, in the world of resort town life it’s just something that is as common place as a dog in the bar.
With A basin and Loveland both making snow out here in Summit County we’re in prime preseason hitch hiking conditions till the middle end of November when the busses will be running to 4 of the 5 resorts. Hitch hiking is one of the most unique things I’ve ever encountered in the snow culture and while I have to caution anyone doing this that there’s potential for danger, I still highly recommend it.
You’ll meet some of the most interesting characters amongst your journey’s back and forth from the mountain. One time on a trek up Loveland Pass to the ski area I was picked up by a mother and son in a brand new BMW. I had miss calculated on being picked up by anyone on this trip and ended up walking from A Basin to the top of the pass when they had trucked along and loaded me into their leather adorned luxury mobile. Within the first 5 minutes of being in the car the mother evidently sensed I was slightly dehydrated from my reenacting what it was like to be a pack mule in the 1800’s. So she offered me some bottled water and it wasn’t the cheap shit, I’m talking Perrier here, like seriously who the hell offers a snowboard bum this shit? So of course being polite I accept her offering and swallow it down.
So after another 15 minutes or so we’re approaching Loveland Ski Area and they don’t just dump me off on the side of the road to walk through the parking lot, they drove me to the front steps. Now that I appreciated more than anything, but the situation just got weirder at this point. As I’m getting out the mother digs into her purse and pulls out a 20 dollar bill and says, “You look like you need this honey!” Seriously she’s offering me money this is very weird if not bordering on something out of the twilight zone. I refuse it and she says, “No you really look like you need this and I just can’t in good conscience not try to help you out.” So once again I turn her down, I might look a bit destitute but I’m living perfectly fine. So for a third time she attempts to give me this twenty dollar bill and once again I refuse to take it, she gets a bit huffy and I thank her and her son for the ride.
If you’re going to be hitch hiking there’s a few simple things you need to know. Luck isn’t always on your side so just keep on trucking along with a smile and that thumb out. If you look like a axe wielding serial killer you’re probably going to get passed by. Same thing goes if you’re traveling with a companion and he looks like a reject from one of those cavemen Geico commercials. Location is always key as well you want them to see you and be able to determine if you’re a safety threat or not. This is a two way street as you don’t want to get in a car with this random stranger giving you a ride and have them try to molest you or cut your head off. Cause frankly being decapitated is not cool under any circumstances, molesting is perfectly acceptable though if the person giving you a ride is either a hot cougar, a hot chick (dude if you’re of the female persuasion), or you just want to nail something and cure that dry spell. Finally always let someone know where you’re going and about what time frame you expect to show up. It’s just a minor safety precaution in case something does happen.
Now talking about sketch ball situations reminds me of one of my many misadventures with some random guys giving me a ride back from The Basin this past spring. Kid pulls over in a cream colored Camry and I roll in. After the first turn I realized this kid was an idiot and his cohort in crime wasn’t exactly the brains of this dynamic duo either. So as we’re going past the Artesian well (highly recommend drinking this if you’re in Colorado) they see a road biker on the side of the road. Now most normal people would slow down or give them a wide berth. No not this kid he speeds up, swerves off the road, and screams, “death to all spandex!” or something along those lines. So the car is now half on the road half off approaching speeds of about 80 mph with a guy on a road bike in front of us. At the last minute he jerks the wheel and we swerve around the biker as the kid in the passenger seat throws some garbage out the window at this biker.
Yeah not exactly a great situation as if we had hit the biker that would have made me an accessory to vehicular assault. So just be weary of kids with mommy’s car cause they’re dangerous. But even with all these possibilities for danger and decapitation I still stick to my guns and give it a chance once to see what kind of characters you encounter on this magical journey.