Winter brings with it ice climbing. Bad-ass.

Don’t bemoan the demise of summer. Winter in Colorado is rad. The raddest.

You don’t even have to ski or ride to appreciate winter here. No kidding. You can hike, ride a bike and rock climb every month of the year here in Boulder.

And if it’s looking sketchy here, just travel to Shelf Road (to climb) or Fruita or Moab (to ride) for some sunny winter warmth.

Join the club

Boulder Freeride, CU’s ski and snowboard club, is the largest student group on campus. Check out boulderfreeride.com to learn about their trips and the benes — lots of them — that come with membership.

If you get a little down as summer fades, just buck up and remember these five things about Colorado winters you can look forward to:

1 Poison ivy: Gone

That heinous poison ivy that seems to blanket some trails in the Flatirons? Finito.

Oops, not entirely. It’s still there, lurking, waiting for some un-wizened student to think it’s OK to walk on through… or do something else in, away from the trail. Um. Yeah.


You can still get the itch-causing oil off of dead plants. Just take my word for it and don’t ask.

2 Sunny crags and trails: Friendly

Finally, you can climb on the West Ridge after class without feeling like your mom (who doesn’t approve of “this ridiculous climbing business — I just pray you’ll become more responsible, like your older brother!”) is using the wrath of both God and dog to bake you off the rock.

Wow, I guess dog does exist.

Also nice on sunny but cool afternoons: The Monkey Traverse (Flatirons, bouldering); the Bihedral (Boulder Canyon, sport and trad climbing); Marshall Mesa, White Rocks, Boulder Reservoir trails; quaffing PBR tallboys in any sunny location while wearing puffy jacket.

3 Skis and snowboards: Dusted

This one’s a no-brainer in Colorado. Nothing warms your heart like dusting off your winter sliding gear.

Practicing your ski-area bro-speak as you dust helps. For starters, insert “dude” and “bra” into, like, every sentence, man, yeah, it’s gonna be so sick.

A ski-season note to freshmen: Make a Cali-to-CU friend like yesterday. You need this rich friend’s parents’ Vail condo lined up before the first freshies. And you need time to solidify your friendship so you get in on the Tahoe condo, too.

If you don’t ski or ride, you can still look forward to snow. It’s what dining-hall trays were made for. (Sorry, CU Dining Services! We’re still BFFs, right?!? Xoxo!)

4 Cyclocross season: On and dirty

You’ve been tending the ‘cross-stoke fires since you got that Ridley over the summer. Yeah!

Come winter, it will be time to trash it and thrash it, Euro-style. OH yeah!

Except… It’s kind of depressing to train in the dark. And the race is over in 45 minutes, but you spend three hours post-race cleaning your drivetrain with a toothbruth. And OK, it kind of sucked when your pedals froze mid-race and you couldn’t clip in any more.

Whatevs. If it weren’t full-on conditions, it wouldn’t be ‘cross.

(That’s what you’ll tell people. Memorize it.)

What you won’t admit: You just want a photo of you drenched in mud and looking totally kick-ass for your Facebook profile — just like the pros around here have.

Fingers crossed that your friends comment that you’re so far into the gnar they miss seeing you…

5 You-plus-ice: Impressive

Let’s face it, you look core when you head out the door with ice tools.

Ice climbing is the perfect way to impress your friends — especially if you return to campus with a bloody nose (falling ice), bruised arm (more falling ice) or dented helmet (OK, it’s dangerous, we get it).

They might say ice climbing sounds incredibly dangerous and cold. You might say whatevs, it’s OK as long as you don’t fall, then grin toothily to reveal a broken tooth (falling ice).

They might say you must be a complete idiot if you’ve deluded yourself into thinking it’s safe.

Pffft. You know it’s the raddest sport around. At least, that’s what you tell yourself when you’re shivering at the cliff. No, seriously, it’s the raddest. I mean, you can’t feel your feet or hands, and if you fall leading, you might break a leg, but it’s fosho the raddest.

(You’ve had a repetition problem ever since you took that dinner plate square in the noggin last winter.)

The raddest!

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