49 Days on Mountain

I broke my own record for the number of days I spent on the mountains this season. We started the Epic Pass in winter 2021/22, in which I spent 26 days. In winter 2022/23, I spent 37 days. This season, winter 2023/24, I spent 49 days. I put my Epic Pass to good use.

In the past few months, I made decent progress on skiing and snowboarding. My skills on both were about at the same level. It was fun learning new techniques in skiing and snowboarding as if I were competing with myself.

I was glad that I picked up snowboarding. A forty-something guy learning snowboarding for the first time was a huge challenge, but I conquered it. Snowboarding definitely had a young, punk-rock vibe to it. Although I picked up snowboarding, I made the right decision not to give up skiing. I still have so much love for skiing. It got me into the game and I got hooked.

I enjoyed the ability to switch my brain from skiing to snowboarding and vice versa. Both sports gave me so much joy on the mountains. I didn’t feel any stress when I hit the slopes. I just let myself go. I tried to alternate between skiing and snowboarding from one day to the next so I would never get bored. When I didn’t feel like snowboarding, I could switch to skiing. The only downside was that I needed to be on the slopes more to do both sports.

My wife was not happy about it, but she always supported me. She understood my relentless drive. If I get into something, I go all in. Just like when I fell in love with her, I went all the way. For skiing and snowboarding, I wouldn’t do it just for pleasure. I would need to make some progress. I wouldn’t train hard to be a pro and I wouldn’t compete with anyone else. I competed with myself. I wanted to learn something new. I am still working on my carvings.

I had a fantastic season with my family and myself. I can’t thank my wife enough for buying our passes, booking our spots, and supporting my passion. No doubt, skiing and snowboarding are expensive sports. If our family of six would go skiing for one day, it could cost us over $1,000 if we needed lift tickets, rentals, and lessons. With our own equipment, Epic Passes cost us about $2,800. With rentals and food, our entire season cost about $7,000. That was more affordable than a week of vacation, which would cost $8,000 to $12,000, or a trip to Việt Nam, which would cost us $15,000 to $20,000.

The Epic Passes were an investment upfront, but they were worthwhile since we skied and snowboarded more than 10 days. The Epic Pass was also controversial as Vail acquired more and more resorts. On the good side, we could explore different mountains. If we didn’t have all the options, we probably just skied at Liberty, which is located closest to us, and nowhere else.

My wife had already purchased Epic Passes for us. Let’s do it again next season.