The last day of ski season is always a celebration. It is all the more so if it falls on a beautiful, warm day. And when it does, it can be a delightful reminder of what it means to live in Colorado.
Sunday was the last day for daily operations for Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort to most locals. The ski area does plan to be open this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but Easter Sunday had the look and feel of closing day.
It is a party, packed with full-on silliness and a certain amount of youthful excess. But it also is combined with athleticism, the collegiality of shared enthusiasm and this state’s near-universal love of all-things outdoors. How decadent can it be if key ingredients include exercise, sunshine and fresh air?
It also includes a degree of politeness and general kindness not everyone might expect from large numbers of people partying. These are happy folks.
Of course, there are half-naked college kids, snowboarders dressed as Arabs and women in pink tutus. There are teens making out on the lift, kids skiing backward dressed in overcoats and others risking getting tangled in their costumes in aerial maneuvers.
Yes, there usually are a few people who have a drink or two past the point where they really should not be skiing. But that is the exception, and even they tend to be good-natured and well-behaved. Complete strangers unfailingly urge each other to have a good day when getting off the lift.
For all that, it remains a multi-generational affair. Whether it is an aging boomer alone on Air Mail, a senior-citizen couple carefully carving their way down Peace or a young mother shepherding two little children down Demon, the bare-skin and body-paint crowd is well-balanced by a more sedate set having just as much fun.
And if anyone did actually ski naked, what of it? That is a long-standing, if little discussed, last-day tradition – one that, of course, works better when closing day is not accompanied by a snowstorm or freezing temperatures.
Traditionalists might object that rock ’n’ roll, beer and bikini tops on “The Beach” is an inappropriate way to spend Easter Sunday. But that would be a limited view of what goes on there. For anyone who chooses to see it, closing day offers ample evidence of God’s love in so many happy people experiencing such joy in the gift of life – and snow.
For those with a more secular take, it is just one more reason to be glad we live in Colorado.