The dusting of snow on the ground doesn’t make the driving easy, but it sure is beautiful a beautiful sight…. Snow the life blood, fun, and dreams of ski bums; waxing philosophical at five in morning just seems to come easy in Lake Tahoe, a Mark Twain moment. My companions Josh Paul and Spencer Edwards begin to settle in the car and start to suck down this morning’s coffee while I truck down highway fifty. What can get a group of ski bums out of bed this early besides a foot of powder you may ask?
Adventure, the unquenchable desire to do and see everything. The aim of this trip is to become a group of “Epic Conquerors”, we are on the road to Colorado to ride every lift under the umbrella of the Epic Pass a task not easily obtainable. The three of us are Heavenly Mountain food and beverage employees with ties in the Vail, CO community, we’re off to see friends and ride everything we can while we are on this six day quest for epic-ness.
For those who are in the dark on the “Epic Conqueror” pin, it is a pin-challenge within EpicMix completed by receiving a scan on every chair lift in Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone, Breckenridge, Heavenly, and Northstar mountains, 157 lift rides on six mountains in two states, not a quest for those who leave the mountain early.
When George Mallory was asked why he climbed MT. Everest he replied simply with “because it’s there” and I wish to amend his sentiment in the scope of our trip with “because we can”, thanks to the access of the Epic Pass we have the ability to ride all of these mountains for no extra charge.
The nine-hundred mile drive will end in Vail, CO where we will be staging this expedition from, the three of us spent the previous two winters working on Vail mountain and we will be staying with lifelong friends we made while working and riding Vail. Our first day on the mountain is Spencer’s birthday and we have tradition to uphold and promises to keep, every year for his birthday we host a large outdoor BBQ at Belle’s Camp, a small lodge at the top of Blue Sky basin.
These gatherings have been some of the best the mountain has ever seen and personally some of my favorite memories of good times and close friends. The quest will begin the following day on Keystone Mountain as we attempt to ride every lift on the mountain in one day.
The purpose of the Epic Conqueror series will serve partly as a recounting of an adventure undertaken by Vail resorts employees and the other half will serve as a guide/walk-through for anyone else looking to accomplish this feat. Be sure to stay tuned for the next blog: Keystone in a day and a night.
There is so much life to live, go get yours!
-- Joseph Koenig