It’s been quite a winter this year, and the snow run-off in the mountains looks like it’s going to continue on for quite some time! The snow just kept on falling in March, April, and now even in May! We’ve had to shovel the roofs and decks multiple times this winter which amounted in enormous piles that built up around our homes. In October, we had laughed at the 10 ft. high snow stakes planted around our home thinking Crested Butte was overly zealous in their planning for heaps of snow. Little did we know what would be in store for us this year! Our Vail friends were buried in their homes with snow covering their windows and we have had 20 ft. high piles of snow being pushed into the school parking lot which the kids loved playing on all winter long. We’re now into May and we’re just starting to see hints of spring with small glimpses of green grass. We really can’t complain, because as ski-lovers, it was an awesome winter season, but with all that snow comes the impending future of what’s to come.... the dreaded MUD SEASON! And this year, it’s going to be a loooooong one!
* May 1st in the Butte! *
Last year was an exceptionally low snowfall year; the runoff was so minimal that I was able to ski in the morning and ride my bike in the afternoon by early April. I rode my bike a ton in preparation for the early June GoPro Mountain Games in Vail. However, this year will be an entirely different story!!! I’m already dreading the longevity of this mud season and the indoor bike training that I’ll have to grind out. Sure, there was already a mass exodus from our town when the mountain closed, and we all ventured off to seek sunshine and beaches over our late spring break. A much needed reprieve after a long winter of serving our guests that come for their ski adventures and allow us to live in these amazing ski towns! But then we had to come back... to snow, snow, and more melting snow. So what does one do now that the mountain has closed and conditions are “muddy?”
1. Get a good pair of rain boots AKA “wellies”. It took me 10 years to realize I NEEDED these. Why did I not do this sooner!?! Best investment ever... just trust me! Listed below are a few of our favorite brands for rain boots:
- Kamik - with fun designs, a great price, and a larger calf circumference, these boots will work for everyone from young to old!
- Hunter - The classic Hunter rain boot is soooooo cute, but for the girl with more "athletic calves" (like myself) these simply won't work So I'll just be jealous of all the others that get to wear these fun classics.
- LaCrosse Footwear - For a more rugged sole, yet maintaining a stylish boot, we turn to LaCrosse's Grange rain boot. It come in a variety of colors and is sure to outlast all other shoes in your closet! You may only need to purchase one pair for the rest of your life; but because they're so great, you may be tempted to buy more than one pair!
* We love these mommy/ child matching boots! *
2. Steer clear of the potholes! You know it’s bad when you find yourself apologizing to your car when you hit one.
3. To keep the kiddos busy, find the entities in your town that don’t shut down just because the visitors are gone... this means your public libraries and local rec centers. For an at home activity, teach your kids how to cook/bake a new recipe. We can help with that!
* As a mountain kid, it's never too early to wear shorts!*
4. Start training for summer! It seems that most good mud seasons are put to good use by training for the upcoming summer season. Fine tuning our bodies to get them in peak shape for biking, hiking, paddling, climbing, etc! So do what you have to do to stay motivated... join Strava and challenge your friends to a friendly Mud Season competition. (If you need a training partner, feel free to find me on Strava and follow me!) And if you do venture outdoors in mud season, please respect the trails and don’t bike or hike where you’ll leave a mark... this means, if it’s muddy or snowy, be prepared to turn around.
5. Check local papers for off-season restaurant and spa specials to pamper yourself! One of our favorite weeks in the Vail Valley is “Restaurant Week” which is held from May 26th-June 2nd this year. Participating restaurants have specials for $20.19! It’s a great time to try out the restaurants that you wanted to go to all season but were bustling with crowds or had menu prices outside of your budget.
* We jump for joy when we get to ride our bikes in Moab with 85˚ weather! *
6. Escape to somewhere warmer! While a beach vacation may not be in the cards for everyone, it’s usually possible to find a closer weekend getaway to warm your bones that doesn’t have to cost a fortune. If you’re in Colorado or Utah, head to the desert and join us to mountain bike/ hike/ climb in Moab! It warms up nicely in the spring and is a fantastic spot to test your camping skills and gear for the summer. If you’re in Tahoe, make a getaway to the coast or Napa Valley! (The Bay Area isn’t always warmer, but it will give you a nice change of scenery during the muddy mess that we’re all in.) In the Northwest, take a break in the city and enjoy the seaside dining in Vancouver and Seattle or head inland to Kelowna for the vineyards and to hike, bike, golf and fish. If you’re in the Northeast, head down to New York to see the leaves blossom and maybe catch a Broadway show. (I’m sure it’s been awhile since you escaped the mountains to spend a night in the city! It will be a nice treat after the long winter.)
No matter what you do or wear this mud season, the good news is that summer is on the horizon, and we locals all know that it’s the summers that bring joy and bliss to our lives! It will be here soon... very soon!