Justifying Skiing's White Ribbon of Death

**Welcome #TeamSierra blogger Gina Bégin as she explores the early season ski conditions in Colorado by skiing Arapahoe Basin and Loveland Ski Resort.**
By the time Autumn rolls around, skiers and boarders everywhere are practically foaming at the mouth, waiting for the slightest excuse to strap in, buckle up and hit anything that's white. Thanks to technology, resorts in colder climes can bypass an uncooperative Mother Nature, thus tapping into this hungry audience by loading up slopes with manmade snow and opening their hills long before winter officially hits.

Enter the "White Ribbon of Death."
Skiing A-Basin
Classified as a ski run comprised of artificial snow, the White Ribbon of Death is the solitary soldier of the mountain, withstanding brutal battles of sun, little snowfall, and hordes of crazed enthusiasts deprived of their addiction for roughly seven months. Starting as a pristine band of groomed perfection, by the end of opening day the thing has been chopped, skied off and laid down to its icy base—all of which matters little to skiers in their delirious state.

Colorado resorts are notorious for being the first in North America to blast snow on these types of ski runs, thus claiming responsibility for kicking off the ski season. Though a couple of other areas turned chairs temporarily this year, Arapahoe Basin (A-basin) and Loveland fired them up for keeps in October.

I joined the pack in Colorado to investigate whether the man-made conditions warranted bragging rights. Reaching A-basin, I found a lot so packed that I had boot blisters by the time I reached the lift. The mass of people were mostly snowboarders in their teens and early 20s donning tall tees, skinny snow pants, and foregoing helmets altogether. I felt like a foreigner.
Early season skiing
Gina Begin
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Gina Begin
Although Gina calls Utah her second home, you're unlikely to actually find her there. Since storing her things over two years ago and hitting the road, she's been on a quest to reach the distant places of North America. She's skied the backcountry of the Chugach in Alaska, slept under the northern lights in the Yukon Territory, photographed Nova Scotia's coves, backpacked in southern U.S. wildernesses and munched on sugared tamarindo in the jungles of Mexico. Follow Gina's adventures on her personal blog or on the Outdoor Women's Alliance site.
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