Please Call the Epic Pass Something Else

Anyone functionally literate knows that in our modern parlance, there is possibly no word more overused than “epic.” Even the original internet curmudgeon who only writes like twice a year anymore took time to put his stamp on it eight fucking years ago. It’s like “awesome” but never quite casualized down to the point where it sounds nonchalantly correct when somebody says it. For it to be the defining word of the Colorado ski industry’s season pass advertising campaign, which is seen on billboards all over town and heard on radio spots constantly it can be an aggravating experience, especially for those of us who don’t understand or will never reap the tangible benefits. Mountain sports aren’t really for me, I don’t like being recreationally cold and a ski lift is basically a ferris wheel it’s easier to murder somebody on. The Epic Pass makes Colorado feel like living in a state populated entirely by 14 year-old boys playing Fortnite, another thing I’ve never participated in but I’ve about had it with all the same.

Costing nearly $1000 but available in a variety of restricted tiered flavors, the Epic Pass is probably an objective bargain if going down a hill screaming “wheeee” is your thing. Maybe you’re one of those jackasses that leaves them clipped to your snow jacket, desperately inviting conversation at a Starbucks from some other guy in pants everyone can hear when he walks. It’s fine. That’s your thing. I hope both of you end up like Sonny Bono, or Liam Neeson’s wife, whichever celebrity ski death reference is going to track, but it’s your stupid thing and everyone has one. For the rest of us, if as a society we could just rename it that’d really be great. I’ve got some suggestions!

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Double down on the irritating and obviously dated cool-guy lingo and let’s just go with Tubular Pass! Embrace snowboarding’s awkward DayGlo roots, rock a Wyld Stallyns t-shirt, and hit the slopes with a pass good all season in Colorado, Utah, and Lake Tahoe for one low price! You’re so cool. You bought a fanny pack before the ironic phase, drunkenly cut your own Trevor mullet after Charlie Blackmon decided on turning himself into the walking embodiment of a Duck Dynasty season 4 DVD, and you’re just 2 blazed 2 care. Get up to the timeshare, pound some natty ice, stash that vape pen, hit the lift, and go fuck yourself, brah.

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People like truth in their advertising, so this rebranding campaign would emphasize the nearly three hours in traffic you’ll spend getting from the gentrified, traffic-clogged hellscape of Denver to Silverthorne, a 65-mile drive. Sunday, after you’re hungover from lodge drinking, you’ll have another three hours of mind-numbing traffic to nurse your sore body and ruminate in contemplating suing a child for running into you at 10AM on Saturday. Leave your yuppie LoDo condo life behind for a weekend so you can huff Suburu exhaust fumes until you get so hungry you settle for the seventh Burger King you see in Frisco instead of the planned family meal at Beau Jo’s Pizza (it’s Colorado style!), which you could’ve just gotten in Arvada on the way up. You could take the ski train from Union Station to Winter Park, but you paid almost $1000 for this experience, you’ll be damned if you’re not going to resort-hop in your own Porsche Cayenne. You can’t listen to Imagine Dragons and get all pumped for the slopes on a shuttle! BELIEVER!

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Perhaps I’m being unfair in characterizing people who have hobbies that cost upwards of $5000 a year as resort-dwelling snobs or the type of pampered rich kids that fly in and rent RVs for music festivals. Maybe it was my young California upbringing, where for the base payment of a surfboard and some training in creative parking you could have a lifelong pastime that connected you to nature and a whole community of people in your area. In Colorado, nothing is affordable anymore, and if you work for less than $60K a year, forget being able to live in anything less than a two bedroom house with eight other people you met on Craigslist. Who has Breck condo money these days? This pass reflects the realities of being working class in Colorado while still trying to engage in some kind of recreational activity so you don’t blow your brains out all over the Fryolator. For the low cost of $450 on the season, pick one mountain to ski all winter long, and we’ll throw in your lodging: a futon in a trailer we’ve euphamized as a hip “tiny house” built for resort staff. You’ll be sharing it with a lift operator that’s been addicted to percocet since he blew out his knee in 2007 or a ski patrolman that targets Chinese tourists indiscriminate of gender for his sexual predilections. Bring some kush and craft beer, it’s used as currency in the employee “villages.”