Warm Up To Cool Adventures
IF THE FIRST GENTLE SNOWFLAKE OF THE SEASON makes you yearn for the slopes, pack up your gear and head to Hogadon Ski Area for some winter adventure in Casper! Whether you're looking to cruise downhill on skis or catch some air with your board, Hogadon offers 600 vertical feet of terrain for riders of all levels.
Adventure Guide Ian Delap, manager at a local skateboard/snow-board retailer, has been shredding Casper Mountain since he was about 12 or 13 years old. "Basically, I got into it because I skateboarded a lot," he says. "I couldn't really skate during the winter, so I picked up a snowboard. It's just relaxing, it's fun - it takes your mind off everything."
Located just 11 miles south on Casper Mountain, Hogadon offers something for skiers and snowboarders at every level. There's even a terrain park for more adventurous riders. And, as Delap reminds us, it's an easy journey to the slope "It's only twenty minutes away from town. You can ride up there in less than a half an hour." Another great feature, he points out, is the lack of long lines that are usually seen at larger ski resorts.
The conditions at Hogadon are typically "packed powder...they keep it groomed nicely; [they] try to buff out the icy patches." He goes on to say, "Your bunny hills for the beginners are a little bit more flat. Medium level hills, they're going to be a lot steeper, [and] take a little bit more experience to go down. Work your way up to the terrain park - that's going to enable you to do tricks - bust out some aerials or hit up some rails or something more advanced. Then they've got black diamonds that are just steep all the way down - very straight and very steep."
If you're new to the sport and deciding between investing in skis or a snowboard, Delap offers a few pointers: With skis, there are poles to help keep you in the upright position! Snowboarding tends to treat your knees with a little more kindness, but can put more stress on your ankles. And while powder is great for snowboarding, skis work well on bumpy, icy terrain.
Still not sure which sport is for you? Why not try them both? Casper has many places to rent or buy equipment. Or, if you'd rather purchase everything you'll need for a great day on the mountain, Delap offers this advice: "If you're just starting out, you're going to have to get a board, boots, bindings, and definitely a full set of warm winter clothes. You're also going to want some snowpants, and a waterproof jacket-then goggles are definitely a must!"
Although it'd be awesome to step onto the snow for the first time ever and ski like Bode Miller, that's probably not going to happen! Delap reminds us that Hogadon features a fully accredited ski school, so visitors can relax and learn from the professionals. Hogadon Ski School offers group and private lessons, available by reservation. "It's great education for your dollar - it's pretty cheap, and they give quality service."
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