Beth Brandon

I thought that by the end of Wintersköl and the arrival of Gay Ski Week, I’d feel less shell-shocked from the holidays. I’m still unwinding though, and trying to figure out where the dust settled and if there are any leftovers. I think we all are.

Wintersköl is so great. It somehow manages to be a festive celebration of winter, while simultaneously keeping a low-key vibe. And that’s not a dig either. We get so jacked up from the holidays that we need a little something to hold us over until the next fix.

People don’t necessarily come here for Wintersköl. But I do think they’re psyched when they get to line up for free soup and tour through some ice sculptures on their way to the doggy fashion show. And if they were too busy skiing to miss that, they were pleasantly surprised with a killer fireworks display featuring my new personal favorite firework — suspended rainbow glitter.

We got together with friends on Saturday and had every intention of strolling through said ice sculptures and viewing the fireworks display so we could all be tucked in bed by 9:30. As it turns out our loft, with the obstructed view of Ajax, can house seven adults stacked side by side. We saw at least 80 percent of the show and all within the comfort and warmth of the indoors. I felt like I’d struck gold, and that’s the truth. Anything to beat this post-holiday hangover.

I still find myself thinking, “Now what?” I’ve decided that because the holidays were so intense this year, we’re still allowed to feel out of sorts.

Tomorrow’s Downhill Drag Race might be just the ticket for reset, but if not, we’ve always got the great outdoors. Then we’ll really believe that Christmas and compound butter and councilman scandals are behind us. Right now we’re living a gap year that’s about two weeks long. I don’t know what to do yet either. By the time January wraps we’ll all be in agreement that it’s the longest month ever and time for spring break.

Am I coming or going? Can I chill or do I still need beast mode? There’s a lot of personal challenge going on out there, be it a month of Yoganuary, Dryanuary or Veganuary, take your pick. Not that I’m doing any of those things, but it’s a month to start fresh and clean with the New Year. By mid-month most have held up their new commitments, but have probably thought of falling off the wagon too. We’re in a lull. I feel like I’m still looking for my winter stride.

Wintersköl sets us up. Gay Ski Week gives us that fabulous rainbow glitter and reminds us all to keep an open mind and have a good time. By the time we see the first snowmobile family similarly outfitted in sled coats covered in sponsors and shoulder pads we will be completely in the groove of it all. Right? Until then, I guess I’ll have to get used to feeling a little disoriented.

Nearly all of my staff at work and far too many friends and acquaintances have had some form of the mutant Aspen crud. You know, the one impervious to the flu shot that has taken grown men down in a full body sweat? Yeah, that crud. Thanks for the scraps, holiday crowd. I’m currently keeping a steady stream of homeopathic remedies and immune boosters in my body, because as of this writing, I’ve managed to feel tired, but not feverishly ill. Now that I’ve jinxed myself I’ll let you know how it goes.

We’re back to small-town life for a spell. Chatting about wind slowing down the gondola, annoyingly washing hands and downing zinc, sticking to our New Year’s resolutions, and, oh yeah, skiing. If you’ve skied every day you’re at Day 55, which means we’re over one-third of the way into this ski season. Hearing that number lights a fire under me. I haven’t even skied Highlands yet!

After I get my first bowl hike in, I think I’ll try a fat bike in the snow or perhaps just a long winter hike. Whenever we can get out to enjoy where we live is a good thing. It really combats the January doldrums.

Go eat at Gwyn’s. Ride the couch for fun. Mix it up. Live your life, but more importantly LOVE your life. If your resolution isn’t working for you, you’re forgiven. Everything in moderation after all.

As for those leftovers, I do have some. I think we all picked up a remnant or two after the holiday crowd left, be it leftover feelings of shock and terror, unopened cured meats or discarded ski gear. If we aren’t learning from the leftovers, or using antibiotics to get rid of them, by all means use them to your benefit. You earned it.

It’s ski season so go play! Take a break and enjoy this special place we get to call home. I think a retreat in the wilderness is just the prescription for mid-January. With longer days on the way, Seasonal Affective Disorder is on its way out. A little walk in the woods and you might just remember why you moved to the mountains in the first place.

Beth is shopping for fat bikes. She can be reached at