Words by Kristie GilesPhotos by Charlie CarrArapahoe Basin in Summit County, Colo., powered up its Exhibition Lift last Friday to beat out Loveland in the race for "first ski area to open in North America" claiming rights.  But it was kind of a surprise- no one was really sure who was opening when.  Abasin had been shooting for last weekend, but the weather didn't cooperate.  Then they weren't sure if they'd finish welding seat bars on the lift in time for Friday.  But they did, and Loveland got its shit together too late.Anyway, it sounded sweet, so we packed our bags and left Salt Lake at 1 a.m.  It was one of those "Hey, want to go to Abasin?"-"When?" "In an hour or so."-"Well I've got midterms next week, but what the hell?" kind of things.  One engine compartment fire, three energy drinks, and seven hours later, we pulled into a parking lot that was already half full.  And by the time we finished breakfast, half of Colorado had come to slide down one narrow-ass run.  There were neon one-pieces, cowboy hats, mullet wigs, and all the regular opening weekend shenanigans.The park crew guys told us the chairlift could hold 120—and they counted that many kids hiking in the park Saturday.  And by "park," I mean a 20-ft flat box, a 30-ft slight down shotgun rail, and a super fun C box-all with fresh coats of this snazzy green paint that was getting all over our clothes.  But they made the best of what they had to work with, and the little ditches on the sides of the trail became a medium for spread eagles, mistys, and everything in between. Everyone seemed to be having a good time.It started dumping like crazy come late afternoon, and an inch or two accumulated overnight.  I think some people showed up Sunday morning half-expecting face shots. Yeah, it's still just the white ribbon of death. But that's not what opening weekends are all about.

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