Rebellious stoners discovered the bliss of smoking weed and skiing long before marijuana legalization transformed Steamboat Springs and Colorado as a whole. The thrill of sneaking into the Routt National Forest to get high was commonplace for locals who cherished smoking weed and skiing as the ultimate outdoors experience.
Back in the day, hidden enclaves within the Steamboat Resort boundaries formed from downed trees provided refuge for marijuana enthusiasts to comingle and share a joint or two. As the practice grew in popularity, crafty tokers went so far as to build rustic huts deep in the woods. Getting high with other like-minded adventurers became mountain culture for Steamboat locals who knew the secret whereabouts of these out-of-bounds shacks.
When the snowboarding craze began to take a foothold in the 1980s, this new adrenaline junkie crowd took toking weed on the slopes to the next level. Many young daredevils defied the traditional rules, carving tracks with a creative mindset altered by an enticing buzz.
While these original cannabis connoisseurs still find ways to light it up on the slopes, changing times dictate a new set of rules to abide by. Legalization changed the game, beckoning droves of out-of-state travelers to experience the openness of cannabis consumption while taking in the thrill of gliding their way down the slopes.
In addition, the dawn of marijuana concentrate culture provided other means of getting high aside from passing around a bowl on the chairlift. Edibles, vape pens, and infused beverages now offer recreationalists a more convenient means of getting lifted without the worry of the intensely odorous smoke offending those within nose whiff.
For those thinking about consuming cannabis when hitting the slopes, here are a few thoughts to ponder before heading out.
The Legal Issues
While other states beyond Colorado have begun to legalize the use of marijuana, Federal law enforcement continue regulating weed as an illegal Schedule 1 controlled substance. Since many ski resorts operate on leased government land in National Forests, federal laws treat activities like smoking a joint on the chairlift as a criminal act.
Furthermore, townships have their own set of standards when it comes to cannabis consumption on the slopes. With the passage of Amendment 64 in 2012, resort towns like Steamboat Springs became a hot ticket for tourists looking to get high. However, Steamboat City Council enacted an ordinance prohibiting open and public consumption or possession of marijuana on public property. This includes the resort and all its managed properties.
Bear in mind, Steamboat ski patrol has enough on their plates maintaining the overall safety on the slopes without having to manage impaired skiers and riders who elect to get high. Generally speaking, they tend not to patrol the forest with the intent to bust tokers looking to enhance their outdoor experience. However, they will not hesitate to pull ski passes and slap a fine on foolish mountain enthusiasts puffing away in open areas.
Respecting Others on the Mountain
Contrary to a stoner’s thought that everyone on the mountain is high on weed, most people skiing or snowboarding don’t want to smell pot while they’re out enjoying the slopes. In fact, many find the odor offensive as it lingers over the pristine mountain air.
Furthermore, ski resorts are full of families and little ones learning the fun of gliding down a snowy trail with binded planks strapped to their feet. Lighting up a joint on a trail where kids are learning to ski is an act we should all agree is simply not cool.
For those wanting to indulge in smoking weed and skiing the slopes, the general rule is to find a less populated area and duck into the trees. Another option that many skiers and riders choose is to puff on a vape pen for a discreet and readily accessible toke here and there. These handy devices minimize the odor while providing an exceptional high from a refined concentrate.
High Altitude Sickness
Folks living in mountain towns have adapted to lower oxygen levels at high elevations. On the other hand, flatlanders heading into the high country will find it more difficult to catch their breath at 10,000 ft. and above. Often, travelers accustomed to lower elevations will get light-headed or dizzy when reaching peak summits, followed by the possibility of nausea and fatigue.
Add to that a couple of hits of dank weed from a potent sativa THC strain, and you might just find your head feeling fuzzy and your body left with diminished reaction time. It’s not much fun having to take a forced timeout on a powder day while you wait for the high to wear off. A good rule of thumb is to start by consuming a small amount and waiting to feel the effects before indulging any further.
The Delayed Effects of Edibles
One surefire way not to get caught smoking weed on the slopes is to consume THC-infused edibles. From gummies, chocolates, and candy to infused beverages, products containing concentrated THC come in a variety of forms. While they are discreet and convenient, one thing to keep in mind is their delayed onset time.
Edibles can be tricky for first-timers to dose because it can take up to an hour or more before the effects can be felt. Folks often get fooled into thinking “nothing is happening” so they resolve to munch down on more before their first mouthful truly kicks in. However, when those edibles finally do set in, they can be extremely potent. On top of that, it often takes several hours before they can metabolize and the effects begin to wear off. Best advice is to start with a low dose edible and give yourself plenty of time to feel the effects before consuming more.
Out of Bounds Trouble
The powder beyond the gates of the Steamboat Resort is an enticing attraction for many skiers and riders looking for a path less traveled where they can get stoned. But while venturing off into unregulated forest groves may look appealing, conditions beyond the ropes might prove to be more challenging than expected.
Given Steamboat Springs’ traditionally epic snow, those out-of-bounds areas are sure to be deep in champagne powder. However, embarking on a smoke-out session in the backcountry isn’t always advisable. Getting stuck in waist-deep powder while feeling overly baked is not much fun for anyone. And the possibility of triggering an avalanche is an ongoing natural threat. If in doubt, remember there are plenty of powder stashes found within resort boundaries where ski patrol can assist if an emergency should arise.
The Beneficial Effects of Marijuana
Many people find smoking weed and skiing or riding puts them in perfect harmony with the natural surroundings. The sky seems a shade bluer, the mountain air breathes cleaner, and the sparkling snow gleams brighter as they blissfully carve between tall aspens.
On top of that, cannabis products can help alleviate stiff and sore muscles after a day on the slopes. Cannabis studies show how THC, CBD, CBG, and other cannabinoid compounds can help reduce inflammation. Just one puff of a mellow THC indica strain can be a great way to relax after a fun-filled day on the mountain, while a CBD product can help alleviate soreness and aching joints.
Just remember, if your mind is set on smoking weed and skiing in Steamboat Springs, then be sure to stop by Billo Premium Cannabis Dispensary in the mountain village. Our budtenders are happy to give you some dosing guidance along with a few secret powder stashes… hush, hush!
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