Fall Sunday: The Riches of Telluride’s Off-Season

Fall Sunday: The Riches of Telluride’s Off-Season

DSC_1014We lead busy lives in Telluride. It goes without saying, they’re delicious lives, filled with outdoor sports and creative pursuits, in lieu of traffic jams. We work hard and then we get to play hard. In the summer, we bike and hike, climb and paddleboard. In the winter, we skate and play hockey, ski and Nordic ski.

When the summer crowds leave in early October but before the winter crowds arrive in late November, town clears out, and we enter the fall version of town’s off-season. For some, this exodus means it’s time for them to leave too. Others wouldn’t dream of leaving, even if life permitted them. For off-season means they finally get to live in this town at a pace that allows them to appreciate it.

We run on empty streets with nothing but the sound of our breath to keep us company. Nothing to entertain us, save the rising sun which falls across town like an inverted cloud, painting the frozen land with warmth. And we to get to go out for breakfast with our kids, without waiting in line. There are in fact tables to spare, and we sit, chatting with servers for over an hour because we can. They’re not in a rush nor are we. Our only agenda for the day is to move a little more slowly. To savor the town and the life we get to call our own.

One of my favorite parts of this 6-week off-season is my family’s time at the ice rink. Of course, the ice rink doesn’t close at the end of off-season, but our time spent there through late November is magical because it is uninterrupted. It’s time that’s not competing with skiing or holiday parties. It’s pure. As Jesse Mctigue, my friend and fellow TIO writer, puts it, “These four weekends are the only time before April that we can just relax and not worry that there’s somewhere else we’re supposed to be.”

This past weekend, my family and I spent the better part of most days at the rink and with hockey friends. We went to open skate. Then Andy and I returned in the afternoon to play pick-up hockey. We went out to dinner (about 20 plus hockey friends and kids) to celebrate “our victory.” Then on Sunday, we returned to rink to watch Siri compete with her Squirt team. They lost, brutally so in both games, but in the end, it didn’t matter. For the better part of a day, she got to fall into a game. She got to escape the hectic pace of the world and just play. Next time, they’ll play better positions. They’ll shoot more. But whatever the score is, they’ll be better for playing hockey.

I’ve decided that hockey and fall off-season are carbon copies of one another. They both start about the same time. But there’s more to it. A hockey game and off-season are times where for a small spell, the world slows. Where everything you need to think about is right in front of you. A little town where the sun’s rising. A sheet of ice where a puck moves before you. A table of friends, drinks and dinner all around, everyone laughing, everyone listening.

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