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This Is Madness: How to master Mad River slopes as a beginner

Laura Dachenbach

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It didn’t look like it was going to happen, but it happened.

After a spring-like beginning to January, the temperature finally dropped.

The heavens opened, and snow poured down. Stuff got canceled. And the
people at Mad River Mountain Ski Resort had a party.

“I went out yesterday,” said Sam Collins, one of the employees at Mad River, which is Ohio’s largest winter resort. “Everyone’s really stoked.” Except me. I’m supposed to take a downhill skiing lesson, and I’m slightly nervous.

I’ve never downhill skied before, unless you count a Girl Scout trip which in which our troop barely made it down the bunny hill in sludgy snow that nobody else wanted to touch. (I do not count this experience.) So as I’m introduced to Pat Tynan, my ski instructor, and head out to the practice area occupied by a group of preschoolers, I’m looking forward to a day of falling face-first into the snow and shots of me waving good-naturedly as I slide backwards down the hill.

But it turns out that I am some kind of a freak natural downhill skier. I blow past those kids on the practice hill, slicing my way through every set of cones on my first try, and end up as one of the handful of students my ski instructor has had in 20 years of teaching snow sports to go from practice hill to chairlift in less than two hours. “Natural athletic ability,” he beams. I tell him I don’t play any sports and almost failed gym. “Excellent sense of balance,” he continues. (I pray he never sees me dance.)

So I don’t know what to tell you snow sucks who can’t crush it on their first run. But I will try.

Don’t just hit the slopes. The first piece of signage I saw in the lodge read, “Friends don’t teach friends.” I agree. Let the pros handle this. Tynan first checked my equipment, including the fit of my ski boots, which turned out to be not quite tight enough, and covered with snow boogers (excess snow). Then he took me to level-ish ground to learn how to turn and stop (which I learned, you need to anticipate well ahead of time). Holding your arms out in front of you, Tynan says, is the secret to skiing. You will also feel much better about wiping out when a professional is nearby. Speaking of which…

BROUGHT TO YOU BY

Don’t be afraid to fall. “If you’re not falling, you’re not trying,” Tynan says. I’m unsure how this applies to me, since I fell only once when I got confused about which way to turn. But falling does happen, and an instructor will show you how to get yourself back up, even if you need to remove a ski to do it.

Try to visit during a less popular time/day. Obviously, you get more time on the slopes, but I credit some of my skiing success to the lack of other skiers (targets) that I could hit or be hit by. Skiing on a nearly empty run also provides the slightly scary, wind-rushing-past-you thrill that downhill skiing is supposed to be about.

Just do the helmet. I really didn’t have a choice about this. I was instantly measured for a brain bucket as soon as I hit the equipment rental room. I didn’t even know there was a raging helmet debate. I found it not uncomfortable, and warmer than a hat. It didn’t make me feel overconfident or more reckless. (I’m a damn beginner.) Yes, if you hit your head hard enough, a helmet will not prevent you from sustaining a head injury. But the studies show there’s nothing to lose by wearing one, and the severity of a possible injury can definitely be lessened. Now that I’m used to it, I don’t see the point of
going back.

Mad River Mountain has 20 trails, 12 lifts, and four terrain parks, including its signature Capital Park. If you make the trip and find that skiing is not your thing, the Avalanche Tubing Park, which requires no special abilities to use, might be—although you will need a separate lift ticket. Alternatively, you could hang out at the base lodge, where the resort often hosts live music at The Loft Bar, including The Reaganomics and Brothers Crush Circus. The $5 grilled cheese sandwich is a nice bargain, and leaves some cash available for a whipped cream-topped boozy hot chocolate.

So there you have it—advice from a beginner turned ripper in an afternoon. Keep an eye on the terrain, not your feet. Use the whole mountain. Anticipate everything. And above all, stay hydrated. Always make sure to stay hydrated.

For snow conditions, hours, lift and rental rates, and special deals, go to skimadriver.com.

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Getaways

Want to get away? Southwest making it cheap

614Now

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Southwest Airlines is hoping that enough of you are close to feeling safe to leave the house for more than a trip to the grocery store. In a bid to jumpstart their flagging business, Southwest has announced some pretty steep ticket discounts - as low as $49 each way to a host of cities departing from Columbus.

Flights must be booked at least 14 days in advance and travel must happen between May 26 and August 31. Most expect Ohio's 14-day travel quarantine rule to expire by August but be sure to take that into account if you decide to hop on a plane.

Some of the cities and deals we have imagined for you include:

A long weekend in Atlanta: $118 per person roundtrip from Friday, Aug 14 - Sunday the 16th. Keep in mind, it's about 100 degrees in ATL this time of year so be sure to have access to a body of water if you go.

A patriotic, weekend protest in Washington DC: $98 per person roundtrip, 4th of July weekend. See the sights (if they're open to the public) and stand somewhere with a sign with whatever outrage you have in mind.

A long 4th of July beach weekend in Ft. Lauderdale: $198 per person roundtrip from July 3-6 and you can stay at this cute Airbnb apartment that's just one block from the beach for $88/night.

Vegas baby! You're going to have to forget the weekends if you want the great flight deal. But we found August 5-7 available for $198 a person. Plus you can get into the Bellagio for $139 /night right now as an added bonus. Two nights of debauchery, a little gambling and some of the best restaurants in America. What could go wrong?

Of course, traveling may be risky business for some people and this all assumes the respective cities and attractions re-open and are relatively safe. But if you just need to get away, it's probably never been cheaper.

See other flight options here.

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Food & Drink

¡Ándale, check out these 12 Cinco de Mayo fiestas!

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It's hard to imagine a Cinco de Mayo without the traditional tequila-induced hangover. Even though you may not be able to sip those margaritas on a sunny patio or at the bar, local restaurants have figured out a way to help you celebrate at home - margaritas included. Here's the not-so-skinny on living out your tequila and enchilada-fueled dreams.

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In order to bring a bit of normalcy back, we've teamed up with @hornitostequila and @daiquiri_daze_popup to open our doors back up for the day and serve a limited offering of some of the faves for Cinco de Mayo. Offerings include but are not limited to our basic-cable famous salsas and Columbus' most missed margs. A party pack for four will include a Spotify playlist and that good Cosecha pebble ice that MIGHT JUST help to make you feel like you're celebrating on our patio. Online pre-orders will start sometime tomorrow at www.toasttab.com/cosecha-cocina/v3 and go to the day of. Walk-in’s are also welcome! Stay safe Columbus. We miss you dearly. Thank you so, so much for your continued support and we'll see you on the other side. Offerings: • Margaritas - Single (Comes with Salt, Lime, and Pebble Ice) - Traditional - Hornitos Reposado, Dry Curacao, Fresh Lime, Agave $8 - Next Episode - Hornitos SIlver, Dry Curacao, Hibiscus, Habanero, Lime $8 • Chips and Salsas $4 Koki's Chips, Roasted Tomato and Mint and Tomatillo-Avocado salsas Single/Extra Salsa $2 • Sage Margarita Jell-O Shot $2 • Cinco De Mayo Pack for 4 $40 (4) Margaritas of your choice, (2) Orders Chips and Salsas, (4) Jello-O Shots, Spotify Playlist, Ice, Limes, Salt, Super Cool Cactus Decanter • Chicken Tinga Taco Kit for 2 $20 (Pre-Order Only) Chicken Braised in Mild Red Chillies, Corn Tortillas, Avocado Salsa, Pickled Red Onion

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Are you ready to celebrate Cinco de Mayo? This year our Fiesta is at your house with our 5 de Mayo Fiesta Combo 🇲🇽 You can get a combo for 2 or 4 Amigos! Each Amigo gets: • One Queso or Guacamole with fresh chips and Salsa 🧀 🥑 • Three Tacos of your choice (Shredded chicken, ground beef, or Al Pastor)🌮 • Two Lime or Flavored Margaritas We will be also dropping some 5 de Mayo T-Shirts inside some orders as a gift! But you can support our team by purchasing one for $10! *Promo available on 5/5/20 all day. Pick up only • • #eat614 #columbusfoodie #columbusfoodscene #topcolumbusrestaurants #614magazine #614eats #buckeyes #happyhour #mexicanfood #margarita #girlsnightout #tacos #guac #collegegirls #collegelife #restaurant #margarita #asseenincolumbus #college #campus #columbusfoodscene #columbusohio #osugrad #ohiostate #socialdistancing #quarantine #quarantinelife #cincodemayo #togetherasbuckeyes #osugrad

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Things To Do

Flanagan’s has your Saturday night covered with unique drive-in concert

Mike Thomas

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With the usual slate of summer festivals and events cancelled due to the pandemic, we're going to have to get creative if we want to have any fun at all in the weeks to come. In that spirit, the team at Flanagan's Pub in Blacklick is hosting a special drive-in concert this Saturday, May 2, that offers a good time from the relative safety of your own vehicle.

Described as "Sonic, meets drive in movie, meets live concert" on the Flanagan's Facebook page, this special event running from 6PM-9PM on Flanagan's north lawn will feature live music from artist Brad Moore, with full service carry-out food from the pub also available.

Upon arrival, drivers will directed to the field north of Flanagan's parking lot. Attendants will be on hand aid with parking, and to ensure that a proper space is left between vehicles to promote social distancing. From there, servers wearing gloves and masks will deliver a single use menus to each vehicle and handle all carryout orders. Then, it's just a matter of kicking back to enjoy the show (but please take note: Flanagan's requests that all guests at this event remain in their vehicle at all times).

To aid in parking when you arrive, Flanagan's has produced this handy map:

Flanagan's is located at 3001 Reynoldsburg-New Albany Rd in Blacklick. For more information, visit Flanagan's on Facebook, or reach them by phone at (614) 855-7472.

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