I just got home from my ski club trip to Breckenridge. I am glad to say that I made it home in one piece and relatively healthy after a bout of altitude sickness sidelined me for 2 days. But I did recover and had 2 days at the end that made my trip. Eespecially on my final day when I finally hooked up with JamesJ. We had planned on meeting up in Vail earlier in the week but I was stuck in bed. Friday was our last chance and we made the most of it.
We started out easy with a few other friends of mine doing a few warm up laps.
This is my friend and roommate for the week Big Al. Al is 72 and still gets 20+ days a year.
Another buddy of mine from back home, Michael showing some fine form.
After we warmed up, Jim and I decided to go out on our own to explore some more challenging terrain starting with a ride up the T-Bar to Horseshoe Bowl. The site of my very first High Alpine skiing some 27 years ago. This pic was taken a couple of days earlier but we skied the same entry.
Then we made our way over to the Imperial Chair which takes you to the highest lift serviced area in North America at 12,800'. On the way up we were looking to our left and saw what looked like a great funnel shaped chute and we agreed that it looked sweet! But to access it you need earn your turns as they say and hike up another couple hundred feet up a fairly steep incline. We both agreed we needed to do it. Fortunately I had a ski pack, and Jim had to carry on his shoulders. He is a real trooper!
You can see the Chute we were heading to in this pic just to the left of center.
We skied across the ridge. Jim jumped in first and I waited to make sure he would be OK. He nailed his entry and skied about 1/2 way down to get his camera out. My entry was a bit further along the ridge just inside the shadow on the far left looking up. My jump in was maybe 6-8 feet onto maybe a 60-70 degree snow wall for maybe 50 feet then it mellowed to about 40 degrees in a wide open bowl that narrowed a bit at the bottom making it look like a funnel.
While studying my entry, a snowboarder jumped in and I was able to watch the snow when he landed to get an idea of what to expect. He hit it well and landed soft so I knew it would be forgiving. After we cleared and with Jim waving to me that he had his camera out, I took a deep breath and jumped in with confidence, nailed my landing and made big GS turns down the chute coming to a stop near the bottom.
I then got my crappy iPhone out and got a pic of Jim as he skied down to me.
Our day was made! We had both skied a difficult chute with confidence and skill. Not bad for a couple of 60 year olds!
We met my other friends at lunch, and took my buddy Arnie up Imperial to ski Whales Tale. Jim and I had skied it earlier and knew it was in fine shape. Arnie a skilled skier, does not push himself much anymore. I always have to drag him somewhere challenging and then he always thanks me afterwards for pushing him. He did fine and I nailed another jump in!
The 3 of us hung together for most of the afternoon until we made it up to the top of Peak 10, Arnie wanted to cruise and Jim and I wanted one more challenge. That challenge was met on Mustang, A nice steep double black bumped filled chute with manky snow conditions. Soft in the sun, crusty in the shadows. I jumped in fairly aggressively just as a skier 1/2 my age came by to witness. We met up at the bottom and he looked at my grey beard and said, "That was a pretty aggressive line you took." to which I replied, "That is what keeps us young!"
Now I am back home, and Jim is still out west ski bumming for the next month, as he has just retired and has all the time in the world. Me? I go back to work on Monday so that I can earn enough for another epic ski vacation next year!
Edited by rickg - 2/15/15 at 1:20pm