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Vail and Beaver Creek 3/4-3/13 (Many pics and videos)

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I had an amazing spring break trip to Vail and Beaver Creek this March. It snowed for the last 5 days of our stay, resulting in pretty much endless powder, if you looked for it. I got to ski with Rick and ssh, and had a great time with both.

The complete picture library from the trip is at:

Anyway, I arrived on Saturday the 4th, to blue skies and a disturbing lack of snow.
(Pic on approach into Denver)

As you can see, not much snow on the ride out (yet!)

After arriving at my hotel in Avon via CME, I took a shuttle into Lionshead for my appointment with Greg Hoffmann at GMOL Vail. Greg did a great job, over the course of the trip, fitting and aligning my new Dobie 150's. It took a ton of work, at least 6 hours while I was there, with more time in the stretchers while I was not there. The end result is a comfortable boot with a custom-tight fit. Thanks Greg!!!!

Here are some pics of his personalized (!!!!) Falcon X2s (I think) and Falcon 110s from Salomon:

After the initial fitting and footbeds were done, I met up with my best friend from Boston at our hotel. We got out early the next morning. I got some 180 Atomic LT:11s to get my legs back with. They were easy and fun to ski, as detailed in my review, but I soon discovered that my boots needed more grinding. The conditions were bluebird skies with refrozen hardpack. In other words, real hardpack! In the West! :

Monday was spent basically messing around on the frontside until the bowls softened up enough to go into. Fun stuff, a good day for huge GS turns.

I met Rick at Beaver Creek on Tuesday. We had a great time, and he showed me different elements of the waissteering progression as well as his own coaching bits thrown in. He is a great skier, and a great companion for a day on the slopes. Of course, I forgot my camera on that day, so I have no photos. Beaver Creek was pretty cold at the top, with flat light everywhere. Flat light is my new most hated condition, as it led to two of the worst crashes I have ever had, both of which occurred during the trip. The first was on Tuesday. Rick and I were on a mellow blue trail heading into a wide-open run. Neither of us had skied BC before, so we had no idea where we were going. What looked like smooth surface in front of us was actually a bump run. Rick was able to absorb them and get away unscathed, I was not so lucky. I absorbed one or two of the bumps then caught the tips of the metron b5s I was on. Double eject out of a din 11 binding into ice bumps. Ouch! I was slow to get up from that one....

On wednesday, I skied with ssh at BC. He has a beautiful, smooth skiing style. He also does not like to stop. Ever.... As a result, I didn't take many pictures to avoid being left behind. We had nice morning runs, a high point of which was skiing the WC DH course. It was still pretty much injected ice, making it very difficult to carve anything on my awfully tuned demos. It was sobering to imagine going down that thing in a tuck, especially the headwall at the top. You could see the net frames on the sides, and we imagined what it must feel like to stand in the starting gate with 215s strapped to your feet. Wow! Soon after this, I had another memorable crash. Same scenario with the flat light, except this time half the trail was groomed. I was making SL turns at moderate to high speed, and I traversed a little after completing one of them, leading me straight into a bump field again. I remember yelling, "****, not again!" Another double eject.... This time I had a minor concussion and had spotty short term memory for a while after the crash. That is why I will not ski without a helmet.

Anyway, we ate lunch at Spruce Saddle Lodge, where we ran into Nicole Pelletier, of US Ski Team and Ski Magazine fame. I was too dazed to realize this at the time, but Steve told me after we left. Another missed photo opportunity...

Steve worked with me on driving my inside knee to initiate turns, something which had a definite positive effect on my skiing and built on the teachings of Rick from the day before.

When we parted for the day, it was snowing heavily. The snow didn't really stop for more than a few hours for the rest of the trip.

Here is a pic of my best friend, Matt, and his Dad at BC on Wednesday: (Dad on left, Matt on right)

On Tuesday night, we had met up with some of Matt's friends from his school in NH. One of them had a condo in Vail Village that we were invited to stay at. We basically went out looking for girls, and met two from Houston. We hung out for a while, then met up again on wednesday night.
(Me, Alex, Matt):

This is Matt's friend Ben. He can do 720's and 360's to rails. I can barely keep up with him, even though his edges are cracked in 5+ places underfoot. It probably helps that he skis 110+ days a year.

Thursday was the first of many powder days. We got out early and demoed some 1080 foils, which I must say I was impressed by, especially as someone who normally likes crazy-stiff race skis. It held a decent edge on hardpack yet allowed me to soak up the occasional ice bump underneath the powder.

Here are me and Matt at the top of Sun Down Bowl:
post #2 of 7
Thread Starter 

Continuing, image limits be damned

Matt and his Dad, powder makes everyone happy:

It was coming down in Sun Down Bowl:

I took some video during one of my solo runs. I found a huge patch of untracked after a long traverse across windblown powder with ice bumps poking through.


Who said Vail was crowded?

The slow, cold chairlift ride out of there:

I like this pic:

More untracked:

I don't get much happier than this:

Later in the day, we hit Golden Peak. We skied Roger's Run, an ENDLESS bump run. The bumps were really powdery, so it was great if you are someone who likes bumps. I, however, am not, so it was a struggle. The lift ride up was pretty though:

Nothing like snow on trees:

On Thursday night, after such an epic powder day, Matt and I decided that we should extend our trip, since it was still snowing, and was forecasted to continue doing so for the rest of the weekend. We changed our flights and shuttle arrangements, and said good-bye to Matt's Dad on Friday morning.

Things became pretty entertaining at this point, as we didn't have a hotel to stay at anymore. Our interim solution was to go to Ben's million dollar condo in Vail Village and dump our luggage in the ski locker, since we knew all the door codes. After doing this, we skied for the day then came back to the closet. I watched the door while Matt changed and vice versa. It was hilarious. That night, we were invited to a party at Matt's friend Stefan's house, where he said we could crash. It was a fun party, and his house was amazing:
(looking out from the front steps)

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

continued again b/c of image limits

Our trophy from the night:

On Saturday, we got up and skied, and it was another powder day. At the end of the day, we both badly needed to shower. Matt's suggestion was to sneak into the spa of the Mountain Haus hotel next to the covered bridge, where some other friends of his had been staying earlier in the week. We went back to our closet as usual, dropped off our skis, then walked right into the basement of the hotel and got lucky as a maintenance person opened the only keycard-locked door to the spa. We walked in in full ski clothes, used their bathrobes, and took a shower and a sauna. It was hilarious.

That night, we were invited to a party at the mayor of Vail's house. (I'm not kidding) He lives above the Sweet Basil restaurant in a 2-floor penthouse. The party was boring, but the view out onto the slopes above Vail Village was spectacular. Sorry, no pics. I do have some video that I will upload later though.

Sunday was great. It snowed the hardest out of any of the days so far, and was a near-whiteout at the summit.

Heres a cool powder shot:

another tree shot:

Matt again

I took some other video on one of our trips up the lift to show some of the snow:


All in all, it was an amazing trip. I could not have asked for more. I'll be back!!!!

Stay tuned for more videos as I upload them.

For the last pic, here's a big cliff formation in Avon/BC that I think is really cool:

Thanks for reading!

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Here are links to videos of me skiing from the trip that are up for MA in the instruction forums:

http://nnskiing.org/Arc-y Sparky.avi
http://nnskiing.org/Arc-y Sparky Slomo.wmv

http://nnskiing.org/Arc2 slomo.wmv
post #5 of 7
Glad you had a great time at my *home hill.* It's quite a place! I was up 15th/16th. . . be glad you missed the 15th. One of the windiest days I can remember up there. Lifts closed or on wind hold for most of the day, visibility terrible, cold and miserable except in the trees or hugging the western treeline on runs. In that case, it was lovely, because everyone else was inside or back in their condo hot tubs and you had the hill mostly to yourself.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
I got a call from Matt about 30 mins after I had boarded the shuttle to Denver on Monday the 13th. He told me that they had gotten a foot and a half of fresh in the bowls and that he was getting face shots. Good incentive to do it again next year, I guess
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
I fixed all the pics after ssh told me that they weren't working. Direct linking using webshots does not work...
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