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Vail, BC and Summit County 3/11 - 3/17

post #1 of 2
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My buddy and I just got back from our ski vacation in CO. This was my buddies first ski trip to CO. He just started skiing 5 seasons ago when he got involved with the local high school ski group. I made trips to CO in '79 - '84 and lived in Louisville, CO from '84 -'88. I pretty much quit skiing in '90 and started back up 2 seasons ago. Last year I took the family to Steamboat on Spring Break. For some
reason, the kids did not want to go skiing out West this year. (They like skiing, but , for the life of me, I can't figure that one out.)

We got into Denver airport @ 8:30 Friday night, but it was midnight when we checked into a front range hotel to spend the night before checking into our Vail condo Saturday evening. We got up @ 5:00 Saturday morning and drove up to Copper to ski with Reddgabe and friends. We had a great time skiing with Reddgabe and friends while it lasted. Unfortunately, the combination of first day out, 5 hours sleep the previous 2 nights and skiing too hard, too fast caught up to
us. About the 5th or 6th run, we were toast. Since it was after 11:00 we went in for lunch and to recuperate. Lunch was great, but the headache was not and the vitamin I wasn't working either. About 2:00 we headed down to the base and it was an easy decision not to continue. So, we drove to Vail, checked into the condo and took about a 3 hour nap. Went out to Subway for dinner with the headache gone - we felt much better. I hated to abandon Reddgabe and friends, but, since it was their last day I didn't want to hold them back either.

Sunday my buddy had decided to get new boots and alignment work done. I went along to get as I wanted to get a little work done on my boot also. I am pretty much a boot fitters nightmare as I have very high insteps and my right foot is cavus. Also, my right ankle is pretty much locked with only 2 degrees of motion side to side. (Normal is 10) Turns out all I needed was some minor work done to the existing footbeds and some material taken out of the liner tongues to help
clear the high insteps. Then we went off to Loveland for a half day to ski and get an on snow assessment of the alignment. In the shop it looked like I needed 1.5 degrees of cant and we ended up at 2 degrees after skiing. Then it was back to the shop to get the boot soles canted. On the way home we stopped in Frisco to see a friends of mine who moved out to Summit Co. in '86. We spent an hour with them and hard a great Burger at the Moosejaw in downtown Frisco.

Monday did not start well. My cell phone was missing. Aarrgghh! After looking thought the condo, the building and checking the front desk, I found it in the garage - in 4 pieces, with tire tracks over it. : I spent the morning getting it replaced and, since we were in Vail and wanted to ski, we headed to, surprise, Vail to get in an afternoon of skiing. I thought the snow was great. However, my buddy, who had never skied in powder or crud, was really struggling. We went down Northwoods and over to Game Creek and skied a lot of ungroomed blue runs. Great terrain for me, not good for him. Plus, we just about got blown off the ridge coming down from Game Creek as we headed down at the end of the day. it was not the best day, but, IMNSHO, it was not bad either.

Tuesday we headed over to Beaver Creek and we could not have picked a better day to go. Bluebird sky, and, for my buddy, groomed everywhere. We skied all over all day, had a nice lunch at Spruce Saddle. The day was a real highlight to the trip. I got to swing off and get a few short bump runs in - so we both got what we wanted.

Wednesday it was back to Vail. It was back to cloudy and snowing, but we didn't care. Since my friend wanted to see the back bowls, I suggested we go straight back there and check it out. So, we headed for the China bowl and worked our way to chair 38 and 39 to Blue Sky Basin. Then we headed out on the Orient Express lift to 2 Elks for lunch. At that point it was getting really windy and visibility was pretty bad, so after lunch we decided to stay on the front side. This
turned out to be a great idea because they closed the lifts on the back side due to high winds. Avanti was closed on the front too. Since the Nastar course was open, I got this crazy idea to check it out. The price turned out to be what I consider reasonable, so I decided to give it a go. My buddy passed, which is OK too. The first run was smooth, clean and way too conservative. Too far off the gates, plus I
got out of the groove and into the fluff once or twice and lost a lot of time. The second I decided to run the same course. In the other course a lady, with a USSA coaches patch shows up at the start to run.: So, it's "racers ready", "set" and she leaves the start with me standing there dumbfounded. Even though I had not been in gates for 25 years I at least had the presence of mind not to rush the
start and trip the wand with no momentum. She was at the first gate before I got out of the start. About 1/2 way down, I start really eating into her lead (as in all kinds of racing, it's easier to chase), I get all the distance made up and am about to go by when I run low out of a gate, get in the back seat and basically crash without falling, giving back all the time I made up. We finish about where we started, but, because she left early, our times are w/in .07. I figure later I lost about a second with my goof up, which was still about .5 seconds short of gold. This day silver will have to do. I just hope I didn't hurt the EpicSki Bears overall ranking too badly. Since it was about 2:00 we skied to the bottom and made
another lap back to the top. Mistake! The wind and snow was really wicked. We got down but I can think of a couple of different paths we should have taken where we would not have been skiing straight into the wind. Still, it was a good day. Both of us had a good time.

Thursday, after trying to connect with Crank and cub all week, we manged to hook up at Vail. Crank, cub, friend and I skied the same morning lap as we did the day before going back to Blue Sky Basin. We mainly skied the blue runs, but took a few excursions into the bumps and trees. I gotta' tell ya', Crank and cub can really ski. We also managed to get some pics and video. (more on that later) After lunch at 2 Elks, we headed over to the Siberia bowl for a run. I dropped in, made a turn, got in the back seat, skis diverging and, poof, face planted. Oops, fortunately, no cameras. The snow turned out to be heavy crud and I was fine after I found my balance. Crank and cub skied though it really well, but my buddy ( about a level 5) was really struggling. After about 4 falls and a lot of traversing later, we got him down no worse for the wear. Then it was back to the front side for more skiing and videos. Crank and I were taking turns shooting video and I just happened to get lucky while shooting Crank. (See clip in the Ski Instruction Forum) We headed down for the day and decided to have an after ski beverages, which turned into having pizza together. All in all my buddy an I really enjoyed hanging out with Crank and cub. It was an excellent day all-around. A great time was had by all.

Friday, time for something different, so we head for A-Basin. On the way up my buddy noticed he was having a lot of problems with his eyes watering and burning even though he was wearing sun glasses. Turns out, his sunglasses he wore Thursday might have been inadequate, even though they were advertised as 100% UV A & B. He went back to his goggles, which helped, but he had to be careful which way he looked. The morning at A-Basin was great. We made several runs off the Norway and Lewanee lifts before heading down to lunch. After lunch the weather changed to clouds very light snow and wind. The flat light made skiing the top not much fun. We stayed on the lower lifts the rest of the day and took it easy until we decided to leave, finishing on a good note. All in all another good day.

Saturday, we had a late (6:50) flight out and we could have skied in the morning. However, after skiing 7 days in a row, we both decided to pass. Instead we took out time getting packed and heading down to the airport. We took an excursion to Boulder and had lunch with Ssh @ Old Chicago. It was great to meet Steve and spend time talking face to face. While there, I also managed to find my 2 of my 3 beer tour placards. Then it was back to the airport for an uneventful flight home.

One of the really fun parts for me was watching the WOW factor of my buddy skiing CO for the first time. I think I got the hooks in and I am sure he will be back. It was interesting listening some of the things he would say, like, "I'll take a drink at the top of the lift." I would say, "do it now, ya' got all kinds of time." He also commented on how fast the weather changes out there. We would have like to have skied with Ssh, but, considering his whole family had the flu, it was understandable. For that, there will be future opportunities. The other interesting thing was getting home and jumping on the scale. We ate well all week, but somehow I managed to lose 5 lbs. Now, if I could just lose all that extra weight I don't need.

Speaking of (opportunities) the plan next year is for possibly 2 CO trips. One or both with the family. Lot's of possibilities to consider including EpicSki Academy. The wife and I haven't quite worked the details out yet though. In the meantime, the family, work, kids and golf will have to keep me occupied. Golf will have to wait though. We're getting all that snow that came though CO Sunday. Unfortunately, all the ski areas here closed before we left.
post #2 of 2

I was there too

I was staying in Keystone with my wife's family the same week as u. We had lived in CO for 11 yrs and moved back east last May. Anyway, we skied Beaver Creek the first day and a combination of Keystone and Vail the rest of the week. It was a great trip and a follow up ski week for me as I just was there a few weeks ago skiing with my hardcore ski buddies who still live out there. Suffice to say my wife and her family were typically done my lunch each day as I kept wearing everyone out.

I really miss CO and the adventure lifestyle. However, it is very enjoyable to fish on my boat on the LI Sound for stripers and bluefish!

Great report. We are also planning another trip out West next year.
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