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Vail In April

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
 Prelude; April 2nd, left domestic bliss at 4:30, as Mrs. Bazzer drops me at MIA. Long but uneventful day of commercial air travel, (surprising break with recent tradition has my skis arrive at the same locale as me, and not winging their way to Peru,) and a drive west on route 70 ends with a quiet evening spent with my youthful hosts. They get plowed, and I do my best to hydrate as I’ve got a chair to catch in the AM. I had hoped that Fireball would be able to join me for some of my stay, but time and circumstances eliminate our joyous reunion. As we’ll see, this was most unfortunate for Mr. Fireball.

 

Saturday, April 3rd. There are a few inches of fresh, and I’m on the third chair up from Lionhead base. Take a few blissful runs solo then meet up with DonDenver, (minus Betsy, who has woken with an unpleasant malady,) and introduce myself to Rachelv, my Bear companions for the day.

 

Playing by my lonesome, I make some pretty sloppy figure eights during my first two laps.
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Rachelv is not that familiar with Vail, but Don & I are. We spend the day taking turns picking runs and give our new friend quite the cook’s tour of the immense resort. Overcast sky brightens for a brief while, and we take the opportunity to introduce Rachelv to one of my favorite spots, Seldom.

 

DonDenver is still tall.
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Rachelv has a sticker on her helmet that reads “Ski Like A Girl.” This energetic young lady does that indeed. She skis like a strong, aggressive, jubilant girl, who most definitely eats her Wheaties.

 

Rachelv and Don ripping it up in Sundown Bowl.
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Spend the rest of the day in state of low-level euphoria. Love the snow in Blue Sky. Round about 3:00 I'm feeling the effects of a pair of sleepless nights and altitude. I’m running seriously low on gas, and beg off on further athletic glory, and want to make a sedate journey to the base area, preferably on a run named something like “Fuzzy Baby Panda”, “Sleepy Puppy,” or “Grandma’s Oatmeal Cookies.” I’m whipped. Don and Rachelv beat themselves up on one more “serious” lap, and then meet me at the bottom.

 

Don heads off to rendezvous with his beloved Betsy, and I introduce Rachelv to Vail Snopro using locally brewed malt beverages as social lubrication.

 

Easter Sunday, April 4th. I hook up with my new buddy Rachelv, and old friend CoSkiGirl at the base. We were blessed with a few inches of fresh overnight, and then get a few hours of clear skies.

 

In honor of the day, CSG sports her pig-tailed coif in the beguiling “happy bunny ears” style. This marks at least the second time that CoSkiGirl and I have skied together on a major Christian holiday. Perhaps we’re both Hindu, and our parents neglected to tell us.
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I play tour guide for the day, and try and show Rachelv a bit more of the massive area. We do however make a pair of laps on Resolution, a run in Blue Sky Basin that we enjoyed on Saturday, and all agree had some of the most wonderful snow that we’d found.

 

Too busy skiing to play with the camera, but I did cajole the ripper chicks to set up one photo op on a very mildly pitched fluffy stretch in Blue Sky. If you’ve never skied with Rachelv and CoSkiGirl, and get the chance to, do it ASAP. Major fun company and solid all around skiers.
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Introduce my Bear buddies to non-Bear friend Paul, a visiting Brit who I met earlier in the season. We hop into Sundown bowl and slug our way through the heavy snow on Forever, and then play around on the front side until it’s time for us all to make our own particular ways home.

 

Monday, April 5th. No new snow, so I take the opportunity to play with my new skinny toys/tools, a pair of Volkl Supersport 4 Stars, (from around 2003 or 2004, in good shape and little used.) As I’m solo, I don’t bother to stop and make photos. Was delighted with the 4 Stars performance, and was anxious to try a pair of carving skis. When my game was on, the groomed runs were like iron slabs, and the skis were like magnets. The skis were tons of fun in a variety of turn shapes, and were pretty nimble in the moguls. Alas, I am not.

 

Tuesday, April 6th. The day starts with incredible promise, then gets better and better. Vail reported 11” of fresh overnight, and I head off to meet Segrbrown for the first time at Lionshead base before the lifts open. VailSnoPro joins us and it’s off to the races. As anyone who’s spent much time on EpicSki knows, VSP is a major force to be reckoned with. Supremely skilled, experienced, and good-natured, he’s also one of the finest ski instructors on the planet. I’m extremely stoked that such a great skier would want to spend his day off skiing with me. Of course, once I see Segbrown, and then get to ski with her, I can’t help but think that her presence is a major factor in VSP’s choice of companions for the day. (Just joking about this a little bit. VSP is one of the real friends that I’ve made thanks to EpicSki, but I’m still flattered that he wants to ski with me. He too had never met segbrown before, and we were both extremely impressed with her skiing. It just so happens that she’s also wonderful company, and looks way cool is her ski togs.)

 

Coffee break time in Two Elk.
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We enjoyed an absolutely spectacular powder day, and it’s only because I’d promised Finndog that I would try and make a few photographs that we stopped at all while I yutzed around with the point and shoot camera that I “borrowed” from my wife. The day started out snowy and overcast, so we waited for the sun to come out before we did a few quick photo set-ups.

 

This was easily the deepest day that I’ve had in my skiing career, and though I probably fell more times on Tuesday than I have in all my previous days this season combined, I learned quite a bit about skiing the deep, and this newly gained knowledge would pay off mightily on Wednesday. (Perhaps most important, I learned that when you fall in these conditions, you go “poof”, look like a sugar cookie, and are, (thus far,) unhurt.

 

VSP and Segbrown all aglow after dropping in off the cornice on Iron Mask, lap 1
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VSP rips it up on lap 2
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My buddies blow cold smoke
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Segbrown turns on the jets
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VSP captured this image of your humble narrator. It may well be my favorite photograph of me skiing.
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Life sure can be grand, especially with such great folk and interesting clothing choices
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Tuesday may well have been the best day I’ve ever spent on the hill, what with the epic powder and two stellar companions. I was pretty certain that the day would stand alone as the apex of my season until;

 

Wednesday, April 7th came along.

Upon waking, a check of the Vail website reported 19” of fresh. JACKPOT!

 

Head on off to Lionshead for my first time rendezvous with Alta6, who I’ve heard is an extremely nice guy, and quite a player on the hill. The rumors were right. We hit it off pretty much after the first 4 seconds of our relationship.

 

First run was on a “groomer” that had between 6” to well over a foot of fresh on top of a baby-bottom smooth base. We cut over to a short, moderately pitched training area, and played figure 8’s.
Kulick-10-04-07-010.jpg

Pretty fair results seemed prophetic, as our initial harmony and rhythm promised good things to come. (In actuality, Alta6 is a strong guy, very experienced skier, and a considerate soul. Compared to many of the Bears, I’m relatively inexperienced, and runs that many of you make as a matter of routine, are to me feats of lunatic daring. It makes me feel wonderful about my own growing skills that I can actually keep up with these fine folks, (for the most part,) and that my presence does not seem to seriously hinder their own run selection, or overall pace on the mountain.)

Alta6 does a little mild warm up
Kulick-10-04-07-012.jpg

 

Alta and I share the blower for a few laps on the frontside until it’s time for us to meet up with another major big-dog Bear, Alta6’s old companion, and my new one; Uncle Louie. We introduce ourselves and talk pleasantly for about 45 seconds, then drop in to Sunup Bowl.

 

Uncle Louie makes a very strong first impression.
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Alta6 drops in
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and gets stupid deep
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We played around in Teacup for a run, then make our way over to Blue Sky, where we lap Earl’s bowl 3 or 4 times, then meet Noodler and his bro Faisasy at the base. Little do I know that the quick “hello” that I share with Noodler at the base will be the entirety of our interaction. In fact, the ONLY disappointing aspects of the entire day were my failure to spend more time with Noodler and actually meet Faisasy. Alas, well-waxed skis, buck fever, poor sense of direction, and rotten communication preclude our sharing turns. I zip past them, though they do Shanghai Alta6 for a while, and lead Uncle Louie and our newly made buddy John over to the Pete’s bowl side, which I knew would be just choked full of wind-loaded pow. Bingo. We smile a lot.

 

2:00 PM seems to be the witching hour, and the sun has turned what had been a few feet of blower into grabby piles of heavy cream cheese. We opt out of the line we hoped to take in Shagri-La trees, and spend the rest of the day on the front side.

 

We revisit the site where Uncle Louie was wedded to Sugar Cube, and receive an important message from VSP via two-way wrist radio. Après plans are laid.
Kulick-10-04-07-016.jpg

 

Got a phone call from Fireball. Told him that I missed him mightily, and then teased him mercilessly.

 

Thursday April 8th. A blue-sky day with no new snow yields a different sort of day for me and the Bear gang. VSP has the day off again, and has seen fit to join me, Alta6 and Uncle Louie for a day of mischief.

 

Somewhere near the roof of Colorado
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Our first run was our only mistake of the day. Dropping into Game Creek Bowl in coral reef like, icy mank is pretty close to being unpleasant, and a rather jarring experience. I still feel that line in my knees.

 

Discretion and good sense has us spend a few laps zipping along the groom.
Kulick-10-04-08-002.jpg

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VSP and Unk provided me with several very nice pointers in the hope of making my bump skiing more smooth and less spastic. I was the only one of our gang with a camera, and as such, there is no photographic evidence, so you’ll just have to trust me when I write that their advice has indeed paid dividends.

 

 

When the bumps soften up, the going gets sweet
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Uncle Louie was having a few aches and feeling the altitude a bit, so he took a little time out. VSP then provided Alta6 and me with some more of his insightful coaching, and we spent almost a full hour on a single groomed run, working on nuanced and subtle drills. Good stuff. We continued to enjoy a rather low-impact day, sharing turns, smiles, and good company until closing time.

 

There is a often-parroted cliché that states “there are no friends on a powder day.” I’ve said this myself, but really believe that it’s often a lot of bunk. I’m sure that I would have had a great time in Vail by myself, but am not nearly foolish enough to believe that I would have had nearly as much fun, grown as much as a skier, and enjoyed life to the same degree as I did in the company of the above noted Bears, friends old and new.

 

That was the end of my season, and I can’t imagine a better finish. Now it’s on with my “normal” life, and for a long while, skiing will be what I do in my dreams.


Edited by Bazzer - 4/11/10 at 8:11am
post #2 of 25
Great report.  Sounds like a great time.  I'm soooo jealous!
post #3 of 25

Excellent Bazzer…a wonderful report!  Look forward to the next one : >)

Actually I think we’ll add a bunch of pictures here soon that fills the gap between your departure and this weekend.  I know VSP has some as well as Betsy has been capturing a few while skiing with Uncle Louie, Alta6, VSP and segbrown the days since.  I think some may also come from UL, Alta6 and Betsy yesterday meeting up with Mr. Vertical, RachelV and her friend over at Beaver Creek [which closes today].

I dropped Betsy back at Lionshead this AM and walked over to Starbucks then back down for a chat with VSP, UL and Alta6 before everyone hopped on 8.  Wow, coffee in hand, beautiful morning, bluebird with no lift line along with that “the season is about finished vibe” about.  Now I hope to have skis on by the closing weekend with some visiting Bears.  I will take your fav frontside route down the last day/last run in your honor Baz  ;>))

post #4 of 25
 See you guys Thursday!
post #5 of 25
That was a great read and provided lots of vicarious fun. April in CO delivers again, your photos convey everything from blistering sun to deep fresh snow.  That shot of Alta6 in up to his chest put a smile on my face.
post #6 of 25
One of the best ever trip reports, and I have a new favorite expression: "feats of lunatic daring."  Unk, now we have 2 reasons to visit Miami!
post #7 of 25
 Bazzer that was so much fun to read, and having met and skied with you it had even more impact.

Thanks!
post #8 of 25
Barry,

It was great to meet you and ski on such a stellar day.  I would have to put that day in my top 10 out of 2000 days on snow!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So far it has been one great trip and I look forward to my last 2 days of the season, need to get home to wife child dog etc.

Mark
post #9 of 25
 Wow, this TR makes me wish we'd waited a few weeks for our trip.  Glad you got the goods!!!
post #10 of 25
Great TR! I can't *believe* I couldn't make it up midweek... next time there's a 19" powder day at stake, I'm just quitting my job. ;) It was great meeting you, Bazzer, and great skiing with everyone else!
post #11 of 25
Way to go Bazzer !

Great trip report and it was great to meet you and get to hang with you for a few days.  Can't wait till next year !

Nice trip report.
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiMangoJazz View Post

 Bazzer that was so much fun to read, and having met and skied with you it had even more impact.

Thanks!

+1!  Thanks for the entertaining report.  I'm really looking forward to the start of your next season =)
post #13 of 25
Great read, and thanks for letting me tag along.
post #14 of 25
Barry,

Sorry we didn't get to meet up again this season. We've just missed each other as I'm in Vail this week. But you did not lack for ski buddies (or powder), great trip report!
post #15 of 25
Bazz,
Great report. Reading it was almost as much fun as actually being there. Well, ok, not so much.
David
post #16 of 25
post #17 of 25
damn, you folks are lucky...
post #18 of 25
 couple of days to go. 
post #19 of 25
Bazzer:

Wow! That was, perhaps, the most enjoyable thread I've read (and viewed) yet, here on EpicSki (aside from the funny Ski Patrol stories). Beautifully illustrated! Plus, you guys look great in your skiwear! Well done, and thank you!
post #20 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by studio460 View Post

Bazzer:

Wow! That was, perhaps, the most enjoyable thread I've read (and viewed) yet, here on EpicSki (aside from the funny Ski Patrol stories). Beautifully illustrated! Plus, you guys look great in your skiwear! Well done, and thank you!

 
Thank you for the kind word studio460. Hang around Epic a while longer, and I'm certain that you will find many threads and posts that you'll enjoy just as much. You are of course most sincerely welcome.
post #21 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:

Nice shot VSP. That was the deepest, until the following day, when we had the 19" dump. 
post #22 of 25
Thread Starter 
 My sincere thanks to all of you for letting me know that you enjoyed reading my little trip reports.

 

I do not have the wealth of information, experience, or knowledge that may of my fellow Bears have, so I believe that putting a bit of effort and thought into writing my reports is one of the ways that I can make my own small contribution to this community, one that I’ve come to embrace in the few short seasons since I joined.

 

I actually feel a bit of remorse for not having absconded with my wife’s camera on all of the trips that I’ve made, because folks love to see photographs of themselves, and pictures make most reports more fun to peruse.

 

I’ve received nothing short of the most robust rewards from the company of the EpicSki members whom I’ve had the pleasure to meet and ski with, and knowing that I am in some small way making any of the Bears a bit happier is a delightful lagniappe. 

post #23 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DonDenver View Post


Actually I think we’ll add a bunch of pictures here soon that fills the gap between your departure and this weekend.  I know VSP has some as well as Betsy has been capturing a few while skiing with Uncle Louie, Alta6, VSP and segbrown the days since.  I think some may also come from UL, Alta6 and Betsy yesterday meeting up with Mr. Vertical, RachelV and her friend over at Beaver Creek [which closes today].



Post 'em up when you can. It's 86 degrees and raining here. Ocean is too rough to venture out safely, so I could use a little bit of late season stoke.
post #24 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DonDenver View Post

  Now I hope to have skis on by the closing weekend with some visiting Bears.  I will take your fav frontside route down the last day/last run in your honor Baz  ;>))

Which favorite? Were you thinking along the lines of Riva, Blue Ox, Gandy Dancer, and etc., or perhaps something akin to Fuzzy Baby Panda, Sleepy Puppy or Grandma's Oatmeal Cookies?
post #25 of 25

A great report, and some really amazing photos!

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