Daily Archives: January 18, 2013

DAY 124 – 01/16/2013 Skiing at Copper with Jon & Naomi

Yesterday, in the sack lunch room at Ski Monarch, we met a very nice couple. Their names are Jon and Naomi. They’re from Maine.


Naomi & Jon. Married about a year! Isn’t that cute!?

Of course, we blabbed on about our trip. And we gave them one of our new cards. (Yes, we ordered up some ‘business’ cards. After being asked if we had a card many times. So, now we’re cool.)


We liked Jon and Naomi right from the start. We had that lovely ‘instant rapport’ going on. You know the feeling. When you have things in common that make you feel comfortable right away, but your curiosity is piqued and you want to spend some more time together.

David, Naomi, Jon & Jane

David, Naomi, Jon & Jane

Our new friends mentioned that they were going to try Copper Mountain ski area the next day. While David held his breath in anticipation of revisiting Copper, I asked them if they wanted company. I told them to check out the blog and send us a comment if they had an interest in skiing with us.


David said later that he wasn’t going to push for the Copper side trip but he sure was glad that I brought it up. David taught skiing at Copper, back in the ’80’s.

Of course, we are loving our ‘home’ mountain, Ski Monarch. It’s everything we hoped it would be: low-key, inexpensive and close by, with that beautiful Colorado snow and big scenery.

Some of the Copper Mountain base lodges

Some of the Copper Mountain base lodges

But, Copper Mountain is a different sort of resort from Monarch. It’s huge! Many times more lifts; much more acreage. It’s glamorous. And expensive, so Copper would be a rare treat for us.

We heard from Jon and Naomi later in the evening. Yay! We’ll have a fun day at Copper! We packed our ski bags and went to sleep early.


Next morning, we met up with our new friends inside one of the Copper Lodges. We quickly realized that exploring the mountain with them would be a good experience!


Naomi has been skiing for a while; Jon just started a couple years ago; I am a constantly-learning ski veteran and David is the happiest man on Earth right now!

My wonderful David. Happiest man on Earth - to be skiing in Colorado!

My wonderful David. Happiest man on Earth – to be skiing in Colorado! He says skiing with me makes it even better…

We all skied to our joyful limits. David sprinkled in some really useful tips for everyone and we used those hints, cruising down ‘blue’ runs and testing ourselves on some ‘black diamonds’.

We were absolutely done. Spent. But, someone said (as someone inevitably does)  “Let’s go down one more time!”. And, so we did, closing down the lift on the very last run up the mountain. Whoo Hoo!


We said goodbye to Jon and Naomi and started the long drive back to the Tramper. The evening Alpenglow atop the now-slumbering mountains bid us a beautiful goodbye.

– Jane

Do we hurry our road? Or help where needed…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn the exciting drive to Copper we saw a silver-grey van stopped, stacks of backpacks and 6 or 8 college students waving as we slowed, but drove just beyond.  Realizing they were waving for help, I thought, they probably have Verizon too (no service here between towns).  I backed up along the shoulder.

The first question was, “do you have any different tools”?  “Our lug wrench is slipping”.  First glance showed 7 loosened lugs on that big right-side, rear van wheel.  My “lug wrench” is part of a pared-down toolbox tossed into a lightweight Homie’s Orange plastic box.  A Craftsman breaker bar and deep socket; it fits both the Tramper and Marfa the 4 Runner.  It did NOT fit the Colorado Mountain College van.

After allowing tries with several other size sockets, it was clear this was a stubborn lug nut.  My “hammer”  is a camp axe, but is in the cubby of the Tramper, back at the campground.  I smacked the offender a few times with the heavy breaker bar.  Shock is your friend against friction.  A small vise grip was quickly tried, broken and abandoned (I gave permission to break or abuse anything as needed).

My next attack included a little trip back into my toolbox and some “creativity”.  I grabbed a hacksaw blade, bent it at about the depth of a socket, 3/8″ or so.  Then, a student handed me the key:  A Bigger Hammer!  This was no ordinary hammer, it was his ice axe.   I pounded the socket over the lug nut with the hacksaw blade wedged  into one flank of the hex.  Pounded some more.  I pushed down with all my weight and pressure inwards to keep that socket on.  Not a budge, despite a few grunts and cuss words.


Then, I recomposed myself, flipped the wrench to give me the best torque, pulling upwards and grunted some more.  I think it was a Scottish heritage grunt; a Grant Grunt!  And so the lug turned.  Advising them not to worry about driving with 7 out of 8 lugs, I threw my tools back into the box, shook a few hands and ran back to our car.  (Had it not yielded, I would have added a few drops of oil or transmission fluid from a dipstick, and asked if anyone had a camp stove.  Heat, your other friend against friction.  The other, priceless tool is persistence: remember, “The mechanic will have his way”.)

Off to Copper.  They, in turn were soon on their way to ice climb at Vail.