Category Archives: Skiing

DAY 132 – 01/24/2013 A Grand Day Out

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Watch the above link to the official Website to hear the infectious melody for yourself!

Our “dear imaginary friends” Wallace and Gromit went to the moon once to restock their cheese stores.  They were greeted by the unusual guardian of the moon who became distracted by a SKI magazine.  It fancied itself a skier traversing the craters of the moon.  He looked like a wheeled  oven of sorts, but clearly enjoyed using those poles and sliding along with the greatest of ease.  The soundtrack music was captivating to us and frequently comes to mind as we slide on our own skiing adventures. “DAH Da Da DAH Da Da DA DAAAAH!”

As you may recall, we are easily amused and have great reverence for laughter of nearly any source.  Today, Monarch snow was firm.  Record warm temperatures, sun, and wind have sculpted open, smooth trails with actual ice on them.  In the East, this is routine and the Sno-cats Groomers are like Zamboni’s creating very usable surfaces.  Here, a 2 square foot patch of ice is somewhat remarkable, let alone some of these whole trail faces where there are vast sheets awaiting.

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Asher taking off…Mark was out of sight. Pics of him when I can catch him!

But, when life gives you lemons-make lemonade!  Jane and I had one of our best skiing days just the same.  We got to share bits of it with our favorite neighbors.  Those boys love to bomb down that mountain.  They are showing off their turns quite a bit too as I’m sure they know I like to turn.  I can’t wait to do some more runs with them and maybe even do some human slalom:  Forced-turns!

Look-at Jane go!

Look-at Jane go!

Jane and I took to the smoother and softest possible groomers we could find.  Mostly the Blue runs off of Breezeway, and Panorama.  Jane is looking ever more centered and relaxed on her skis.  Something about skiing frequently and only for as long as you want to, is adding

Where to?  "Down" and kicking up snow all the way!

Where to? “Down” and kicking up snow all the way!

certainty.

Most vacations are driven by my own usual desire to start when the lifts open and just go constantly until they close.  Some days brownies or Clif Bars replace lunch breaks to get maximum value and time on snow.  Here we do long,  AND short days.  We even take some days off; usually seems like a weekend day is a good excuse for a hike, but really this mountain is never actually “crowded”.

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I have been working for the past two years to make both of my skis do “exactly” the same thing and leave perfectly even tracks, no skidding, staying the same distance apart.  Studying the tracks leads to the obvious disappointment that this is just not “possible” in an absolute way.  Jane asked why I am working so hard at this?

Tracks are hard evidence of what the body is doing.  Performing these moves at slow speeds on “easy” trails requires a subtlety.  With conscious practice, new moves are committed to reflex and will deliver the stance, power and balance at higher speeds on steeper slopes.  Yup, I am a ski nerd.  Biomechanics, motor-learning, PT, kinesiology are all out there all the time to aspire to.  I love refinement and it is actually lots of fun, not overly negating to see those wavering carved tracks…they are surely improving still.

Most importantly, though:  “DAH Da Da DAH Da Da DA DAAAAH!”

We continue to say WHEEEEE! frequently and LOUDLY!

-David

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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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

DAY 119 – 01/11/2013 Salida, CO – It begins to snow

The wind roars through the Arkansas Valley at the base of Monarch Pass where our little trailer sits.

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Gusts up to 45 mph are predicted for this afternoon. Snow showers skitter through the fields, then whirl high in the air around the campground.

Here's our neighbor, the Livingstons. They're full time RVer's with 4 sons. Ages 10 to 2, I think. There blog is www.livingstonfamilyadventures.com

Here’s our neighbor, the Livingston’s. They’re full-time RVer’s with 4 sons. Ages 10 to 2, I think. Their  blog is www.livingstonfamilyadventures.com

The littlest Livingston, Mason. These boys sure are  fun!

The littlest Livingston, Mason. These boys sure are fun!

The temperature’s not so bad. In the 20’s. Last year on this day it was minus 29!

David will be heading off to ski soon. I’m hanging out in the Tramper today, recovering from a nasty cold.

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It’s cozy in our little home. So far it’s only rocking only gently. I have no fear of being swept away. The trailer is extremely well-built and I haven’t lost that 25 pounds I thought I would on this trip, so we are anchored firmly to the ground.

– Jane

DAY 111 – 1/2/2013 Start the Year Skiing

A tradition I have often carried is to ski very early on New Year’s Day.  Many people have been up late the night before, so I have found that particular morning pretty much crowd-free.  Lack of a crowd makes skiing safer and more fun.  This year we drove through New Mexico, started the year in a new place continuing our grand adventure.

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After a very cold night- temps were minus zero- we set up camp at Heart of the Rockies RV park. The Tramper was quite comfortable inside!  In fact, we are working on ways to heat less dramatically…

Today we skied.  Just drive about 8 miles uphill to a wonderful Colorado ski resort, “our resort”, Monarch Mountain.

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I had confidence the skiing would be nice, the mountain adequate.  So, here we are.  Standard speed chairs, no high-speed-detachable-quads.  Just as well.  They wear out your legs fast, but worse, they spit too many people onto the trails at once.  More people means the snow wears out faster.

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Here today, in this holiday week, we skied right into the queue and rarely waited for even a single pair ahead of us.  There is still soft snow on the edges of the trails from a storm three or four days ago.  Best of all, terrain.

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Trails and trails stretch over and around a well contoured area.  The lifts have such simple and informative signs: Beginner lift, Advanced lift.  And the grooming!  We found plenty on smooth, groomed greens to wake up and re-adapt to this sport.

I always laugh at my first few turns.  I can be pretty critical having skied for over 40 years. I have passion for this sport but also the Winter season. I look forward to skiing from the first dreary, cloudy or rainy day of fall.  The warm Summer funs are ending and what next?  SKI SEASON looms to save the day.

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Sweet Fall-line trail, right down to the parking lot!

So there I stand at the top of a hill, inching into that first run.  Its so familiar, I start to turn and usually end up banking far inside.  My body is turning a bike!  I haven’t separated my pelvis and hips from my torso.  Five or six turns later and it starts working, But slalom racing skis are not forgiving.  Flex and edge them and they TURN!  REALLY TURN!  The radius they pick may be based on what you told them, but if you aren’t ready….kapow, they launch.

At home on skis.

At home on skis.

Two runs later I begin to remember what I was “working on” last year.  No one could see the subtleties being refined and improved, but there is an infinite realm to explore in any sport.  With skiing it involves a 3-dimensional interplay with a constantly changing surface.

On skis, I know I belong on this planet.  There is a quiet and unencumbered joy.  Both of giggle and get to say Weeee…a lot.  Can’t wait til tomorrow!

-David