Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Jen Goes Off to Play While Jesper is Away!

Jesper headed up to Jackson Hole, WY late last week for 4 days of skiing with the guys. This trip, dubbed "Stick it to the Little Man 3" has become an annual event. It's a boys only trip, so I can't go. I got smart this year and made plans to ski the entire time he was gone up at our fine Colorado resorts. I even made arrangements for bringing Strelka up to the mountains with me while up there.

Sue drove up with me Saturday morning; Mike would be joining us after he got off work in Denver. We headed over to Union Bowl for our first run. Sue loves Union Bowl, for good reason. However, it is not often a first run of the day; ungroomed, very steep and that day loaded with fresh snow still warming in the morning sun. It was HARD, but it was GOOD! So good, we did several laps on it. Despite the crowds at the parking lot, there was no one in this back area of the resort, so we never waited in any lift lines.

Sue in the blue on Union Bowl

Mike arrived and we decided to take a Cat ride up Tucker. For those unfamiliar with Copper, Tucker Mountain is off the back of Copper Bowl and is not accessible by lift. If the patrollers open the mountain, you can skin all the way up or take the Cat halfway up and hike the rest of the way. Copper has stopped running the Cat during the week and so getting up on Saturday provided access to slopes untracked for a week except by the patrollers doing avy control. We got in line for the Cat and promptly took advantage of Mike's status as a patroller to nab a spot in the front seat of the Cat. No waiting!

We had checked out the lines down Tucker before we got on the Cat and concluded that Taco, a wide run to skier's left of the glades we usually take, looked massively wind loaded and fairly untracked.

View of Tucker Mountain with wind-loaded Taco in the middle

Taco was awesome! The snow was steep and deep in a gully that ran almost all the way down the mountain. Down in my tele-stance, the snow whooshed by my face and over my head when I made a turn. Mike and I, both on teles that day, took a couple tumbles each. We all had a blast!

Mike coming down Taco

Sue looking up at the sweet lines we took down Taco, and there was still more to be had!

Me, 'bleeding POW' after a tumble coming down Taco

Tucker takes a long time what with the hike in, so we went back over to the other side of the Copper Bowl and did more laps on Union Bowl. Mike has gotten really good on his tele skis and he helped me out by shouting encouraging tips on the really steep runs; point 'em straight down! Toward the end of the day we headed over to some of the groomed black runs over by the Super Bee lift. All of a sudden, it was almost 4:00! We had been skiing all day - no break for lunch. I was cooked - almost non-functional - and happy to find that Sue and Mike felt the same. We skied HARD that day!

The next day, Mike had Ski Patrol duty, so it was just me and Sue. I was worried how my thighs and hammies would feel after the hard skiing we did the day before. My legs weren't exactly fresh, but I was able to ski hard, albeit for a shorter day. Sue and I skied some Union Bowl and then did laps over and over on Copper Bowl. We found this nice gully midway down with good snow and a fun pitch between the rocks.

Sue skiing the gully on Copper Bowl

It was so warm I skied in a sweater; no jacket. After awhile, we made our way back over to Super Bee and did a few runs there before heading back to Sue's condo to take the doggers on a long hike in the woods.

We returned to Sue's condo and celebrated a wonderful two days of skiing together with an apres ski beer. Then, I bid farewell to Sue and made the short drive to a condo friends of mine from High school were staying at. Click here for more pics of skiing with Sue and Mike.

Doug and Michelle, who live in Florida now, come out west for a ski trip almost every year. I've known Doug since I was 14 - more than 30 years - and Michelle since later in high school and college. Doug and Michelle were staying at a friend's condo in Silverthorne for a week+ of skiing and snowboarding. I joined them for 2 days and hope to ski with them again this coming weekend before they leave. I am grateful to have been invited to stay up at the condo with Strelka (thanks Dawn and Bill).

On Monday we went to Breckenridge. I am not a big fan of Breck, but I have heard great things about it so I suspect I may not have been on the good stuff yet.

Doug, Michelle and me on Peak 7 at Breck

I didn't actually ski any of the really good stuff on Monday, since I was tired and content to ski with Doug and Michelle on groomed runs. It was a great opportunity to work on my technique and rest my legs a bit and I did get the skinny about the good stuff for the next time I go there. Another warm, sunny day, we were able to dine al fresco for lunch and enjoy an apres ski beer outside.

Doug, Michell and me enjoying an apres ski beer outside

The next day we decided to go to Arapahoe Basin. It was warm and had been so for a few days; we felt Vail would be mush. A-Basin is higher, which keeps the snow colder. Dawn, our condo host, also joined us with her 4 year old son Zack. Zack went off to ski school and the four of us skied a bunch of A-Basin's blue runs.

Zack, stoked after learning to snow plow!

Following lunch, Dawn and Zack, who was stoked after his lesson, went off on their own, Michelle did her own thing and Doug and I hustled up to the East Headwall, which had just opened while we were eating! Just as I skied up to the gate, a patroller was putting the rope back up. CLOSED! We just missed it by a minute! We were super bummed, but made the best of it by skiing some really fun black runs on skier's right of the front side.

Doug coming down Falcon, a black run skier's right on A-Basin's front side

We headed back down to find Michelle. Dawn and Zack were heading home; it had been a long day already for the four year old. I split from Doug and Michelle to ski the double blacks under the Palavicini chair; just the wide open, moguled runs, not the trees, as I was alone. This part of the mountain is super steep and worked me over good. Sufficiently tired, I reunited with Doug and Michelle for a few last runs together. We ended the day with an apres ski beer, although I nixed the al fresco component since it was getting chilly. All in all, a great day; I really like the laid back attitude at A-Basin and the terrain and views are spectacular!

Apres ski beers and a big bowl of ketsup!

Four good days on the tele skis! Here's a link to more pics from my two days with Doug and Michelle.

Jesper too had a great time at Jackson Hole, although he caught some stomach bug at the end :-(

Check his website out for video and pics of his trip.

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