I'm a native - one of the seeming rarer and rare ones lucky enough to be born in Colorado. When I tell people that, they always assume that I'm also a skier. After all, all CO natives ski, right? Well. Wrong - I used to ski a little when I was younger, but quit in high school and sold all my gear. Life has a funny way of turning things around though, as Nick became more and more interested in getting AT gear so we could do hut trips and and other different winter activites. We finally got the last piece in the ski gear puzzle this year, just before the snow started flying - the actual ski gear! Boots, AT bindings and AT skies, along with skins, avalanche probes and beacons. Time to remember what I was doing with these boards strapped to my feet!
The weekend before Thanksgiving, we headed to Monarch Mountain with Shad, Stephanie and Ned. It was before they were opened for the season, so we had to use our skins to get to top of the mountain. And wow - that was hard work. We had deep, fresh powder and almost empty slopes. It took us about an hour to get up to top, just a steady trudge up though the snow. And I wasn't much faster coming down - not used to that deep of powder at all! But it was a fun day all around.
Over the week between Christmas and New Years, Nick and I went south to visit his parents. We eschewed the fat bikes for the skis. Time to explore the options on the long drive to Reserve! Our first stop was the little resort of Sipapu, south of Taos. We happened to arrive on one of the busiest days they had ever seen, but even so it never seemed crowded. There was only one long lift and one short lift, but we had plenty of fun trying not to fall. The AT skies turned a little different then my old DH set up! We got some wide open slopes, some trees and some deep powder.
|Nick working the bumps and trees at Sipapu|
|Sunshine and smiles after a run through the trees|
|My turn! Not sure I look any smoother, but we were both having fun.|
On the way home, it was a stop at Wolf Creek for a day. Much much bigger and much busier place. Longer, faster lifts and longer, steeper slopes. Still never had to wait too long to get on the lift though. I think we spent half the day lost, just going downhill on something that looked fun and we could do. Without a trail map, it was an adventure - does this run lead somewhere? A few times, I misjudged and found myself at the top of something above my ability level. Time to backtrack and seek out something safer! We did stick to mostly groomed slopes but ventured into the trees and powder a few times. Just once was there no way back to groomers, but we both managed to stay upright. It was much harder skiing for sure, especially when we wanted to get away from the Texas snowplow conventions on the bunny slopes. At the end of the day, we were both tired but had had a blast.
The next test will be to mix a day of skinning with the skiing. Saw one guy skinning up at Wolf Creek - won't get as much downhill time in but will get so much stronger..