Ringing In The New Year

Happy New Year everyone, hopefully the first two days have been good to you. I have been skiing all weekend, starting on Friday at Keystone with the Denver gang, who were all renting a place up there for the weekend. It was pretty crowded, even the lifts at North Peak and The Outback had a lot of people. We found some solitude though, but it required us to hike to get it. From the top of The Outback, the hiking gate for the North Bowl and South Bowl was open. It was a short easy hike along the ridge, not much altitude gain and not steep. We dropped in to the South Bowl for a few nice turns on good snow down the steep face just above the treeline. The bottom filtered through a catwalk back through the trees to the lift. It was a nice little adventure, and a great way to ditch the masses for a bit. Friday night I hung out with the game for college football and Erica’s homemade bouillabaisse. It was delicious, filled with halibut, shrimp, scallops and clams, and I was fortunate enough to get some leftovers, which I just had for lunch today (thanks Erica!). Rather than drive back from Keystone with the drunken hordes, I took off early and just hung out at my house. I wanted to go to bed early anyway so that I could head back over to Summit County for more skiing.

I met up on Saturday with Wells, Erica and Pete, and we went over to Arapahoe Basin for some morning skiing and riding. I guess a lot of people were hungover, because there was hardly anyone on the slopes when we got there. By noon it picked up a little, but still it was relatively uncrowded, and there were barely any lift lines. It was quite windy and cold up top though, A-Basin is above treeline with lift access to almost 13,000 feet. That type of exposure can make it a windy place sometimes, and Saturday the wind machine was definitely turned on full blast. It was still a lot of fun, the wide open bowls above treeline are such a great place to ski and ride. It was a short day on the slopes, my friends were heading snowshoeing with the rest of the gang, and I took a few more runs before heading to lunch and some shopping. After I got home I watched some more football, and then had dinner before watching one of my Christmas presents on DVD, Harry Potter 3. Even though they are “kids” movies, I like them. I guess I am still a kid at heart, I also got Aladdin and Shrek 2 for Christmas!

Sunday with the blackout dates lifted at Beaver Creek and Vail, I hit the slopes at Vail. It was surprisingly uncrowded, at least through the morning in the Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin. I zipped up the front side lifts and went down a run each on Sun Up, China, and Siberia Bowls, where there was some nice snow on Gorky Park. Then it was over to one of my favorite places to ski, Blue Sky Basin, where I did a couple of runs down the steep faces of Lover’s Leap and the gladed slopes of Resolution and Champagne Glade. The terrain at Blue Sky gives a backcountry feel, but its inbounds and patrolled, so you don’t have to worry about avalanches. The runs are the farthest from civilization at Vail, and the runs are peaceful and quiet, the only sounds are the other skiers and riders. I only stayed half the day, and then I headed back home for lunch. Tomorrow it is back to work, but all in all it was a great holiday break!