A little variety

It was President’s Day weekend, so for the locals in the Vail Valley, that meant no skiing. Our passes are blacked out of the holiday weekend. The nice thing is that they are still good in Summit County, and I was able to go up Sunday. Saturday, however, was time to just bum around town, get a haircut, do some shopping, that sort of thing. One of the local sporting goods stores actually had a really big sale, winter clothing and hiking shoes seemed to be the biggest sellers, but I had my sights on snowshoes. The only times I have gone up I have either rented them or borrowed someone else’s and thought it a good idea to pick up some of my own. One of the bike shops had a big sale too, 50% off select 2004 models, but that was too rich of a purchase for my blood and I refrained from checking out the selection. Sunday I met up with the Denver crew at Keystone, but only briefly due to my own forgetfulness. Keystone is just under an hour from my house, and when I got there I realized I had forgotten an important part of my being able to ski, my pass. I probably could have talked to someone in the pass office and gotten a day pass with my driver’s license or something, but there was so much traffic on the access road I turned around to not waste any more of my time. It turns out there was a bad wreck a few miles up near the parking lot entrance. That was the fourth wreck of the day, on the drive over I saw 3 cars off the road. The conditions weren’t really that bad, but people have a tendency to think they are invincible and unfortunately end up proven otherwise. The conditions were mostly just wet, but there were a few snowpacked areas, and people were just following too closely to react properly to traffic I guess. Anyway, after retrieving my pass, I returned to Keystone and met up with my friends, just as they were getting ready to head out. I got a few good runs in, even got to hike the north bowl, but some of the lift lines were just crazy. It was a popular place to be on Sunday. I stayed until about 4pm, after getting such a late start and dealing with the crowds, I wanted to get in as much skiing as I could. On the drive back, I saw four more cars off the road on Vail Pass, and a fifth one at Dowd Junction. That made 9, and yet people were still tailgating each other, you would think seeing all those cars off the road would get them to wise up. “Space not speed”, just like the signs on the crowded ski trails always say…

Tonight I got to use my new snowshoes for the first time. A couple of friends from work and I hiked up Meadow Mountain in the moonlight. We didn’t even need our headlamps as we were even casting shadows in the moonlight. Wednesday is the full moon, so tonight it was pretty bright. The fresh snow was twinkling in the moonlight, it was very peaceful. Meadow Mountain used to be a ski area in the 60’s, now they use part of it as a sledding hill, and people hike or snowmobile on it as well. It takes about 45 minutes to get up, and if you bring skis, 10 to get back down so it’s a quick little chance to get in some exercise during the week seeing as bike riding is out until spring.