Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Back to the blogging table

I blog all day in my head but when it comes time to put it down on the computer, I get addicted to the tv in my hotel room and motivation just isn’t there.

I had a great day on the slopes today. I started off at Buttermilk in the morning for some warm up runs. Buttermilk is one of my favourite places to ride here. It seems to be the more “kid friendly” mountain as I usually see more of them there. It has a lot of green (beginner) runs and blue (intermediate) runs whereas some of the other mountains have more difficult terrain. I had a pretty entertaining spill, luckily only one. I was slowing to pass a ski class when I caught my front edge and did a barrel roll. I finished the unexpected roll on my knees so I immediately pushed myself up again and continued riding. If you hadn’t known better, I’m hoping it looked as though I meant to do that roll. The best part of the morning and the best spill of the day award belonged to a little skier dude who was probably about 5 years old. Sean and I were walking past the bottom of the lift, headed to the parking lot, when a small group of little skiers in ski school went past us on their way to lunch. One of them must not have been paying attention because he skied right into a low fence which was probably about mid-thigh high on him. Not only did he ski into it, he subsequently flipped face first over the fence into the snow. The best part was where his skis had so much momentum that they too flipped over the fence and hit the snow above his head. His instructor came over to check on him and we kept walking, trying not to laugh too hard.

Heading over to Aspen Highlands for the afternoon, I was looking forward to riding on the last of the four mountains here. I had heard that it wasn’t as great a place because it has a lot of black diamond (most difficult) and double black diamond (expert only) runs but I still wanted to try it. The SES group was doing a group photo so Sean & I took part in that before going for a ride. I took the lift up to 9975 feet which is just over half way up the mountain. If I were asked what I didn’t like about Aspen Highlands, it would have to be the lack of signage. Thankfully I had two trail maps in my pocket. I realized that if I stuck to the runs near the lift then I could get down the mountain without straying into black diamond territory. Just to clarify, I could probably survive a black diamond run, potentially even a double black. Things would most likely go very slowly and most certainly I would fall but hopefully I’d end up alive in the end without any ski patrol interventions. Black diamond runs here are nothing like the ones at Blue. These are real mountains. As in very high and very steep in sections. There are also a lot of trees since these mountains are part of the White River National Forest.

Sean headed out on his own for a run while I had some lunch which was partially frozen from living in my hydration pack. I took the next run on my own while he rested his sore leg. Although it was getting a bit late in the day, I decided to head up to the top of the mountain so I can say now that I’ve ridden down from the top of Aspen Highlands, Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk and Snowmass. Two lifts later and I was strapping my back foot into the binding in a cloud of snow. Yep, don’t think the photos from the summit are going to turn out well. There is one blue run choice to get down. The rest are black and more black. Not to mention the plethora of moguls on those black runs. Moguls are not my friend. I don’t like them, I can’t jump on them and skiers yell at me when I back edge all the way down them. Yes, it flattens them but I don’t care. It’s an act of desperation when I accidently find myself on horrible mogul runs. If I learn to ski one day, I probably still won’t try moguls. I watch the good skiers descend them in the Olympics and I picture myself trying it, only to knock myself unconscious when my knees hit my chin. Call me a pessimist but I know myself pretty well.

Off I went down the only safe choice run. Shortly I found myself travelling along a ridge which was probably about 8 feet wide. On my left was a rock wall, red in colour. On my right was an extraordinarily steep drop off which constituted a double black run. Trouble was, I couldn’t see the bottom of that run. Yikes! Continuing along, I was careful to keep my eyes peeled for the limited miniscule signage so that I would survive the experience. Eventually I found myself back at the top of the first lift I’d gone up. My legs were half dead at this point so I stopped periodically at the side of the runs for breaks. At one point while I was resting, a skier approached me to ask if I knew what run we were on. I had to tell her honestly that I had no idea and we both agreed that Aspen Highlands is one of the worst signed mountains we’d been on. I suggested she keep to the runs under the chair lift, based on my previous run, but had to admit that I had no idea where the chair lift was in relation to our current location. I never saw her again.

Ride, rest, my calves are burning, rest, ride, I think my left foot is cramped, ride, slide on my rear end after losing my back edge, rest to pretend I meant to do that, ride, ride, ride, I think my left thigh just became 3 inches shorter, rest, repeat the rest of the way down. I was surprised to see Sean filming me on his video camera at the bottom and I was oh, SO glad to have made it down intact. One more run then it was time to pack it in for the day. Enjoying a hot chocolate on the patio, I then headed back to the hotel for dinner which they serve as an apr├Ęs ski snack. Cheese, crackers, salami, nachos, chips, lemonade, the occasional glass of wine and soup if I like it. A little monotonous after a week but it’s included in the cost of the room and I’ve had worse.

Yesterday was my day off the mountains and I needed it. I slept in, had breakfast, watched tv, did some laundry, went to the post office, got more groceries, watched more tv, etc. You can see why I didn’t blog about it.


Heather said...

I'm so glad I read about these adventures after the fact, when I know you were still alive to write them. Reminds me of some tales from you and N. after the Van. Is. camp.

John said...

BUT! I want to know which load you did first!!! Whites or Darks???