4aprice's Mini Ski Safari 3/8-3/19
11 day's , 8 on snow, 4 resorts, 2 states.
Talk about timing, one day after the snow we had waited for all season in the northeast, 4aprice and wife got on a plane for a trip west to see the boy and other family and of course ski. March has always been one of my favorite months and my favorite time to travel to the Rockies and thus we plan it this way almost every year. The northeast weather gave back a small favor to us as a plane to Boston delayed at our gate made our flight a little (and I mean just a little) late and the United Captain gave us free DirectTV for the the flight which was one of the smoothest and quickest flights I have ever taken to Denver. Arriving in time for a nice dinner and good weather for the drive to Steamboat Springs, the first stop of the safari.
The wife and I had become tired of forking over at a minimum $100.00 to the airlines each trip out so we had sent the boy out on a mission to get us skis that will stay stored at his place in Denver. He happily obliged and had them waiting when we arrived. I will discuss them more later in the report but just mention it here because they are wider in the waist then anything either of us had skied before.
Friday the 9th dawned as a nice clear spring day. For all intensive purposes its spring and I like to refer to these days as "50-50 days", 50 % hard fast groomers in the morning and 50% nice soft bumps and woods in the afternoon. The morning was basically spent up in an area serviced by a high speed quad called the Sunshine Express. These runs are for the most part fairly long intermediate cruisers and a perfect place to try out the new boards. There was a small adjustment period but for the most part things went pretty smoothly and we were pretty happy. Did not take photo's during this adjustment period but will note that as stated above they were fast hard cruisers.
The wife and I had shared a couple of cocktails on the flight out and had each had a cup of coffee for the drive from Denver to Steamboat.(this is vacation after all) The combination of the 2 did not effect me but it had effected my wife's sleep pattern (altitude may have played a part too) and after a 1/2 day she was pretty wiped out. The boy is nursing a sore knee (hurt biking, but affecting skiing) so they decided to rest up for the afternoon so I went for a little solo time. Sun was out and working its magic on the snow and it was a nice backend 50% part of the day. I headed for Storm Peak via the Burgess Creek area.
White Out Run in Burgess Creek Section
I had found a wonderful section here last year, served by the Bar UE double chair. 1356' vertical of bumps and trees with an exposure in a direction that keeps the snow in better condition then some of the other pods. The Triangles glade section was in really good shape.
Upper part of Triangles
Lower Part of Triangles below the Bar UE Double Chair
The good snow and bumps were a great proving ground for the new boards and I really started to get the feel and really started to like them. Couple of these runs and a couple of more runs down Storm Peak North and Burgess Creek ,then down the main face near the gondola completed a nice first day.
Storm Peak North above Four Points Hut
Some of Steamboats famous Aspen Glades on Storm Peak.
Saturday March 10th
Saturday dawned cloudy with a little snow in the air. 1-2 inches at the most, but enough to put down a nice fresh layer and provide some fun. We headed for the Morningside Park Section to which we had never been before and really had a blast. We found a whole bunch of low angle trees which was really nice for my wife who is still a bit leary of tree skiing and she had a real good time dabbling in and out of them with the fresh coating of snow. As the snow eased and the the sun started coming out we moved around the mountain hitting a lot of the intermediate groomers such as Buddy's Run and Vagabond. We were also forced to take a run down BC Skiway (a round about work road) because some of the group (wife, offspring) overshot the lift I wanted them to take .:x Made for a pretty circuitous route around the mountain.
My son had a friend stop by and so leaving the wife at Gondola Square I went for a couple of runs with them. The son, an ex racer and the friend, a Snowbird (UT) native went at it pretty hard and I had a fun time chasing them around up in the Triangles section described above. Made it to about 3:00 pm before surrendering and heading for Gondola Square (they went at in the park for a couple more). Found the wife (enjoying one already) and had a cocktail, enjoying a band on the stage, and some of that delightful Rocky Mountain sun.
Apres in front of the Billy Kidd Statue (decked out in a spring Lei) at Gondola Square
Sunday March 11th
This was originally supposed to be a travel day off snow, We (I) have learned that taking days off makes these trips much more enjoyable at least for me, but we were having so much fun seeing the boy, and the fact that he was going to ski, we said yes to a 3/4 of a day 3 at Steamboat.
Beautiful clear weather. A lot of people must have arrived Saturday night as the Gondola line was much bigger then the previous 2 days. Lots of Texas athletic regalia, indicating Texas Spring break. (confirmed by lift partners on same ride). Steamboat is pretty spread out so lines weren't really an issue outside of the 1st gondola ride. We went back to Morningside Park and actually saw some of what we had skied the day before. Also saw the birds that will famously land on your hand for birdseed if you bring it. More tree dabbling for the wife.
Morningside Lift where the birds will feed
Some of the fun low angle trees of Morningside Park
Wrapped up the day with the High Noon and 1 O'clock runs off of Sundown Express. The boy went off with another friend and his ride back to Denver and we got ready to hit the road to Salt Lake City. We packed up and was loading the car to split when they came out to the pick up area, done for the day so we extended our time with him with a nice early dinner before, they hit the road east and us, west. A great start to the safari. Part II to come.
Lake Hopatcong, NJ
464 x 332 - 32K
472 x 353 - 39K
359 x 260 - 21K
359 x 260 - 19K
359 x 268 - 26K
359 x 265 - 26K
354 x 267 - 31K
359 x 268 - 22K
359 x 264 - 27K