I circled back to Fred and Ellen’s home in Eagle for a week’s sojourn to ski Beaver Creek and Vail. On my way, just after exiting the Glenwood tunnel going east on I-70, a herd of 5-7 mountain sheep were in the median. Massive animals with their rolled back horns, they made an impressive picture.
The bonus was going to Fred and Ellen’s granddaughter, Kaia’s, hockey game. My own daughter, Maiya, had played hockey so it was extra special to attend a girls’ hockey game. Isabella, Kaia’s sister, is going to a hockey high school in the Boston area, and their parents, Tanya and Karl, both play hockey. I would say this is a family that’s really into hockey. Kaia’s team is comprised of kids that span the Eagle river valley to Vail and back. They played a tournament team from Wyoming that had beat them 5-0 the day before, but this game was very close–a 3-2 loss. Kaia played goalie, and she stepped up her game.
The two sisters, Andrea and Tanya, grew up skiing weekends in a program that bused kids from Denver to the resorts on the weekends. That early and frequent opportunity really showed as they both are beautiful skiers. Tanya and Karl both have jobs with Vail Resorts so they qualify for discounted ski lift tickets. Monday being a holiday, Tanya, Kaia and I went to Beaver Creek to ski. Tanya uses telemark skis but usually has the heel down and skis alpine fashion. It was particularly fun skiing intergenerationally—Kaia is young enough to be my granddaughter and her mom is easily 15 years my junior.
The three of us had a grand time as they showed me their Beaver Creek home area. I drove us in my Little Blue Truck to Avon, where we parked in the Bear lot and took the Beaver Creek resort shuttle to the main village area. We spent a lot of time off the Centennial Express lift, up Cinch and Red Buffalo to the top of the mountain. We took a run from the top in honor of Scot’s birthday—he would have been 64 that day. Kaia led us through Jack Rabbit Alley, a fun little area in the trees with building facades to appeal to little kids. We headed over to Elkhorn lift and skied that side of the resort. In all we racked up over 12,000 vertical in an easy day of skiing.
At the end of the day we hit the Coyote Café where we had hot chocolate, drinks and an early supper. The ‘Yote is the local favorite, right off the mountain in the village, and filled with tourists and locals alike.
Beaver Creek is big enough that you can’t ski it in a day, and I planned on returning later in the week. Snow was coming, so we hit the road back to Eagle to beat the bad roads.
My second day skiing at Beaver Creek I went up some lifts I didn’t do with Tanya and Kaia. Skiing without a guide is definitely harder—I started the day taking Centennial lift, then Cinch Express. So far, so good. Skied down to Larkspur a lift we hadn’t taken before, and tried to find Primrose down. Well, I either missed Primrose, or Primrose was through trees I wasn’t comfortable taking alone. I ended up on a cat track—which I hate—to the far side of the mountain Beaver Creek Mountain Express.
I focused on the blues and blacks that I had taken with Tanya, but without a guide I had to be more attentive. My boots were problematic. I knew that was a risk when I bought them in Driggs, but I was wishful. I was still wishful, but also pragmatic enough to know I was going to have to take some corrective action.
It was colder, probably in the low 20s, high teens, so I skied 9700 vertical in 2.5 hours and called it a day. One thing I noticed skiing out west is that cold is nothing like cold in Minnesota. Minnesotans would think low 20s, high teens would be warm. Not here. Here, it drives people inside.
Like my new friend, Harriet. I stopped at the CBar bar and sat next to Harriet, owner of ColoradoPrimeCBD. She was drinking hot tea and warming her hands on the mug. She out numbered me a few years, but we had a great conversation at the bar, amazed at the parallel paths our lives had taken and promised to stay in touch. Who knows if we will, but at the moment, we connected as friends and skiers.
I was anticipating joining up with a ski friend from Wisconsin, but the stormy weather, while great for skiing, was especially bad for travel. Sherry’s husband, a corporate pilot, had his trip cancelled due to weather, so my ski friend’s free ride evaporated. I was disappointed, but my plan continued: I’d hit Vail for a couple days, and then move on to Summit County.
But, my FEET… ouch }:-(