Solo Ski Sojourn 3: It’s a wrap!

Stuff to remember

Left Minneapolis January 6, 2022

Returned Minneapolis March 30, 2022

Total Miles: 9362

MPG: 19.6 (I was really trying for 20 but the wind across the plains pushed me back)

216 hours behind the wheel


Max Ski Speed: 51.6 I think this can’t be right, I average high of 30-34. Maybe I was falling off a cliff…

Ski Distance: 536.9 miles

Ski Vertical: 512,372 not counting the couple times I forgot to turn my tracker on.

Favorite Days: The days I skied with friends—there were lots of them (days and friends).

Worst Day: Getting the “let’s be friends” talk with my romantic interest. Breaking up is hard to do.

Best thing I did: took a carving lesson from Mark. It began my transformation.

Best Day Skiing: With Cathy skiing deep powder and closing down Hunziker run at Taos, the ski patrol sweeping behind us.

New skill: waxing my own skis.

The inevitable: getting Covid (probably contracted riding the Jackson Hole tram) and recovering while in California.

Worst drive: Pagosa Springs to Taos—whiteout blizzard conditions.

Best drive: Anywhere in the mountains. Every turn is a new delight.

Most fun day: Skiing with teenager Kaia at Beaver Creek and trying to keep up with her. 17 vs 67.

Best meal: My salami, cheese and cilantro sandwiches that I made for the mountain. I hadn’t packed my own lunches ever. It saved me mucho dinero, and it was all I needed. I was inspired by Bill and Mark who packed their own lunches every day at Grand Targhee.

Most scary incident: 1. Going out to my truck at 2 am in Fargo and a man with a teardrop tattoo was at the door for a smoke. I asked him to hold the door for me as I went out to get my ice chest full of Covid test kits. He held the door, asked me if I needed help with the chest, and then went to his room. I thought for sure I was going to be mugged and thrown out in the -25 degree night. He turned out to be a nice guy. 2. Missing a turn on Hwy 134 outside of Kremmling and pulling out in front of a semi-truck. It was my lucky day, ‘cause I could have been toast.

Favorite area: New Mexico. It’s not called the land of enchantment for nothing. It’s got so much cross-cultural stuff going on I am intrigued. The town of Taos, which was my introduction to New Mexico, has that southwest, pueblo look and feel. It’s not like other ski towns in every other Rocky Mountain state. It’s unique and sets a tone like no other. And the history goes back to 1540 when Coronado came up from Mexico to explore. I’m going back for more!

Most expensive gas I bought: January 23, 2022, Costco Elk Grove, California. $4.19/gallon; March 22, 2022, Costco Scottsdale, Arizona. $4.50/gallon.

Best apps that I used on this trip: Any and all of the 511 road conditions apps, by state. Ikon Pass, Ski Tracks, AccuWeather, Open Snow, Choice Hotels, Google Maps (Although I really, really like the navigation app that comes in my Ford F-150. I used it more than Google Maps.) Gas Buddy, Amazon (I ordered products that would be delivered to wherever I happened to be for the few days) SmartCam and Wink app to “look” at my lake and condo back in Minnesota. Internet enabled electrical plugs that controlled my holiday lights. My Ford F-150 Trip Tracker—Trip 1 was reset every time I filled up with gas, Trip 2 was reset at the beginning of the trip to track the entire three months of travel.


Alchemy of Ride Spring Flowers down jacket and bibs. The BEST. Alchemy mid-layer zip thermal—great!

Hot Fingers hand warmers—I went through over half a box of these.

Serius magnetic face mask—it’s like a head sock but the part that goes over the mouth and nose has magnets so it can be pulled down. I loved this new piece of gear so much that when I forgot it in the dryer at Ellen’s house (the magnet sticks to the side of the dryer drum) I bought a replacement. So I have almost $100 in face masks!!

Hestra three fingered gloves

2022 Raichle Full Tilt ski boots—comfort from day one. Many of the Olympic freestyle skiers wore them!

2018 J Skis All Play all mountain skis with new Marker bindings. At the end of 2020 season my Marker bindings literally fell apart! Had to replace them and got the same bindings a couple years newer.

2022 Crosson carving skis—I used these the most since I didn’t get new snow anywhere for 45 days! Great for groomers. Look Pivot bindings.

2010 Hyland Hills rental poles—I actually bought these at a ski swap, and I think they are funny and practical. My friends think I am crazy with all this high end gear and rental poles.

Goodwill $5 iron, ski wax, ski edge file (purchased off eBay). Saved me probably $100+ in tuning by doing it myself. Plus I was able to wax my friend’s skis, too. Invested maybe $50. YouTube taught me how.

Ski Resorts

  1. Hyland Hills
  2. Grand Targhee
  3. Jackson Hole
  4. Squaw Valley/Palisades
  5. Homewood
  6. Alpine Meadows/Palisades
  7. China Peak
  8. Solitude/Brighton
  9. Deer Valley
  10. Sundance
  11. Steamboat
  12. Winter Park
  13. Snowmass
  14. Aspen
  15. Aspen Highlands
  16. Wolf Creek
  17. Taos
  18. Ski Santa Fe

AudioBooks and Podcasts

  1. Crying in H Mart, Michelle Zauner
  2. Clark and Division, Naomi Hirahara
  3. Eventide, Kent Haruf
  4. State of Terror, Louise Penny & Hillary Clinton
  5. The Lincoln Highway, Amor Towles
  6. Violeta, Isabel Allende
  7. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkis Reid
  8. The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell & Bill Moyer
  9. Death Comes for the Archbishop, Willa Cather
  10. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, Yuval Noah Harari
  11. Podcast-Middle of Somewhere, Cy Aumundson and Chad Daniels
  12. Podcast-Chasing Life, Sanjay Gupta


Skiing with friends is more fun than skiing alone, but if there’s no one to ski with, skiing is still fun. When I skied alone, often I would set goals—like ski every chair lift, or ski the resort from left to right, or have a Bloody Mary at every bar on the mountain. I had a goal of skiing 10,000 vertical feet every day I skied. I considered it a good day if I hit my goal, exceeds expectations when I skied more.

Trying to write/work and drive and ski at the same time doesn’t work for me. I need to be in one place, with quiet and as few distractions as possible. But writing for my weekly blog worked since I had a deadline and a goal.

Due to Covid, I ate out far less than I had in previous years. I thought I would miss it. I thought I might starve. But I surprised myself. I liked my home-made sandwiches, I didn’t mind wearing a daypack/Camelbak with water or Diet Coke. Sometimes my Camelbak would freeze…I hadn’t prepared for that. In retrospect, I could have put gin in it and it wouldn’t have frozen, but it wouldn’t be so good for hydration. The other thing that changed from SSS 1 to SSS 3 was my general eating habit. I used to be a solid two meals a day person. As I have aged, I don’t need as much food, and two big meals a day would be way too much! So I cut back to a small lunch and a bigger dinner. Or if I had a big or late lunch, I could get by with a small or snacky dinner. I went to intermittent fasting, so often skipped breakfast all together. The exception to that was on drive days. I found if I didn’t eat breakfast and then ate at noon, I would get SOOOOO sleepy it would be dangerous. On drive days I would eat breakfast and then supper.

McDonald’s breakfast Chicken McGriddle is THE BEST. I probably ate ten of them!

I love driver assistance on my truck. It nudges me if I am getting too close to the side of the road. I’m a pretty good driver, but my truck nudged me quite often.

Auto-pay saved me so many late fees! I was late to the game setting up auto-pay for my recurring bills. I had this thing that I liked seeing the bills and paying them with a check. But being on the road makes it tough to get the bills in a timely manner, and the auto-pay made sure I didn’t miss any deadlines. I do think it makes me less aware of where my money is going, but the tradeoff is worth it.

Being grateful for all the good things makes it a little easier to push through disappointment, missteps, things that are out of your control. Shit happens. Get over it. But wallowing in self-pity does make me feel better–for a while.

I love the mountains. I always have. And all my life I have not lived in the mountains. If I am ever going to change the narrative, now is the time. I have good health, comfortable retirement, kids who are independent. If I am still living in the plains in eight years, kick me in the butt.

Friends, old and new

I know I will have missed some, but know that I will remember the warm feelings I had for you then as we met and recreated together and now as I reminisce.

I know I have forgotten something major, someone who will be in my life until the end of time, a quiet but meaningful something. Cut me some slack. I can barely remember what I ate for supper last night. And sometimes I just forgot to take a picture.

It’s ok. I’ll see you next time!


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