Elaine Be Nimble

I have a loose plan on my Sojourn. I go here, stay there, immerse myself into whatever comes my way. My plan after Los Angeles was to take a break and fly to Dallas to join my daughter for a few days. I was flying in and out of Las Vegas as it was on my way to the Rockies, and the flights were cheap.

I stayed at a Worldmark Resort overnight just because I am a Worldmark owner. I had never stayed at the Spencer street location, so it gave me the opportunity to check it out. They wouldn’t let me leave my vehicle there the three days of my escape to Dallas, so I Googled “airport parking Las Vegas” and found a bunch of off site parking options at a rate much cheaper than onsite. I chose the Best Western parking option. They have a shuttle that runs to the airport and it was $8/day. They allow parking in their hotel lot. I was flying Frontier for $150 round trip–truly a bargain–but it didn’t include a carry on bag. So I packed three days of gear into my larger Camelback backpack and got to the airport about two hours early. Frontier warned that TSA lines could be long, but my Precheck worked fine.

Getting to the airport early is fine with me. I don’t like the stress of cutting it close as I used to when I traveled for business. I had a leisurely breakfast, scrolled on my phone, read the paper. I got worried when the plane didn’t appear at our gate and it was loading time. Then the dreaded message came: Flight Cancelled.

It looked like the flight had been full. It wasn’t clear what we were supposed to do, so I headed to the Frontier ticket counter. I got into the line with one person ahead of me for buying tickets. The line for check-in was packed. Then this Frontier lady came and told us we had to get into the check-in line, even though the ticket seller lady said we were in the right line. By this time the line for re-ticketing was about 200 people long.

It was a long, sad story; one that you don’t want to know the gory details, save for the fact I booked a ticket on my phone for the same date and day (it was remarkably easy!) only to realize after the fact it was for March (a month out) not February! This is a mistake I have done before because February 6, 2023 is a Monday, and March 6, 2023 is also a Monday…GRRRR… Non-refundable ticket, too. I ended up calling my daughter and asking her to search online for me, I was so rattled. We couldn’t find anything so my trip to Dallas was aborted. I ended up getting two days of parking refunded. Frontier refunded my money, and gave me a $50 voucher so it covered the money I lost booking the wrong month, but frankly, I don’t think I’ll ever fly Frontier again.

I found myself with three days I hadn’t planned on. What’s a person to do? I did what any ski fanatic would do–I booked the Worldmark Midway, Utah. Utah has become one of the top ski destinations in the US. It’s got over eight major ski resorts within an hour of Salt Lake. Midway was about 6 hours from Las Vegas, it was still early in the day and I was at my ski destination by 4 pm the same day.

Driving has become a tiring exercise for me, and I find I need additional rest after a six hour stretch. I relaxed and hung around the next day to be available to my daughter if she needed me and we talked off and on during the day. I have the Epic and Ikon ski passes, so my investment in a lift ticket is a sunk cost. I figured I could ski for two and a half hours at Deer Valley later that same day so I went for it. Deer Valley is on the Ikon, and I had a great afternoon. My skiing is a bit off–I am attributing it to my arthritic left hip and back. There’s a pesky pinched nerve in my right hip, too. Ah, the joys of getting old.

The next day I went to Park City Mountain. Parking is an pain, and I realized even though I got an early start, I was going to have a problem finding a place on the Park City side. The Mountain base parking is now a paid lot, and while the town buses are free, there’s not a lot of parking spots near the bus stops that I could figure out. I ended up driving to the Canyons side where the parking is free, relatively plentiful, and I got there in time to catch the morning tour of the Canyons side of the resort.

A storm was brewing, so no bluebird day for me. At noon I took the Quicksilver gondola to the Park City side. I took the tour there, too. The tours, as I have often said, give a quick overview of the mountain and the runs. The weather was turning blustery, so after about an hour and a half, I cut out of the tour and headed back to the Canyons side to where my car was.

Park City resort claims to have the most skiable acres in the US. Big Sky is maybe a 1000 acres shy of their 7,000. It takes a lot of effort to ski from one end to the other because of the sheer size and that the Canyons side has CANYONS that need to be navigated. As I was taking the Over and Out chair to get from Tombstone lift to the Canyons Village I was on the lookout for a notorious moose that lives in that ravine. I could see the tracks in the snow, and lucky me! The moose was curled up under a tree!

My stay in Utah was a brief interlude, unplanned and spontaneous. I had a date with Ellen and Fred in Eagle, Colorado, and I hate to be late! Early the next day I hit the road again, taking highway 40 out of Heber City, through a spectacular canyon that follows Daniels Creek and then Hobble Creek, into the dinosaur country of Vernal then dropping down from Dinosaur to Hwy 64 to Meeker,Colorado, to Hwy 13 then I-80. The stretch of road from Glenwood to Eagle follows the Colorado River. It’s often closed due to avalanche or rock slides. It’s an amazing civil engineering section of interstate.

I stay with Fred and Ellen often when I travel through Colorado. This trip Fred was recuperating from broken ribs sustained in a fall. Ellen and I had time to catch up and I spent a day skiing Vail. I hadn’t been to Blue Sky Basin and the mountain tour that day was touring Blue Sky. I am one lucky duck. I met Cyndy and Mark, a lovely Chinese American couple from LA on the tour, and it turned out they live blocks away from my nephew’s place in Redondo Beach. AMAZING.

I work for Vail Resorts at Hoigaards in Minneapolis. I love Vail Resorts. But the lift lines were the worst at Vail. The gondola from Vail Village had a huge line, and the Skyline Express to the top of Blue Sky had lines. Later in the day, I opted to ski the frontside, but Cyndy and Mark skied Blue Sky again and said the lift line out on Tea Cup Express was HORRIBLE. Big Sky, Jackson Hole and Taos all require reservations. I think Vail needs to seriously consider a reservation system. It’s not only a poor customer experience, but it gets downright dangerous with so many people on the mountain.

I am currently sitting at my Skijourn Sister Mo’s condo in Frisco, Colorado. We’re going to be joined by another Skijourn Sister Gina later. Summit County, here we come!


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