Monday, December 28, 2009

Colorado, Day 2: Skiing

On day 2, we got to skiing at Beaver Creek resort. It was a very picturesque resort with many experienced skiers. It was a little intimidating to look up at the mountain, but we got our skis on and went for it.

For the morning, we stayed on the bunny hill. Jamison taught me a lot about skiing, and Dave got to practice snowboarding again for the first time in years.

Even at the level of the bunny hill, the view of the surrounding mountains is impressive.

On the way up to the top of the bunny hill, you take a gondola rather than a ski lift. Still, it beats the silly rope that a lot of Wisconsin and Michigan ski resorts use. Here's a shot of Dave snowboarding under said gondola:

Pretty awesome! Yeah, he fell a lot on the first day, but who doesn't. I fell twice in the morning at least.

For lunch, we ate at McCoy's, the big cafeteria-style restaurant at the base of the slopes. Somewhere during lunch, I decided I was good enough to take on the mountain's green slopes. Thus, after lunch, I went up the centennial lift with Julie and Jamison. Dave stayed at the base of the mountain and took a snowboarding course.

The lift to the summit is actually two separate lifts. The lifts were really fun, and I was able to get on and off with no problem. Here's me at the end of the first lift, halfway up the mountain:

Ohh, look how proud.

On the way up to the top, we saw many more beautiful, snow-covered trees. I was impressed with how serene everything was.

From the top of the mountain, we skied down some green paths, primarily Powell. (See map here.) I did okay at first, but some of the slopes were too steep for me and I got a little freaked out. I inched my way down the steep slopes until we reached Cinch, a winding green path that is rather level - too level in some places, but level enough for me.

The only problem with Cinch is that it crossed some blues and black diamonds, where fast skiers and snowboarders whizzed past. In those places, Cinch could be pretty narrow and slanted, so I was afraid I'd accidentally slide down a black diamond. As I traversed these paths very slowly, I grumbled swear words incessantly. I'm sure people thought I had Tourette's Syndrome.

We made it down the slopes - all 3,000+ vertical feet - at last, but I took a pretty rough tumble a few hundred feet from the bottom. It was pretty icy, because they hadn't had real snow in days, so I hit a fast patch and went head over heels with my skis. At that point, my legs hurt badly already, let alone adding in a twisted knee. I walked a few hundred feet to the gondola and rode the rest of the way down.

It was at this point that I knew I couldn't do three full days, so when I got to the bottom, I turned in my skis and hoped I would be able to go again on Wednesday.

However, one more thing about day 2 is worth noting - our dinner at Beano's Cabin. This is a small lodge settled on the ski slopes of Beaver Creek, and it is only accessible by skiing down to it on a black diamond run, or taking a snowcat sleigh up to the top. We opted for the latter.

Needless to say, it was pretty cold, but we made it up there and had awesome views of the moonlit slopes along the way.

The restaurant itself was amazing. We had five courses of delicious, gourmet meals. The first two dishes were automatic: a cream of mushroom soup and a mixed baby green salad with figs. However, you had choices for your appetizer and entree. I picked a tower of crab with apple chips for my appetizer, and Dave picked a smoked goose breast. Both were amazing! Our main courses were sea bass and scallops (me) and buffalo loin (Dave). Our dessert finished us off with a cannolli cake, strawberry mousse, and dark chocolate brownies.

We shoved ourselves back into the sleigh, warm and happy, and ran back to our beds to get some sleep. We needed the hot, wonderful food - and the protein - to fix our battered bodies after eight hours of skiing.

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