Monday, March 24, 2008


When Sarah’s parents and sister left, we weren’t feeling very well, so we took a day off on Saturday, March 1, and then snowboarded for a few hours in the afternoon the next day. We got some good snow that week, though, so we didn’t rest for long. We checked out Beaver Creek on Monday, Keystone on Tuesday, and Breck on Wednesday and Thursday.

On Friday, we went to Vail. The snow wasn’t quite as good as on the previous days, but it was still great. We did a lot of tree skiing in the Champagne Glade and then went out to the Mongolia Bowl. Brian was racing down the slope and had a close encounter with what seemed like the one and only tree in the entire bowl. He felt a branch brush against his back and kept riding. At the bottom of the bowl, Sarah noticed something odd about his back:

The tree had torn a huge gash in his jacket! That gave new meaning to the phrase “shreddin’ it”! So Brian rode the rest of the day with an extremely well-ventilated jacket. Oddly enough, no one other than Sarah commented on his innovation in jacket ventilation. That night, Sarah sewed it back up – a major undertaking since there was about two feet of torn fabric that needed to be sewn!

We never appreciated the difference between ski and snowboard jackets before, but now we do. Ski jackets have burly material on the outsides of the arms, since that’s the most likely spot to encounter abrasions. Snowboard jackets need burly material on the front and back, since a snowboarder navigates the trees sideways on his board, with trees facing him and at his back. Now that Brian’s doing more riding in the trees, maybe he needs a snowboard jacket.

Oh well, in the end, the jacket is none the worse for the wear, although the new stitches tend to collect snow when Brian falls in the powder.

The next week brought variable snow conditions. Early in the week, it was warm with little snowfall. You might think that spring skiing is a welcome relief after a cold winter. In reality, what happens is that the snow warms up during the day and freezes hard as a rock overnight. Earlier in the season when it was freezing cold all the time, the snow would stay soft for a long time even when there was new snowfall. With the warmer temperatures, fresh powder one day can be hard the next.

On Thursday night, March 13, the forecast indicated overnight snow, so we set our alarm for an early wakeup the next morning. Sure enough, the morning snow report indicated a serious powder day, so we got ready quickly and loaded the car. Only one problem: There was a little black Volkswagen in front of Caroline. At various times, our driveway has up to four cars in it, including the Volkswagen and a little blue car that doesn’t even run and has several feet of snow piled up around it.

No big deal, though – we got the keys to the Volkswagen, shoveled out the snow in front of the wheels, and started to drive it out of the driveway. One more problem: The powder day wasn’t just at Vail. We probably had eight inches of snow in the driveway. And the Volkswagen is terrible on snow. We got it to move, but it had absolutely no traction and slowly ran into the snow bank at the side of the driveway. We dug it out again, but now it wouldn’t move at all. We laid out our chains under the tires for better traction, and now it moved the length of the chains and stopped again.

After an hour of moving the car a few feet at a time, we had it out of the driveway and into the street. But the street wasn’t plowed either, and moving the car any further required going uphill through snow. Every attempt to move the car up the street just resulted in the front end of the car sliding, until the car was pointed downhill, not uphill. We eventually gave up and parked the car down the street a little ways.

At this point, we were still planning to go to Vail, but the conditions even on the plowed roads were sketchy and traffic was heavy, so we turned Caroline around and went back to Breck to ski and snowboard. Later in the day, we found out that I-70 was closed for part of the morning between Breck and Vail, so maybe it was just as well that we wound up at Breck.

To add insult to injury, when we got back that night, our landlady told us that we shouldn’t park the Volkswagen at the side of the road because it’s really hard to get it out afterwards. Ugh! Next time, we’ll wake her up at seven in the morning and have her move it!

Friday night brought another six inches of snow. With 17 inches of snow in less than 48 hours, the boarding at Breckenridge on Saturday morning was pretty fantastic. One of our favorite runs, called The Burn, has a lot of trees that collect the snow and the snow there was especially deep and fluffy that morning. It’s hard to beat a powder day!

On Saturday, we both boarded at Breck, and on Sunday, we rested. The great snow had led us to ski or snowboard 14 straight days, bringing our total to 55 days on the mountain this winter!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Caroline's Turn

While we are having a blast hanging out in Colorado for the winter, our car, Caroline, has a slightly different take. Here’s what she has to say:
Every morning, Brian and Sarah wake me up at some unholy hour, despite my cries of protest. It’s always freezing cold, but they seem to be in a hurry to get somewhere. I just don’t get it – why won’t they just let me sleep in?

After the rude awakening, my day doesn’t improve. They run me around treacherous, slippery roads, and every day potholes nearly swallow me. Also, it’s so much work just to move around up here at almost 10,000 feet – there’s just not enough oxygen, so I’m always breathing hard. Unlike Sarah and Brian, I haven’t developed new red blood cells over the course of the winter to help me breath easier.

Some days, it does warm up a bit around here. But I think I dislike those days that most. Then I have to go wading through slush piles and get all dirty. The slush just clings and collects on my bottom. Then it freezes there overnight and rubs in all sorts of uncomfortable ways. How embarrassing!

To add insult to injury, I’m constantly forced to carry around cold, wet ski and snowboarding equipment. Sometimes, the snow melts off the skis and then I smell like an old gym sock. Ick.

On top of all this, there are mean tow truck drivers around here. I think they are out to get me. You’d think they could be gentler instead of poking and prodding me so.

This winter thing is sure getting old. I wonder if Sarah and Brian are planning to go back to Seattle soon. The weather was so much better there.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Cold Weather Survival Guide

After today, we’ve skied or boarded a total of 56 days this winter. That includes every kind of weather – from bright and sunny with temperatures in the 40s to single-digit temperatures with 40-mph winds blowing snow in our faces. Breck is commonly known as “Breckenfridge” for its frequent high winds. We’ve spent 33 of our snowsport days at Breck.

In all the time we’ve been here, there’s only been one day that was too cold to even go outside. That was a sub-zero day with high winds in our second week. We’d skied or boarded six days straight and were ready for a day off anyway, so we didn’t venture outside at all that day.

So how have we not only survived but enjoyed our winter at 10,000’? Here we share our secrets…

For Brian, the key to handling a cold day is avoiding all skin exposure. Obviously, that means gloves and a hat and goggles, but how to cover the rest of the face? In January, Brian was just wearing a Turtle Fur neck warmer, but that left a small gap between the goggles and neck warmer. The result of that gap, one very windy January day at Breck, was a case of frostbite on his cheekbone.

We’d seen a lot of people wearing these fleece facemasks that are fitted to the shape of your face and fit right under the goggles. The Seirus Neofleece Combo Scarf is by far the most popular. It seemed like this would solve the gap problem, so Brian ordered one:

This has been a godsend. On days that are mildly cold and windy, Brian is still comfortable. He’d highly recommend it for anyone whose face is cold while skiing or boarding.

But on those single-digit, 40-mph days, the facemask still doesn’t cut it. The wind still hits the space between the facemask and his helmet and chills his ears. For those days, he needs total wind protection, which an Outdoor Research Windstopper Balaclava provides. Brian bought his a while back at one of Outdoor Research’s semiannual sales at the Seattle store a while back and never wore it until this winter:

Having your whole head surrounded by windproof fleece takes some getting used to – it feels suffocating at first. In addition to blocking wind, it also blocks sound, so it’s much harder to hear with the balaclava on. But on a frigid, windy day, nothing can replace a Windstopper balaclava – Brian doesn’t even feel the wind when he’s wearing it. The weather is so changeable here that he’ll often wear either the facemask or the balaclava and carry the other one in a pocket so that he can swap them later depending on the winds.

Brian’s final recommendation was a Christmas present from Sarah this past year – the Patagonia R1 Flash Pullover:

It’s lightweight and warm, and it’s loose enough to fit over two long underwear tops but tight enough that a fleece and a ski jacket can go on top of it. In other words, it’s the perfect midlayer. Brian has also worn it by itself while jogging on a 30-degree day, and it was warm and breathable. This is such a versatile piece of clothing that Brian has worn it almost every day since Christmas. Kinda gross, but true.

For Sarah, staying warm is all about layers, layers, and more layers. On a typical ski day, Sarah might wear six layers on top and four layers on bottom. This is, of course, in addition to mittens or gloves, knee-high ski socks, helmet, neckup, goggles, and a balaclava for cold days.

For layers, Sarah starts with one or two Patagonia base layers, depending on the weather forecast (though the weather forecast around here is notoriously unreliable). A midweight Capilene crew and pants layer well under the Patagonia Capilene 4 top and pants. The Capilene 4 is a waffle material that traps air and is incredibly warm. It’s much appreciated around here in the cold.

Next Sarah adds a layer of fleece on top and bottom. A fleece with a smooth outside works well for layering. The smooth exterior prevents the fleece from binding under a jacket. On top of the fleece goes a Primaloft vest for additional torso warmth.

The final layers are a jacket or two and hard-shell ski pants. The hard shell ski pants are fantastic for keeping dry, especially when snowboarding. Snowboarders spend a lot more time sitting on the ground or kneeling than skiers do, so it is particularly important to have waterproof pants.

For jackets, Sarah starts with a soft shell. This works well for days that aren’t too windy, but is cool when the wind is howling (which is pretty often around here). For those windy days, Sarah puts her hard shell raincoat on top of the soft shell. The extra wind protection adds a lot of additional warmth.

Sarah’s not sure what she’ll do when ski season is over and getting dressed in the morning doesn’t involve putting on a dozen layers. In the meantime, at least she’s warm.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Skiing Copper

Friday, February 29, was an exciting day – Sarah’s dad skied for the first time in a decade! Sarah, her parents, and Lisa enjoyed the clear, sunny, warm day at Copper Mountain. Brian, unfortunately, wasn’t feeling well so he spent the day resting at the condo.

Sarah’s dad stopped skiing long ago because he couldn’t find boots that weren’t agonizing to wear. Sarah’s mom really enjoys skiing though, so he was finally convinced to try it again. Amazingly, the boots he rented were acceptable, if not perfectly comfortable. Temperatures in the high thirties also kept toe-popsicles from being a problem, which also made the boots more bearable.

Sarah had never been to Copper to ski before, even though it’s less than a half hour away. Copper is not included on the Colorado Pass, and when you get to ski five mountains for free, it’s hard to get motivated to actually pay to ski. Sarah and Brian have been collecting buy-one-get-one-free coupons from one of the local gas stations though, which made it a cheap day of skiing for everyone.

Copper Mountain has an interesting layout of “divided terrain”. Almost all of the beginner slopes are on one side of the mountain, the intermediate slopes are in the middle, and the expert slopes are off to the other side and on the back of the mountain. This layout is actually pretty nifty for beginners because there aren’t experts flying down green slopes at the bottom of a run to get back to the lift. Especially as a beginning snowboarder, that can be pretty intimidating.

The views from Copper are pretty amazing. Here’s Lisa taking a run early in the day with the mountains in the background:

Mom and Dad taking a breather and riding the chairlift (look at that smile – Dad must be enjoying himself!):

Lisa and Sarah took one run in Copper’s back bowls. Copper offers free cat skiing in the bowls. It looked pretty cool but the line was long and it wasn’t the best of snow days, so they passed. It was worth checking out the bowls for the views though:

Later, Mom and Dad are caught in action:

Lisa has snowboarded for a long time. In the afternoon she decided that she wanted to try skiing again so Sarah and Lisa swapped equipment. It’s convenient that they wear the same size boots. Sarah wasn’t too excited about Lisa’s board, which is a lot longer and stiffer than hers is, but she managed. Lisa did really well on the skis, except when Sarah accidentally led her down a mogul run. Lisa enjoyed the chance to try out two planks instead of one, but in the end decided she really preferred her snowboard. Here’s the photo evidence that Lisa actually did get on skis:

It was another beautiful day on the slopes!


Now for an aside…

Cashews are a great energy food during or after a long day of skiing. So when we saw this huge tub of cashews at Wal-Mart the other day, we bought it.

Brian was munching away when he happened to read the back of the tub.

Oh my gosh! This tub of cashews contains cashews?! But we’re allergic to cashews! Thank goodness we read the tub! We won’t be eating any more of these!

All is not lost, though:

Thank goodness for Wal-Mart’s generous return policy. We’ll definitely be returning these!

And the cashews tasted so good. If only they didn’t contain cashews.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Lisa's Day at Vail

Lisa wanted to get a chance to snowboard at Vail while she was here, so on Thursday, she and Brian went while Sarah snowshoed with her parents.

Lisa and Brian arrived at Vail soon after the lifts opened and went straight to the Back Bowls. It was a bright, sunny day with gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains. A couple of runs in the bowls made it clear that there hadn’t been new snow recently – the snow was hard and chunky from melting the previous day and refreezing.

So they went to Blue Sky Basin, which often has good snow when the rest of the ski area doesn’t. That pattern held on this day, and they did run after run in great powder. First, they tried to hit the Skree Field but overshot it, winding up in trees. At first, they were in some soft deep powder among reasonably spaced trees, but pretty soon the trees became denser, and they found themselves barely able to make the tight turns necessary to navigate the glade. Lisa nose managed to hit one tree and Brian’s butt made solid contact with another, but some ugly riding and a bunch of falls later, they made it out, relatively unscathed. Always good to get the hardest run out of the way early, while you’re still fresh!

Brian coaxed Lisa into doing a run called Lover’s Leap, a bowl that begins with a sheer drop of several feet but then gradually becomes less and less steep. Again, they found more great powder.

We’re not sure why Blue Sky Basin is frequently so much better than the Back Bowls. Our best guess is that since the terrain is more tree-covered, it gets less sunlight, so it has less of a chance to melt during the day and refreeze at night.

In any case, Lisa and Brian stayed in Blue Sky Basin for most of the day, boarding Steep & Deep, Champagne Glade, Heavy Metal, the Skree Field, and more. In the afternoon, they returned to the Back Bowls and found some untracked slush in the China Bowl. It was a shame – a couple days earlier, it would have been great snow, and no one bothered to ski it. When they got to the bottom of that run, they decided to head back to Blue Sky Basin, where they stayed until it closed. At the end of the day, they did a couple of runs on the frontside.

Lisa’s conclusions from the day were that it kicked her butt and she was now ruined, because she’d compare every other ski resort to Vail, and nothing else would measure up. And this wasn’t even a powder day! The weather was great, but the snow was sub-par, yet Brian still had to agree – it was a great day. They boarded pretty much nonstop from shortly after the lifts opened to after they closed, and had an awesome time.

Meanwhile, Sarah and her parents jumped on the Summit Stage buses and headed to Lily Pad Lake. The free transportation around here is quite convenient. The bus actually drops off right at the trailhead. The trail is relatively flat and quickly enters the Eagle’s Nest Wilderness. It gets a lot of traffic in general, but there was nobody else on the trail that afternoon. All the traffic packs the trail pretty well, which was a good thing since Sarah was having a hard time with her snowshoes and ended up hiking in boots the whole way.

The trail is forested the whole way, but some views open up at the lake. Here’s a view of the lake:

From the photo, you can see the damage that the pine beetles are doing to the lodgepole pine in the area. Some experts estimate that in five years, all of the area’s lodgepole pines will be dead. That will dramatically change the landscape in this area.

After a snack at the lake, Sarah’s parents posed for a photo:

Then they retraced their steps and headed back to the condo to wait for the snowboarders to return. It was a beautiful day to be outside, whether it was boarding or snowshoeing.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Tea, Mead, and Movies in Boulder

On Wednesday, February 27, we went over to the family’s condo in the morning, and Sarah tried to bake cookies. They turned out flat, gooey, and burned on the bottom. Ah, the perils of high-altitude cooking.

Late in the morning, we drove one and a half hours to Boulder, where we had tickets to the touring version of the Banff Mountain Film Festival. But first, we wanted to go to the Celestial Seasonings factory for a tour. After driving around for a while, we finally found the factory right before 2:00 when the tour started. It wasn’t full, so we snuck in at the last possible second.

We learned that Camellia sinensis is the plant that all tea comes from. Black tea, white tea, green tea – they’re processed differently, but they all come from the same plant. While decaffeinated tea is tea from which the caffeine has been removed, we learned that caffeine-free tea isn’t technically tea at all. “Caffeine-free tea” is a marketing term for brews of other plants and herbs. At first, they called these “herbal infusions,” but people thought that sounded like a shampoo, not a drink, so they changed the marketing term to “caffeine-free tea”.

Celestial Seasonings’ most popular tea is Sleepytime, but it was their third-most popular that made a memorable tour stop. That tea is made from peppermint, and the tour guide took us into a large room in which the peppermint tea is sequestered. The menthol smell was overpowering – it made your eyes water. Some people had to leave the room!

After the tour, we got to sample a dozen or so varieties of tea and coffee and participate in a blind taste test to provide our input into a future Celestial Seasonings tea.

At the factory, we found an advertisement for tours and tastings at Redstone Meadery. We’d drunk their mead before at the Renaissance Festival in Houston. Mead is honey wine, tasty stuff with a rich history that predates grape wine. We had no idea the meadery was located in Boulder, but when we found out, we had to stop by.

As it turned out, Redstone Meadery is a very small operation, located in an industrial strip between two auto mechanics. They have something like five employees, and all the mead is produced in a small room behind the even smaller tasting room.

We’d missed the last tour of the day, so we just did the tasting. Boy, do they have a lot of different varieties of mead! We started with tastings of three that came out of taps – carbonated “draft” meads. Since we only saw three taps, we thought that was the extent of the tasting. But then they brought out bottle after bottle of non-carbonated mead from a refrigerator. We tasted black raspberry nectar, juniper mountain honey wine, a couple of varieties of pyment (honey wine with grape wine), and lots of others that we don’t remember. Fortunately, the tasting portions were small, but Lisa still had to stop halfway through because all the alcohol was going to her head.

After that excursion, we headed to Pearl Street for dinner at the Mountain Sun brewery, where we found that February had been declared stout month! Of course, Brian had to sample the stouts – a cream stout and chocolate stout were both delicious! Dinner consisted of pub food – beef burgers and black bean burgers – and was delicious.

Finally, it was time to head to the Boulder Theater for the show. This showing of the Banff Mountain Film Festival consisted of eight films. Our unanimous favorite was “The Endless Knot,” a 52-minute movie about a climber Conrad Anker who survives an avalanche that kills his best friend Alex Lowe. The survivor winds up falling in love with his best friend’s widow, marrying her and adopting her kids. In memory of Alex, they open a mountaineering school for Sherpas, many of whom lack basic knowledge that could make them much safer climbers. The scenes of the Sherpa school are great – they show a Sherpa stuck who got stuck in a climbing training exercise, with a caption like “, summitted Everest five times, now stuck in a tree”. Another Sherpa performs a rap song and says it’s the “Nepali version of ‘Ice Ice Baby’”. It was a great movie – it was sometimes hilarious but also showed how two people decided to make a difference in the world.

They raffled off a bunch of prizes at intermission. Last year, at the traveling festival’s Seattle stop, Sarah won a new pair of hiking boots. Despite the fact that there were five of us this time, we didn’t win anything – bummer. Around 10 PM, the festival was over, and we headed to the car for the long drive home. At least we had XM satellite radio to entertain us on the way!

Snowshoeing Copper

Tuesday, February 26, was another powder day, this time with about 6” of new snow and clearing skies. The view from the condo in the morning was amazing:

Mom and Lisa were tired from the adventures of the day before. Despite Brian’s protests that it was just wrong not to be skiing on a powder day, we headed to Copper Mountain for the snowshoeing hike we’d blown off the day before.

The snowshoe tour is sponsored by Redfeather and led by volunteer guides, and it’s free. That’s pretty amazing in an area where they seem to charge for everything, and most often charge really exorbitant fees. The hike is a three-mile jaunt on Forest Service land that Copper leases adjacent to the ski mountain. Part of the hike is in a lower part of the Guller Creek drainage, which is the same drainage we’d followed to Janet’s Cabin a couple of weeks earlier.

There were eleven of us on the hike and two guides. One of the guides brought along his dog, Bella. Bella bounded around with endless energy, delighting in the snow:

The day continued to clear and shine on the newly fallen snow:

Lisa took a minute to pose in front of the mountains:

We eventually came to a large open area with more amazing views:

At this point, the guide took the opportunity to show us how to get out of deep powder if you fall. The idea is to cross your poles, lay them on the snow, and use them to push yourself back up. As the youngest and most energetic member of the group, Lisa was volunteered to demonstrate. Here she is rolling in the snow and then recovering:

Here we are continuing along the trail:

Shortly, we entered a more wooded section:

At one point, the guide pointed out a little decorated tree that the volunteers maintain as a “Christmas/Mardi Gras” tree throughout the winter. In the spring they undecorated it to leave the forest in its natural state.

A little further along, there was a short but steep bank on the side of the trail with a rock at the top. The guide told us it was good luck to walk around the rock, so Lisa, Brian and Sarah promptly raced to the top. Lisa then decided that instead of walking around the rock she would jump off it:

The trip finished off by retracing our steps from early in the hike. We passed back by the stable that houses the horses used for sleigh rides:

Back at the condo, the clear day made for more pretty views:

We finished the day with a soak in the hot tub:


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Powder Day

On Sunday night driving back from the condo to our place in Breck, it was snowing so hard that we could barely see the road. We hadn’t seen it snow this hard since we got here two months ago. This prompted us to get up early on Monday morning to check the snow report. Sure enough, there was lots of new snow everywhere: Breck 9”, Copper 11”, Vail 10”, Keystone 8”, etc. We decided to ditch the planned snowshoe trip and called Sarah’s family to get them moving. Despite it being only 6:30 in the morning, Lisa heard “powder day” and was up immediately. Sarah’s mom wanted time to wake up and think about the change of plans, but Sarah insisted that there was no time to think about it on a powder day. Sarah’s dad was fighting a cold and a sore back, so he’d spend the day hanging out in the hot tub and wandering around Frisco.

We decided to go to Breck for the day. This day was tied for the most new snow we’ve had on any single day all season. Powder is great fun to play in, but it does take some getting used to if you’ve only ever skied groomed runs. Lisa dove right in. Here she is on an early run on Peak 10:

Here’s Brian after eating some snow:

Here’s Lisa putting herself back together after a fall:

Later, we moved to the 6 chair on Peak 8. The 6 chair typically has untracked powder much later than the lower runs on the mountain. Lisa did a nose dive and is wallowing in the powder trying to get up:

By lunchtime, the altitude was getting to Lisa (it’s rough going from sea level to over 9,000 feet) and Mom was getting tired. We decided that Brian would take Lisa on one run from the top of the Imperial Chair, the highest chair in North America. From there, you are at almost 13,000 feet and you can ski all the way back to the base of Peak 7 at around 9,500 feet. Sarah and her mom would ski on the bottom of the mountain and meet up with them in a couple runs.

Lisa at the top of the Imperial Chair:

Now that she could say she’d been to the top, Lisa was ready to call it a day. There was a slight clearing and we took a photo from Peak 7 then headed back to the gondola to go home.


North American Open

It took Sarah three hours to drive to Denver to pick up her sister and parents at the airport. I-70 is a windy, high-elevation highway through the mountains to Denver. It’s a drive that’ll keep you on your toes even on a good day. This day, it was snowing in the mountains and the highway was a sheet of ice and stopped vehicles approaching the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial tunnel. Eventually, Sarah made it to Denver where her first stop was REI to pick up purchases (mostly Brian’s) from the recent REI super clearance sale. The customer service clerk laughed when she handed him the receipts and asked if I knew how much my husband had bought and if he was at home sitting on the couch while I was loading boxes into the car.

Next Sarah was off to the airport to collect everyone and their luggage. Squishing a driver, three tired travelers, three maximum-size suitcases, a ski bag, a full backpacking pack, carry-ons, and a few other odds and ends into the CR-V along with all the REI stuff that was already there turned out to be no small feat! Sarah finally deposited her family at the condo they were renting in Frisco at midnight and went home for some much-deserved shut-eye.

On Sunday, February 24, Brian and Sarah got up and went to hang out at the condo with the family. The condo was quite nice. The living room window looked across an open expanse to Mt. Wichita. Very pretty. It had plenty of space for everyone and a clubhouse with a pool and multiple hot tubs to boot.

In the afternoon, we ventured into Breckenridge. Sarah’s parents went up to the Grand Timber Lodge to hear their timeshare pitch in exchange for two free ski tickets to Breck (worth $172!). Meanwhile, Lisa, Brian, and Sarah took the gondola up to Peak 8 to watch the final event of the North American Open – the superpipe final. When Lisa originally heard about the event, she said going would “make all her dreams come true”. When she realized it was skiing instead of snowboarding, her enthusiasm tapered a bit, but she was still excited. We all huffed up the fifty yards or so to the bottom of the superpipe, with Lisa commenting that “this was more work than the 7.6 miles I ran last week” (tromping uphill at 10,000 feet will do that to you).

The weather wasn’t optimal for the superpipe, with snow falling constantly and blowing winds. We still had lots of fun hanging out, watching, and practicing our snowboarding lingo (“throwin’ down”, “keepin’ it real”, “killin’ it”) despite Lisa telling us that practicing in public is completely uncool. Oh well.

Simon Dumont, who helped organize the event and went on to win the superpipe, was by far the best competitor. Sadly, the photos of him didn’t work out. We did catch some of the others in action though:

This shot, taken shortly before this competitor crashed, shows how bad the weather got:

You can find more photos and event coverage here.

We finally left, hoping for clearer weather for our planned snowshoe trip at Copper Mountain on Monday.