Tuesday, March 4, 2008

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.

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