Saturday, February 21, 2009

Aspen Day 2

If I had to put our Day 2 into just a few words, it would be: huff huff, puff puff, ow, Ow, OUCH!!

Now for the longer version. We started our day pretty early at 6:30am, rest of the group was up by about 7-7:30. We did an informal breakfast of carbs, fruit, and coffee in the condo and headed out to Snowmass mountain (the furthest mountain from Aspen). The weather was absolutely gorgeous today with a high of 38 degrees at the base and about 28 degrees at the high elevation. There was very little wind and since it was so sunny outside, it was fantastic skiing weather. Snowmass' base elevation is 8,100ft and the summit elevation is 12,500ft. We were already having some issues adjusting to the Aspen altitude so we knew skiing would be quite a challenge.

We got our lift tickets and rentals for the next 3 days (whew, Aspen is not cheap), got fitted for our stuff, and headed straight to the top on the high-speed chair (14 minutes to the top). Our experienced friends started with a blue slope while we headed for a green slope. Since the mountain is so tall, there are a lot of mid-point chair lifts so you only go down half the mountain, then go back up. Right after the green, Mike and I ended up taking the lift to the blue section (very few greens at Snowmass, especially at the top of the mountain) and skiing those until lunchtime.


Skiing in Pennsylvania/W.Virginia vs Colorado is quite a difference. First big difference is that all the slopes in Aspen are snow, real snow as opposed to the man-made snow/ice created on the East Coast. Second is the height of the mountains. In Aspen, it takes us much longer to ski down the hill than waiting in line and riding the chair back up to the top. In our area, it is the exact opposite. Aspen's green slopes are comparable to blue at home, and their blue slopes are comparable to the black slopes at home. Lastly, the views at the bottom, top, and skiing are breathtaking in Aspen.


We met our friends for lunch at the top of the mountain and relaxed for a while. After lunch, both of us were pretty tired due to the thin air and amount of skiing we've done. My feet were also pretty painful due to blistering under the ankles. We decided to do a green slope down to the rental place so I could get a more comfortable pair of boots. Unfortunately the way down took a VERY long time and I ended up in a fair bit of pain. We made it back to the rental place with Mike chivalrously taking my skis for me. I got another pair of boots to try for tomorrow but we decided to call it an early day for today since my ankles were pretty sore.


Our friend Dan (his parents own the condo) had been here for a week with his family already. Earlier in the week he took a skiing lesson to help weed out some of his bad habits. He really liked the class, so Mike and I have decided to take a skiing lesson tomorrow at Buttermilk (the smallest mountain in Aspen) to help us improve our skiing and make sure we're doing everything the right way. Mike hasn't had a skiing lesson since he was a kid, and I've never had a skiing lesson so we're both interested to find out the correct way to do things.

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