Monday, February 23, 2009

Aspen Day 4

We woke up this morning with the expected aches and pains, but ready to do some more skiing. We headed back to Buttermilk, but decided to skip additional lessons, and instead focus on practicing what we learned yesterday and just having some fun on the easy and intermediate slopes.

We got there shortly after 9am. At the base of Buttermilk it was raining pretty steadily all morning, making things cold and uncomfortable. Once our lift was halfway up the mountain, the rain turned to big heavy snow flakes. It was a pretty different experience than the previous two days. For one thing, we could barely see, with the mountain top covered in clouds, and the snow coming down pretty hard. Each time we went back up there was a LOT more snow on the ground. Within an hour or two there were several inches of fresh powder covering the top half of the mountain.


Skiing in fresh snow was a bit harder than we expected. For one thing, it's slower, meaning we had to work harder to push ourselves along the occasional flat area. Also, the powder masks the underlying terrain, so an area that looks smooth might actually be bumpy or rough. Once the snow got deep, it was also harder and more tiring to steer and control our skiing. After a couple hours we both decided we were done for the day. The combination of the declining conditions and our tired muscles convinced us to "end on a good note" rather than push ourselves too far. Most people appeared to feel the same way since Buttermilk was just about deserted all day, we had each slope almost completely to ourselves.

Mike and I headed back to the condo to clean up and relax while our friends continued skiing at Snowmass today. Once they got back that afternoon, we unanimously agreed to get food delivered to the condo instead of making dinner or going out (three of them had tackled Longshot, a 5.2 mile long ski slope that afternoon). We all noshed on pizzas then played poker until bedtime.

Overall a fantastic vacation. Aspen has some breathtaking views, especially while on the chair lifts. The skiing is a lot of fun and the weather is gorgeous. Strangely 35 degrees in Aspen (with the sun out) feels a lot warmer than in VA. Aspen is small enough that you can walk to just about anything around town. Unfortunately it is also not a cheap vacation spot (Course we already knew it was going to be expensive so we just enjoyed ourselves and really had a great time). The restaurants are expensive but the food is mediocre. The rentals, ski lift tickets, and lessons aren't cheap but with the type of skiing available in Aspen it shouldn't be a surprise. The lessons were great since the groups were so small and our instructor really did help each of us improve our skiing.

I'm hooked, I'm ready for more west coast skiing now. Course I'm eager for East Coast skiing too (preferably New Hampshire or Vermont).

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