Wednesday, December 17, 2008


So I lasted on skis for a day and a half.  At that point, Erica and I were really skiing well on the top of the mountain blues.  There was a ton of powder from overnight Monday, so that made it more strenuous.  I was wearing out, though.  My shins felt like they were being stood upon by a 300 pound football player.  We made it down to the base, and I promptly turned in the skis.  I don't know if it's an improper fit, bad technique, or just my gimpy anatomy, but ski boots are hell. 

Wisest decision of the trip: trade for a snowboard.  Beginning anew isn't easy, but it was so much more fun.  I took yesterday afternoon off, then spent some time wandering around the base area.  Which was lucky because I found the best restaurant.  It is Cafe Diva; we both thought it was the best meal we have ever eaten.  It's fun when everything comes together and congeals into a perfect evening.

Today was a full day of school for me.  It was so much fun!  I didn't get as frustrated as I thought I would.  I feel like I did learn the basics and could progress to the next level if, miraculously, we awoke to 14 feet of snow and couldn't leave tomorrow.   I'm grateful there were no video cameras.

After school and during the early evening, I drank 32 ounces of Gatorade, 8 ounces of water, and 16 ounces of milk.  I think it was a dehydrated day.  I was shedding layers throughout my little school time.  Learning is hard work!

We stayed in tonight so that we could rest and pack.  Erica tore up her hip on a fall due to nasty patch of ice.  She is hobbling around.  I am going to get her a little bell to ring.  Injury will make for a fun travel day!  

All in all, a successful trip despite a few disasters.  We are missing the boy and our little home life.  I'm sure he is having a blast, but it's time to hug our little man!

Monday, December 15, 2008


We are on our ski vacation, which means we're away from Ross for four nights!  Erica has called to check several times, the explanation for which (we all know) goes way beyond her shared genetics to include her and my personalities.  

So this is one of the most gorgeous places in the world, and I have taken a total of zero pictures.  It's also the land of single digits, ergo my refusal to remove gloves unless E's life depended on it.  I can fold and unfold a trail map with my gloves on.  I don't think I can manage the little shutter release on her tiny camera.  And I would most likely drop said camera, as I have done the ski poles, ChapStick, and trail map.  

The two of us are kind of a comedy of errors.  [Interruption - the Wheel of Fortune answer just came across as "beginner and intermediate ski slopes."]  With these long sticks firmly attached to our feet, which themselves are made completely immobile with bindings, I mean ski boots, it is nearly impossible to ski the long one-degree uphill grade that comprises the lift line.  Seriously, when very few people are skiing, can't they just make the line chutes obsolete?  Those of us who are weak and novice have a hard time cross country skiing to the start of the non-existent line.  E has fallen in such situations several times.

Take a step back: we have already spilled a full Starbucks coffee at the Little Rock airport, lost and next-day found a credit card, and lost my skis.  How do you lose skis?  Well, we're riding up the gondola this morning when I look out at the skis in the little holder.  There are two professional pairs for the guys who are serious and wearing helmets, there's a pair that is labeled "E Braswell," and there's a pair that looks just like mine labeled "JT."  So we ride the gondola back down and walk over to the scene of the crime.  I replace JT's skis, but mine are long gone.  They are EXACTLY the same skis and poles.  We probably even wear the same shoe size, because this person didn't return these after a couple of hours of us watching for them.  So we go to the rental place and they tell me to walk back down to pick up JT's which can be refitted for my boots.  Each step in this process equals 1-2 flights of stairs in ski boots.

So the good stuff.  We are staying at the Steamboat Grand, which is appropriately named.  It is at the base of the mountain and super close to the lifts.  Our room is two rooms in one: a large king hotel room with gas logs and awesome bathroom, and a big sitting room with gas logs, a full kitchen, couches, window seats, huge dining room table, and its own full bath.  Two flat screens.  I mean, the Duggars couldn't stay here, but a lot of Frances could.  I don't know how I made the mistake of booking this place!  I am way too cheap.  

We had a routine flight to Denver, where we then sat on the concrete for almost 2 hours.  But we made the connection to Hayden/Steamboat airport and had a quick flight to the mountain.  Our shuttle took about 30 minutes.  We walked around a little last night and ate at the Gondola Pub and Grille, but it was 0 degrees and dark.  Fairly early night.

Today, we had breakfast in the lodge (included, for those of your keeping track of my travel agent skills).  We came up to the room and put 7 layers on.  Okay, not quite, but a lot.  We started with a couple of green runs - we got off the lift at a half-way point that says "BEGINNERS - EXIT."  That was smart as it turned out.  Anyway, after that we rode the gondola and did some longer greens.  The snow is awesome, and this mountain is gorgeous.  I haven't been anywhere like this.  Very spread out, wide runs, but tons of trees.  I think it was then that we took a break and then chose the wrong skis.  That realization led to lunch.  The next time, we rode the gondola again but then kept catching lifts up higher and higher on the way down the runs.  We ended up at the top of the mountain - 10,384 feet at Sunshine Peak.  From there, we got to experience some perfectly rolling blues with fresh powder.  We went to the top twice, and then it took two more lifts and series of runs to get to the front side of the mountain and home.  Whew.  

One more debacle - I busted on a shortcut walkway to the grocery store.  Oh well, we were able to make dinner and relax in our condo.  Tomorrow is more skiing and pick a restaurant day.  We are sore.