Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Two Mile High Pixie

Over the New Year's weekend, Guy and I stayed in a condo in Keystone (in the mountains) with a few friends and friends of friends for some ski time.  Thursday we were at Keystone, and then Friday and Saturday we were at Beaver Creek.  Beaver Creek is one or two exits past Vail, and it's shi-shi for sure. You can only drive your car into Beaver Creek if you're staying there.  Whether you own or are renting, it's the priciest ski resort along I-70.  However, because it's a little past Vail, which is 20-30 minutes past Keystone, A-Basin, and Breckenridge, it's also often not as crowded.  And though the housing is way more expensive, the lift tickets are only a bit more expensive that at those three resorts I mentioned, plus with the purchase of a Vail or Beaver Creek lift ticket you can still do night skiing at Keystone.  So, we went to BC on Friday.

When I moved to Colorado from Georgia, everyone asked if I skied.  My response was something like, "Did you not hear the part about me being from Georgia?  No, I don't ski!  When it snows, I go to the grocery store and get bread and milk and then stay home!"  I have many reasons for not skiing or snowboarding, but the main reason is that it just doesn't interest me.  Yes, it looks cool, and yes, I'm sure it's fun.  I'm still just not that enthralled.  Cross-country skiing, however, interested me, so that's what I do.  What this means is that when everyone else hits the slopes, I'm on a sparsely-populated golf course or series of hiking trails near the base or partway up a mountain.  Lift passes for skiing and boarding start at $50 for a buddy pass; my pass is usually around $15 for a whole day in quiet forests and uncrowded parking lot at the nordic skiing center.

However, the cross country park at Beaver Creek is at the top of one of the mountains.  Snowshoers and x-c skiiers have to take a lift up to the park, and our pass costs $24 for the whole day.  Still a good deal, though.  Because you get undisturbed views like this.

That last shot is at the highest point on the x-c course, which is at about 10,200 feet above sea level.  The lowest part of the course is at about 9,810.  Odd--I had been at about 800 feet above sea level in Georgia for the past week, and now here at am many times that high.  Here's how that last shot looked the next day when we went back to Beaver Creek during a storm that dropped about 9 inches total on the park.
Yowza.  It was probably in the teens, and the snow was blowing right into my face, but it was the best day on the slopes--and the cross-country course--by far.   The previous day made for some difficult x-c because the groomed trails were mostly ice.  This layer of soft, powdery snow on the groomed trails made it a hundred times easier to ski in my skinny little cross country skis.  

However, I hadn't done any x-c in about a year, so that plus the icy conditions made every muscle in my body hurt like hell the entire weekend, plus I wore the wrong socks one day and it gave me blisters on both ankles so bad that they bled by the end of Saturday.  And remember how I went from 800 feet above sea level to 10,200 in only a few days?  Yeah, I got altitude sickness.  On Friday and Saturday.  Bleh.  But it was still a great weekend.


St. Blogwen said...

O beautimous!!

The scenery with the snow, not the altitude sickness.

Ms. Theologian said...

It really looks super-gorgeous. I got awful blisters the last time I cross-country skiied too. Sort of dampens the experience!