Day 13 Thur Jan 4. Vail 4900m vertical (51400 total)

I reckon I shoud have got seniors rates for everything today, cos I sure had a few seniors moments.

Trevor had already decided yesterday that today was a rest day for him and one look at the back bowls decided my fate for the day, so I was out the door just a little after 7 ready to head off.  Then I was back a minute later cos I forgot both my neck warmers.  Then I was back again 10 minutes later when I’d gotten one block down the road and realised I’d forgotten my wallet.  Grabbed the obligatory coffee (very good)at the Bluebird and was off.  Then 30 minutes  up the highway I had a major panic attack and nearly drove off the road when I thought I’d left my skis behind – which of course I hadn’t. Sigh.

Was below 0F as I headed out onto the I-70 and bottomed out at about 10 below when I emerged from the canyon.  Brilliant sunny morning with everything looking like it was coated in icing sugar.  Full speed drive today and plenty of spots in the free parking when I arrived.  Timed it nicely and just got boots on and hobbled down to the bus stop as one pulled up – not a morning to be standing around outside unless absolutely necessary.  Had now warmed up to about 2 below and today I’d even gone for the thick long johns, and repeated the two layers of down.

Turned out to be a stunner of a morning – definitely cold but very little wind and actually felt warm on the runs – though definitely not on the chairs.  Did one warm up run off Wildwood then it was straight over the back and into China Bowl.  With full visibility and some nice fresh windblown, the skiing was sensational. This is truly an enormous area – China Bowl is just one of five and you could do run after run and never repeat yourself.  Did one run down the face and one through the trees then took an early elevenses.  On the third run down found myself in the rare case of actually wishing it was a bit steeper.  Kept on going to Blue Sky and tried a rerun of In The Wuides.  Still great skiing but not quite as good as yesterday.  Headed over to Pete’s Express and did pretty much groomer all the way back to the bottom.

Back up Orient Express which stopped for about 5 minutes when I was half way up.  If that had happened yesterday I reckon they would have had to chisel us off the lift – it was bad enough today and conditions were MUCH more benign..  Took the traverse around the top to find a long and very slow poma up to the top of the divide between Siberia and Mongolia Bowl.  Once on top there headed off down Bolshoi Ballroom with only two other people on a huge expanse of snow.  Best run of the day – a bit steeper than China Bowl so could keep a bit more momentum and much less tracked.  Had to pick my way down through some treesand veered off down into Inner Mongolia Bowl before finally dropping into Silk Road – a LONG cat track that acts as a collector for the outer bowls.

Would have liked to do it again but the next little weather system was moving in, the light was a little flat and so was I.  So back to the front side and the LONG run back to base.  Did I mention that this place is BIG?  The front side is just another ski area – nothing wrong with it but nothing special either.  But out the back with fresh snow like this is very special – I could send a LOT of time here.

Was aiming to be back in time for the 2.30 bus but in my normal spirit of timeliness I was a few minutes late, so had another little wander around the village and dropped in at Loaded Joes – a little downstairs coffee place I had noticed on the way in for a damn fine coffee.  Back at the car the temps had soared into the low 20s (F) and you could see the clouds staring to build up down valley.

Staying in Glenwood means doing a fair bit of driving – whether to the Aspen areas or Beaver Creek / Vail – but the driving is pretty spectacular and I reckon it’s worth it.  It’s going to be tough to leave here tomorrow.

Oh, and by the way – it’s snowing again.

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2 Responses to Day 13 Thur Jan 4. Vail 4900m vertical (51400 total)

  1. Dou says:

    Thx Mick. Sensational shots of Vail – lots of spots I remember.

  2. Anne says:

    I’ll reiterate the comment I thought I’d made a few days ago … ‘The Adventures of Mick and T.J.’ make very entertaining reading (especially the bits where senility is setting in)

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