Steamboat – Feb 2018

Self-awareness, and its sinister sister self-esteem, had no place on the ski slopes for me this past weekend.

I flew into Steamboat Springs, CO for a long weekend skiing tryst of sorts with old North Adams State College friends, one who moved out to Steamboat after college and never left, and one who I traveled cross-country and lived in Denver as ski bums a hundred years ago.

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David Trainor, Steve Colby and moi

To give some perspective, I had to look up old pictures to see when I had last skied. Turns out we went to Sugar Mountain back in 2006 for a family ski weekend. Other than that day, it has been probably 25-30 years since I had the boards on. Yikes.

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Friend Erin, Michela and Drew – 2006

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Either Jean-Claude Killy or me – can’t remember

We came this past weekend to Steamboat for skiing on some of the best runs the western slope has to offer.   Steamboat has a rich tradition of Olympian athletes and because of certain dry and cold characteristics; Steamboat can have some fine champagne powder. The mountain had almost two feet of new snow just before I arrived. And if you can’t find powder, look for corduroy! Conditions were primo.

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Cordoroy

I can attest that spending a long weekend skiing at elevation, after decades not skiing, is not a particularly good formula. Think gasping for air and leg cramps. With a base elevation of 6,900 feet and a summit elevation around 10,500 feet, if you are not accustomed to these elevations (that was me) or if you are out of shape (yes, that was me also) you need to get acclimated. It was humbling, beautiful, and exhilarating – all at the same time.

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Apparently the amount of snow had caused certain wildlife to escape the deep snow and work their way towards more favorable conditions in town. Or maybe it was just to get some cash.

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One of the really nice things about Steamboat is it is a very low-key town.

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Patiently waiting

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Snow pile pulling colors off of the surroundings

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If you need some respite, you can always spend time at the Old Town Hot Springs, or if you didn’t get enough skiing in during the day, you can ski at night.

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A peak into the hot springs

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Or you can chill. I thought these Adirondack chairs looked kind of nouveau grooveau, until I made the mistake of sitting in one. Oh yeah.

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Yes, those Reichle ski boots are about 35 years old

Or I suppose you could go ice fishing. Did not. Just sayin’. But you could.

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Stagecoach Reservoir on our way to Colby’s house – the “Ponderosa”

This was to be a classic weekend with close friends and some family members.

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And skiing with Drew, who is now living and working nearby in Denver – priceless.

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And if you ski, then après ski. We did somehow make time to visit the T Bar. Pretty cool!  Sad that the Tugboat is closed, as that was our go-to place years back. Life changes.

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Best of all was spending time with Drew and the peeps. The Colby’s live here of course and hosted us so graciously, and the Trainor clan descends to make this an almost annual event.

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But if you fly into and out of a ski town, you have to expect cold weather and snow.

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Possible light snow?  Yeah…

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Looking out towards the runway – except nothing to see

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Something about seeing a shovel at a place the size of an airport seems a bit out of perspective

This big jet, and our small regional jet were the only flights to depart Steamboat once it started snowing. You can see them de-icing the plane, and you can see our plane being de-iced just prior to takeoff. They were expecting a foot of snow, and I am sure the airport received at least that much.

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Pretty sure you don’t want to be the guy in the bucket doing the de-icing

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Let’s keep things in perspective. No one gives a rat’s ass if you are flying out of Steamboat trying to get to Palm Springs and you are delayed.  Except of course my bride.

Will it take me another 20+ years to get back on the boards? Who knows. But what an awesome weekend!

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