>> Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Well folks, I've made it back. And in one piece I might add. Although I haven't exactly mastered the art of skiing, I've at least made a dent in it. The trip pretty much went as follows:
J & I landed in Denver on Thursday afternoon where we discover that CO is actually an hour behind TX. We thought we weren't changing time zones. We left San Antonio in 75+ degree weather and landed in about 70ish weather. Nice! Then, we had to wait for my brother-in-law, Brandon, and his 5 friends to arrive from Houston for about 2 hours. We then had to pick up our two rental cars, pack up our stuff and make the drive to Silverthorne. On our way through the mountain, we had to stop and take in the view. And holy crap, it was friggin' cold! I was so glad that I brought the ski coat on the plane trip. You'll have to excuse the post, cone and dirty snow. I wasn't getting any closer to that edge than I had to.
Interestingly enough, we turned around to face this sign.
This made us wonder if we should have immediately gotten back in our vehicles and sped off. But, because we're such daredevils, we stayed. To the right of this sign, we found out that we were directly on the continental divide. Now that's kinda cool, huh? Here's me, Brandon & Jason hamming it up.
Notice the elevation sign. At this point, I did have a little trouble breathing. I was definitely tired very quickly. After we were finished playing tourist, we got back in the car and kept on driving to Silverthorne. As we hauled our bags up 3 flights of stairs, the elevation hit even further. Everyone was panting and getting a little bit of altitude sickness. I felt very light-headed for most of the night. Apparently, drinking water and keeping yourself well-hydrated alleviates the symptoms, so I was gulping water like a camel that had been in the Sahara for 3 months with no water.
After we cooled down from our 3 flight walk-up, we went to pick up our rentals and get something to eat. Trying on ski boots was interesting. For those who have never skied, let me tell you this: ski boots are heavy. They don't allow your ankles to move so they force you walk heel to toe in an exaggerated way. They aren't very comfortable (or pretty!), so I'm wondering how long I'll last on these things. Anyway, those of us that needed skis got fitted and then we went in search for food. For some reason, we decided to eat Chinese food. Now, I will tell you that the food we ate was actually really good. Unfortunately for a few of us (myself included), the Chinese food didn't agree and some of us became sick overnight. So, memo to anyone traveling to CO: Stay away from Chinese food!
The next morning, we headed straight for Copper Mountain. Everyone except me was an experience skier, so with the exception of Jason, they all immediately headed up the ski lifts. Jason decided to try and teach me to ski himself on a tiny bunny slope. I popped on the skis with ease, which impressed J. Moving was a different story. On flat land, skiing is not fun. I repeat, skiing is not fun on flat land. You have to push yourself forward in order to move just a tiny bit. It's a lot harder than it would seem. I learned the two basic principles in skiing: French Fry & Pizza. (Food always makes sense!)
French fry is when your skis are pointed straight forward, just like a french fry. This position makes you move forward when you push (or fall). Pizza is when you touch the front end or back end of your skis so that it makes a triangle shape. This helps you to stop moving or stay in place if you're on a slope. The stopping part is the hardest part of skiing. Going is easy, stopping is a little more difficult.
The next part of skiing was trying to get onto a bunny slope. We found a small slope (and by small, I mean about 20 feet) and slowly pushed ourselves toward it. I got myself onto the "ski lift" which was actually more of a moving sidewalk. There were parents with 2- and 3-year-olds on this bunny slope that were already doing better than me. I could move quickly, but the stopping scared the hell out of me. I was so afraid that I wouldn't be able to stop before I fell over a cliff or ran straight into a wall. We spent about 1/2 the day here. We took a break for lunch, then headed to a real ski lift.
Thank goodness that the ski lifts were pretty empty; otherwise, I would've been pretty freaked out. Jason talked me through the process of getting on and I made it! The view from the lift was amazing! Jason wouldn't let me get my camera out to take pictures because he was afraid that one of us would drop the camera. The funniest thing about the ski lift is the trees that line it. As we're slowly moving up, I start to notice that there are beads in the trees. I even see a face mask, several pairs of panties/thongs and a few bras (one that was HUGE). I didn't get the point of this practice, but it was pretty funny. As we neared the end of the lift, I started to get nervous about getting off. Jason assured me that they would slow/stop the lift if I needed them to, but that it wasn't too hard. He told me to hold the poles in one hand while pushing myself up with the other. Then, the lift would just kind of push me forward. I kept thinking to myself, "I can do this!"
And so our time came. I lifted my skis, held my poles, but forgot to push myself up with the other hand. I tried to stand up, but ski boots make that pretty hard. I thought I was about to fall over and the lift would have to be stopped for my stupidity. I was wrong. I got off the lift, moved forward, but in a crouched position. I looked like I was trying to pee while skiing. But the point is that they didn't have to stop the lift! I did this for about 10 feet before I fell over. I did have to get a good laugh at this one. Then, I had to practice getting up. This is also harder than it looked. But, I made it up slowly. So, now was the beginning of my ski travel.
We pushed ourselves toward the first ski slope and I looked in horror. The first slope was way steeper than that tiny little bunny slope I practiced on! This is what I saw (um.....it looked much steeper in person.....really, it did.....)
I immediately put my skis in the "pizza" position and tried to go down slowly. Pizza also works to ski slowly, but it is pretty rough on the knees. So can you guess what happened? That's right, I fell over! And I was so irritated. So, I somehow make myself get back up, and try it again. I fall just a few more feet down the road. I'm even more irritated. I get up again and get a little bit further before I fall AGAIN. So you can guess by now, I'm really frustrated. And the only way down is to either:
A) Ski down the mountain.
B) Break something so that I'm carried down the mountain.
Even though B would've been easier, it would've probably been more painful than falling, so I chose A. At this point, Jason is frustrated with me, too, because I'm just irritated with myself. He knew I would get pissed since I'm such a perfectionist. I usually pick up things quickly, and when I don't, I get highly irritated. But, I got back on my skis and slowly moved forward. I think I stopped about every 10 or 15 feet for quite a while. It was a very slow process. Each time I spotted a skier, and especially a boarder, I stopped to let them pass. I was so scared I would crash into them. Probably the most irritating thing was that there were tiny kids skiing on their own with no help. And here I am, at 30 years old, skiing 10 feet at a time, pizza-style. I fell several more times, but I did start skiing farther and farther each time. Here's proof that I could actually stand in my skis. Try not to get too jealous. Not everyone can make orange goggles look this hot. Notice my perfect pizza stance.
Somehow, after lots of slow trial and error, I made it down the mountain. In one piece I might add. I fell less and less as we moved down, and I almost started to have fun. Jason & I estimated that it took us 2 1/2 to 3 hours to get down this run. Just to compare, if you're a good skier and do this continuously, you can make it down in about 15 minutes. But I'm not a good skier, so we made it up the mountain once. By the time we made it down, I was breathing hard (still not adjusted to the altitude) so we took a break and waited for the others. We knew there was no way that we could get up there and make it back down before our meeting time. We met at our place and went back to the condo to relax for the night.