Monday, March 30, 2015

Snowshoeing Weekend in the Mountains

Living in Phoenix, there are a lot of things that I take for granted. January motorcycle rides, January pool parties, January hikes in the mountains…..okay, basically doing ANYTHING outside during the winter.  Of course, on the flipside, there are lots of things that I don't realize that I miss until I am reminded of them. Case in point: Snow.  I can't remember the last time I saw snow.  (My son likes snowcones? Do those count?) I know that it was well over 12 months ago, probably closer to 18 months. So, when the opportunity presented itself to hang in the mountains of Colorado for a weekend, I jumped at the opportunity faster than….well…my son when I tell him that he can have a snowcone.

One thing to note, this trip was actually the weekend before last.  I've been so busy catching up from work after being in the mountains that I haven't had a chance to blog about it. :( But, since I figure that me seeing snow is sort of like a solar eclipse, it is worth the wait.  Also, similar to a solar eclipse, if you stare at some of the pictures of me for too long, you'll go blind.  You should probably wear a welding mask while you read this, just in case.

The purpose of the trip was actually twofold.  First, to hang with Laura and see her new house. Second, to play in the mountains like the sexy ski snowshoe bunny I know that I can be.  So, when I got there the first thing that we did was go check out the house.  Laura posted about it, but obviously I needed to go through it with my HGTV honed decorating eye and suggest all SORTS of necessary improvements.  Things like a ball pit room and a (water?) slide from the loft to the living room. Obviously, I will not be visiting again until these necessary improvements have been made. I'm not a barbarian.

The back stretching teeter at Laura's new house. 
Good for stretching your back and/or pretending like you're a vampire.
Team Edward for life.  KIDDING, that warewolf dude's muscles can tear my shirt off ANY day.

With my back all stretched out and my thirst for blood stronger than ever, we headed to the mountains. Because my stupid leg / butt is still stupid hurt and I can't stupid run I decided not to attempt skiing for the first time since High School (15 years **sobs**) and planned to snowshoe instead.  My physical therapist used to be really into shoe shoeing and gave me the green light to go as hard and as fast as I wanted to.  And I quote, "You're not going to hurt it anymore than it already is".  Not exactly the vote of confidence that I was looking for, but approval is approval.

Aspens for days

We rented a condo with a big group of 10 other people - rather, 10 strangers that I had never met before.  As I am sure that it is no shock to anyone reading this, I can pretty much strike up a conversation with anyone and proceeded to do that for most of the weekend in varying states of soberness.  A lot of the people who were there were currently/previously traveling consultants which made for lots of fun trips down memory lane. Having left almost exactly a year ago, I entertained them with stories of "doing errands mid week" and "paying money for flights vs using points". 

Hydrating with whiskey is VERY important when you're at altitude

Don't worry, I also added "cups with animal horns" on Laura's "new house must buy" list

The condo we rented had amazing views and was ski-in ski-out if you're into that sort of thing.  Most importantly it had an amazing hot tub and a well stocked fridge because I am most definitely into THOSE types of things.

Looking out on Vail at first light

Most of my weekend was spent snowshoeing all over the mountain with various groups of people.  There are predesignated snowshoe trails, but at least from what I could tell you could essentially walk on any ski run so long as you didn't get hit by a skier.  (Of course, I'm sure I was breaking some sort of random rule, but oh well.) Because I am a tight ass I didn't pay for a lift ticket, so I was on my own to walk where I wanted to go.  Which, I thought, was sort of the purpose of snowshoeing in the first place, so I was okay with it.

Jeans, running shoes, and borrowed (girl) snowshoes. I'm practically a professional ski bunny.

I honestly didn't quite know what to expect from it, but here are a few first thoughts after my first time out:
  • Turns out, unlike what I was imagining, snowshoes now aren't those massive wicker basket things! In other news, gas is no longer 20 cents per gallon and we won WWII! Hooray! Today, they are mostly very light metal and plastic with sharp teeth on the bottom
  • Speaking of those sharp "teeth" on the bottom, they enable you to go anywhere that your feet will take you!!  We went straight up the side of steep blue square ski runs and even went bushwacking through the forest between runs
  • Just like picking a fight with a 4 year old, going downhill is something to be done with great caution. The snow was pretty bad while I was there and in the afternoon it was VERY hard to get traction in the 4" of slush.  That meant that I sort of skied down a few hills on very tired legs

This picture really does the incline ZERO justice

Snowshoeing is a freaking workout! It didn't help that it was sunny and 50 degrees in the middle of the day, but I was totally warm in a long sleeved tech tshirt and jeans. I tried to "run" a bit with them but mostly looked exactly like you would expect a person running with snowshoes to look (awkward like they have something stuck in their butt).  So, instead of speed, I mostly got the workout from going UP.

I assumed that I would be really sore as most of the incline had me on my toes bouncing up, but I was shockingly fine!  I will attribute that to either the altitude slowing me down, the biking building those muscles up, or the whiskey making me feel no pain. In all seriousness, I think it is the biking because I didn't feel limited by the altitude at all.  So, yay biking!

Lunch on the mountain ($26 for a turkey sandwich.... uuufff)

Soaking in all of the snow
(through VERY squinted eyes)

Evenings were filled with lots of laughs, plenty of stories, and who am I kidding I fell alseep at 9:30am one of the nights. Par-tay. The best part about being in a vacation area is that the little villages at the bottom of the mountain are essentially chock full of restaurants.  Fortunately, these places do NOT charge $26 for a turkey was maybe like $20. :)

Sweaters, Colorado beer, unfinished wood beams, and rocks on the wall
We're straight out of a Colorado tourism brochure

But, before I knew it, it was 3:30am on Monday and my alarm was going off telling me it was time to head to the airport to go back to Phoenix. Between all of the consultant talk over the weekend and the early Monday flight, I had a lot of dejavu from my own consulting days.  I haven't traveled regularly for work for 2 years or so, but I really fell back into a groove. Coffee and a yogurt, emails on my phone, breezing through security while bleary eyed from too little sleep.... all reminded me of a life that I lived for a pretty solid 10 years. Old habits die hard, I suppose.  I hesitate to say that I miss it (because I DO NOT) but something about it was certainly comfortable.

Mmmmmm, airport coffee

The trip was really really fun.  Flagstaff, AZ is only 2 hours north and has very similar conditions to where I was so I need to plan to get up there sooner rather than later. Or, I could just head back to Colorado and see if me being on skies is as hilarious as I assume that it would be. It would probably be like something out of America's Funniest Home Videos where the guy tries to split an Aspen Tree with his crotch. If nothing else, I'll have to head up and make a few more tourism pics. 

Home sweet home.... to 65 degrees at 6:30am. Cripes.

6 comments: said...

I would be fine never seeing snow again...I wish my records showed snow free for 12+ months LOL. That being said, it sounds like you had a great time.

My favorite airport coffee is actually Peets (which Phoenix has!)

Running Through Phoenix said...

One friggin photo of 50/25's house?? Are you going to ask me what I think about decorating?

Pam @ said...

What part of Colorado were you in? I'm in Colorado Springs right now visiting some family. I'm LOVING it here!

Jamoosh said...


First: too much snow, not enough breweries. It's freakin' Colorado!

Second: Seems to be a it of Adam and Laura posts, visits and selfies taking place. I'm not saying, but I am saying...

All I can offer you is humidity and beer...

Sue's Ramblings said...

Maybe I should try snowshoe-ing - seems like a great workout!

Elaine said...

I'm with Jamoosh. Just sayin'.