I am already completely sold on summer in Colorado, obviously, but I am currently less of a fan of Colorado in the winter. I associate winter in Colorado with cold and muddy trail runs and snow until May. Last year I couldn’t safely put away my winter clothes until June, and I clearly remember a snow storm in May. Summer brought beautiful weather for trail running, hiking, white water rafting and BBQs in Washington Park.
However I realize that I have not given winter a fair chance. Last year I only went skiing/snowboarding four times, and before that I had never been downhill skiing period. I know it’s hard to believe that every kid in Colorado does not learn to ski at age three but it’s true. And honestly I don’t blame my parents at all. They were both originally from the Midwest and had absolutely no experience with downhill skiing. Trying to learn to ski while lugging three kids around a mountain does not sound appealing to me either. Not to mention the fact that I have two brothers and skiing can be an expensive undertaking. Since my parents had never skied they had no way of knowing if it was going to be fun for them and worth the investment. It was never a huge deal growing up either, and I only remember having one childhood friend who was an avid skier.
Although my family never skied, we did many other outdoor activities, and I am grateful that I had a love of mountains and the outdoors instilled in me at a young age. One of my favorite family photos is from one month after I was born when my parents decided it would be an excellent idea to take a newborn child to Leadville, Colorado at an elevation of 10,000 feet. Apparently I got sick and my family had to leave early, but I like to think that the mountains and I have been friends ever since then. At the very minimum, my family has at least taken up cross country skiing in recent years. A few Christmases ago we went to Yellowstone National Park and basically spent three days cross country skiing around, and when I studied abroad in Argentina my mom and I went cross country skiing in Tierra del Fuego in the southern part of the country.
This year, I decided that it was time to finally give winter and skiing a real chance. A group of my friends in Colorado all have season passes so I went ahead and got one too. It was a fairly last minute decision, and I actually bought my season pass on the very last day that they were sold. Since I was in Atlanta at the time, I had to get the Epic pass which does give me unlimited days at Vail and Beaver Creek but was a little pricier. Still, the passes are really the only way to go. Lift tickets are so expensive these days!
Yesterday I went with three of my friends to go skiing for my first time all season. I had maybe been going to go a few weeks ago with my brother, but it ended up not working out timing wise. I chose to start with skiing this year because I never really snowboarded well last season. I have heard that you have to go snowboarding five or six times as a beginner before it starts to click, and I only went twice. Needless to say, my snowboarding skill level mainly involves me falling down constantly. I figured I had a better shot at skiing.
My friends and I were originally going to head to Vail but because of traffic we decided to just go to Breckenridge instead. I was nervous about my first run down a green, and I cut wide corners and slowly zig-zagged down the mountain. After a few runs down the greens, I gained confidence and started approaching the runs a little more aggressively. Eventually my friends, who were being very nice about sticking with me for a few runs at Peak 8, left for Peak 7, and I went with them. The verdict? I only fell a few times all day long, and by the end of the day, I was cruising down the blues pretty well.
Peak 7 lifts at Breck
I might still give snowboarding a few more chances, but right now it is looking like skiing is going to be the winning ticket for me. It just comes so much more naturally to me. And I think it’s safe to say that I will soon be a fan of winter in Colorado. My friends and I are renting a condo in Frisco for New Year’s Eve, and we are going to go skiing for a few days before classes start. Once classes start, I look forward to being a weekend ski bum!