Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Fresh (Tracks) in February

"What time should I expect you?"

"I'll be to you by 6 a.m."

"Do we get to stop for coffee?"

"I'll bring you coffee. And a muffin."

This is a conversation that can be heard around Denver the eve of a snow storm in Colorado. We must get to the mountain as early as possible to get first chair, fresh tracks. But my calculation, a 6 a.m. pick up was going to get us to Winter Park by 7:30. First chair isn't until 8:30. What in the world were we going to do for that hour that couldn't be better spent sleeping?

But, these are not the questions you ask when you refuse (thanks to your rear-wheeled drive Jeep - thanks, Vegas) to drive to the mountain on your own. No, instead, you better make sure your sleepy ass is up and ready. That coffee and muffin will totally be worth it.

Sure enough, we arrived to the mountain at 7:45 and entered the lodge where we sat, with all the other anxious skiers until 8:15 which is apparently - line up time.

The anticipation was like Christmas morning, I've realized how much I feed off of people's energy and when the clock turned 8:30 and the chairs started rolling - everyone in line cheered and there was even confetti thrown (thanks, Mardi Gras). The whole experience made me think that maybe I should make this whole first chair thing happen more often...

When we arrived to the top of Mary Jane, it was a giant white blanket of snow, just waiting for us to carve in to. This was day ten of the season for me and sadly, the first day that I had experienced powder. It's more work, for certain, but also very, very worth it. My confidence built in every turn and then we did it again and again and again.

Until I got too cold. Then I went in to warm up and enjoy a Bloody Mary. Because guess what, Winter Park/Mary Jane is my backyard. As is Copper. And Keystone. And Breck. And Vail. And if you want to go just a little further - even Steamboat. So if I get three hours of amazing fresh powder skiing in and can no longer feel my toes, I feel OK to call it a day because I'll be back out there this weekend.

See you on the slopes, Colorado.

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