Thursday, January 30, 2014

Winter Fun 2014

Well it's been a chilly week!  First we went on our now annual ski trip to Colorado (made more fun this year because we were able to visit with K in her new homestate and we had 2 additional friends travelling with us!).  We flew out last Thursday and got in pretty late.  We crashed at K's new house in Denver that night and stayed up pretty late talking and catching up - and boy can we all talk!  It cut down on sleep time, but was totally worth it.  We hit the road early the next morning and reached Winter Park around 8:30 am.
S decided to give skiing a try this year (he learned to snowboard last year) so he signed up for the day long ski lesson with our friends J and Iv and I headed out on my own to ski on the mountain solo.  I got in some great runs - 1 short just to make sure I still had my "ski legs" and then 3 wonderful long runs - and then took a lunch break to check into our condo and unpack our luggage from the car.  The condo was pretty incredible (you can see it here) and if we decide to ski at Winter Park again in the future we'd definitely look into renting the same place again.  After lunch I took another long run on the mountain and then met up with S, J, and Iv, who had finished their lesson, for a couple of short runs.  The combination of the late night flight, early morning wake up, long morning drive, and a full day of skiing left all of us completely exhausted.  So we packed up, hit up the grocery store, and went back to the condo for the rest of the night to eat, relax in the hot tub (soooooo good), S and I gave eachother our post-ski foot massages, and play some card games before we all passed out.

The next morning we slept in a bit and then all caught the bus back to the mountain.  To be honest, it wasn't a far trip, our condo was at the base of the mountain in the "old town" area and the bus ride took all of 3 minutes and it was very convenient not to have to worry about parking.  Iv and J had gotten their fill of skiing the day before, so they broke off and did some snowshoeing.  We strapped ourselves into our boots and hit the slopes for day 2 of skiing.  I took S on some of my less challenging but still pretty long runs during the morning.  We made 2 short and 2 long runs (S did great!) before we stopped for lunch.  In the afternoon we did 2 more runs and then called it a day - our knees and feet couldn't take anymore!  After another dip into the hot tub and some foot massages we showered up and headed into the town of Winter Park for some dinner and drinks at The Library, a local brewpub.  It was also the weekend of Mary Jane's Birthday, so we got to see some fireworks too!  K had driven into the mountains to join us for the night, so we all had some fantastic conversation with our food.  We took it back to the condo for more hot toddies and drinks (everyone's new favorite is a Dr. Peppermint)  plus some card games afterwards.  It was a fun night!

Since we had given ourselves a full 3 days on the mountain, we had extra time on day 3 to partake in some other snow sports we hadn't had time for last trip.  In the morning the 5 of us hit the road and drove into Rocky Mountain National Park for some snowmobiling!  It was my first time on as snowmobile and didn't really have a strong desire to drive, so since everyone else had 2 seaters anyway, I just seat hopped.  I started out with S, but after he spent a few minutes "testing the limits of the snowmobile" and then asked me to step off for a moment so he could try a jump, I decided to ride the rest of the path with K...

 Everyone except J got their snowmobile stuck in a deep snow drift at least once (in the fourth picture above, S and J are digging S's vehicle out of a snowy hillside) and dare devils Iv and S were all about the jumps (5th picture), big hills, and "off roading", plus we got lost on the trail, so we had our moments of excitement.  The views were incredible as well.  We spent about 2.5 hours on the snowmobiles and then S, K, and I headed back to the condo to relax and eat some warm soup while adventurous and energy-filled Iv and J did some hiking in the Rocky Mountain National Park.  K left to head home before it got dark and after packing our stuff, the rest of us headed out to do some nighttime snow tubing.
On Monday morning we woke up to a winter wonderland covered in a fresh coat of thick white powder.  It was SO tempting to stay and ski in the fresh snow, but we had an afternoon flight and instead had to drive through the curvy, snowy roads, so we headed out semi-early to make sure we would have time for lunch in Denver with K before we had to be at the airport.  We over-ordered some delicious Chinese food (my first time eating Vietnamese egg rolls - I'm hooked), gave K good bye hugs, and then caught our fight back to Houston.

We returned to Houston to weather that was colder than Denver had been!  We'd been skiing in gorgeous, sunny 37 degrees and on Tuesday Houston was a brutal 32 degrees with rain/snow/sleet.  Due to the possibility of ice on the roads (and since this is the South...) and the over 300 accidents on the road the previous Thursday/Friday when the same potential road conditions existed, most Houston area schools as well as many companies (including Johnson Space Center) closed down for the day.  I still had work, but I was allowed to work from home, so I brought my laptop home and tied into my daily telecons from the comfort of my couch (the kitties were THRILLED).  That evening after the ice threats had cleared we drove over to S's house where we found little icicles hanging from the roof - a rarity in Houston, so we got a kick out of it.  As a Midwesterner, watching Southerners in snowy/icy conditions kind of cracks me up.  In typical Houston fashion, though, we're warming up again already and anticipate a high in the mid 70's by tomorrow - amazing...

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