Aspen Times Weekly: The Colorado Collective
Reading this week’s cover story about The Mountain Collective got me feeling nostalgic for last ski season and what my son and I dubbed “Zach and Jeanne’s Excellent Ski Adventure.”
The premise was simple enough: Zach is a hockey player, and as such, we don’t get as many days on the hill as either of us would like. We wanted to change that.
So, when the hockey schedule was released and included weekends of play in resort towns across the state, we set a goal — take an extra day (as often as possible) to SKI!. Armed with the free — yes, free – Colorado Ski Country fifth-grade ski pass, we plotted our adventure.
For example, an early-season trip to Steamboat and Craig turned into a three-day weekend that started with a night at the Steamboat Grand and a day on the slopes. The sky was gray, and our legs were shaky for not having really skied yet, but we managed to find the parks and a few good groomers — and a killer hot tub at the end to get us (and by this, I mean Zach) ready for hockey the next day.
Sadly, our next planned adventure — to Crested Butte — was thwarted by a bout with the flu, but we carried on.
While in Vail, we had to skip a day on that big hill in favor of neighboring Copper Mountain (Vail Resorts is not a part of Colorado Ski Country so the kid pass isn’t valid on Vail or Beaver Creek). It was a good call; so good, in fact, we ended up spending two days on the hill there … the terrain parks are perfect for perfecting 360s, the tubing hill is a great diversion and a Woodward Barn session is sure to get you in ski shape.
Next up — and so far off my radar I would never have thought to strap on my skis there if it weren’t for a few hours of downtime before an afternoon of hockey — was Durango Mountain Resort in the southern-most reaches of the state. The weather was appropriately warm, and the skiing was similarly spring-like. And with time for just two laps, I’m not sure I got a real feel for the mountain. But I can tell you this: I’d go back. Zach, I know, would love the steep rollers (he had to pass on skiing this mountain because of warm-ups, so a fellow hockey mom joined me on the adventure).
The last stops on our excellent ski adventure were not exactly hockey-related, but our mission was set and spring break was before us.
In just three days, Zach and I managed to hit four mountains: Copper (again, and still a favorite), Breckenridge, A-Basin (our new favorite) and Keystone. And how, you ask, did we ski four mountains in three days? Well, Keystone is open for night skiing. And while I was perfectly content with my ski boots off and a beer in my hand at the lodge, Zach couldn’t let the opportunity pass: “Come on, Mom … YOLO!” (YOLO, to the uninitiated, stands for “You Only Live Once.”) And thus, the beer was finished and the ski boots were put back on and we were on the gondola just as the sun set over the peaks around us. Still, I wasn’t convinced — until fireworks began to explode overhead. Yes, YOLO — and Zach and Jeanne’s Excellent Ski Adventure was a great way to embrace and celebrate that idea.
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