On the Hill: Mission accomplished | AspenTimes.com

On the Hill: Mission accomplished

Catherine Lutz

Here in Colorado, it’s common for people to have obsessive goals attached to their feats of athleticism. Like climbing all Colorado’s fourteeners in one month, at night, solo, using nongasoline-powered vehicles to get to each one, to raise awareness for the endangered whatchamajiggy. One of those super athletic goals I’ll never undertake.I’m proud to say, however, that I recently completed my first obsessive athletic goal: skiing one day every month for one year. Unless it’s connected to some worthy cause, I don’t recommend it.It started out auspiciously enough. Last fall, I had pretty good powder days at Montezuma in September and October, and the pass in early November. Then there was the amazing, never-ending ski season. May and June brought good snow at Snowbird/Alta, A-Basin and on the pass. July was tricky – in the middle of that heat wave, conditions at Montezuma were variable, ugly in spots, but the experience was novel. Last Wednesday, Aug. 31, my boyfriend and I headed up to Montezuma again – our goal was to ski August and September in one shot, by skiing before and after midnight. (Some say we cheated, but at least we nailed the 12-month goal.)The night was breathtaking – the sky totally ablaze with stars, the air comfortable but not too cold, and our ski-in, ski-out accommodations the perfect venue to watch a spectacular sunrise the next morning.My boyfriend described the hike up and the ski down as “challenging.” That’s a gross understatement – it sucked. We stumbled across the boulder field, lit by our headlamps, like drunken soldiers. The snowfield was a frozen, seemingly vertical obstacle littered with rocks. We reached the top of the first pitch without falling, clicked in right before midnight, then took a half-hour to ski down. I’d never been so uncertain on a pair of skis: negotiating the frozen suncups, trying in vain to find a place to turn, skis flopping around erratically as I concentrated on not falling (which would have resulted in a death slide toward the boulder field below).Back at base camp, we toasted our accomplishment with a City Market roast chicken and red wine. Phew, we’d done it. Thank God that’s over.

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