Opening ski season with 12 consecutive days a feat for this 52-year-old

Early morning shadow selfie at Snowmass during the 10, make that 12, day challenge to open the 2019-20 season.
David Krause / The Aspen Times

For the past few months I’ve been recovering from major shoulder surgery, and while couch surfing I got a good feel for all these 10-day challenges floating around on the interweb.

I didn’t want to gain weight while being sedentary for a couple of months so I got to poking around for some ideas. The 10-day beach body workout, JLo’s 10-day challenge diet, 10-day green smoothie cleanse, 10 days without alcohol. All those things sound good until you get to about the third day.

After surgery, I thought I’d try to go a solid 10 days on the plant-based diet. Having a few friends fighting the big “C” right now, all of them said the plant thing is a good way to adjust yourself and is not as boring as you think. I made it two full weeks and have been staying mostly meat-free … mostly. Bacon and the Zane’s gyro be damned.

After three months of physical therapy, I was cleared to go on the mountain the day before Aspen Mountain’s opening day — a mere four months after the rotator cuff rebuild. “Just don’t fall on it” was my PT’s advice. Noted.

As the ski season approached, I was thinking maybe I could get on the mountain for the first 10 days of the season. Now that’s a 10-day challenge I can handle, right? Being a former Front Ranger and a parent of then-young children, there were winters when 10 days fighting Interstate 70 traffic to get on the mountain was a good season.

There are people in this town who go every day, or close to it, and they are to be admired. People have their opinions about the 100-day pin, but I think it’s an awesome feat.

I felt good about my project until Day 7 — Black Friday. My neighbor and I spent Thanksgiving morning cutting through the fresh but crusty powder on Power Line off Big Burn.

We (I) got stuck a few times, once about thigh-deep. Between the digging out of the snow and the digging in for turkey dinner, the day after was rough. But it became like those days when it’s all you can do to get to the gym only to realize once you get there that you were a fool for doubting yourself.

On the eve of Day 10 with the challenge accomplished and feeling good, I ran into one of our cohorts from the other paper in town while at Klaus Obermeyer’s birthday bash. We had the “How’s the riding been?” conversation and I mentioned my 10-day challenge. Funny, she said, she was going for 11 in a row since her best last year was 10 days in a row. Foiled.

Sure, we’re respectfully and mostly friendly between staff, but we remain competitive. It’s in our nature. So with that I realized I had to go 12 days. Ten days was out the door.

I made my Ajax lunch laps count Tuesday and Wednesday, getting in at least three laps off the Express before the nonstop top-to-bottom through Copper Bowl.

In these first 12 days I got a good sense of what this 52-year-old body snowboarding on 85-year-old knees (thanks to five knee surgeries since high school) can take. Oh, and the only time I fell on my shoulder was walking across Mill Street at 7:30 in the morning on the way to the office. And it took the impact well (once I gnawed on a handful of Advils).

I plan to try this little 10-day run a few times this season. But, if Bektesh gets to 12, well, I’m gonna have to go to 13.


Bar Talk: Barraquito

On a recent trip to Spain, I discovered something that I believe tops the espresso martini. It’s called a barraquito.

See more