My two friends’ first ski trip to Colorado may not have started as planned.One game of pool on Sunday at Cooper Street turned into more than 10. One pitcher turned into … well, a few too many to count. I was surprised to find out it is possible to spend nine hours in one bar.Needless to say, the morning did not start as early or smoothly as anticipated. Kyle stumbled in at 7:45 a.m. I’m not exactly sure where he went, but I hope, for his sake, it doesn’t become a Sunday ritual. The story did make for good chairlift conversation, however. Don – struggling through a bout with nausea – swallowed each gulp of water cautiously. I told him it could be the altitude. It wasn’t.A few dry heaves and inappropriate comments later, we were on the bus for Highlands. Don joked that the hardest part of his day wouldn’t be the skiing, but completing the ride without getting sick. I watched him take agonizingly deep breaths, and roll his bloodshot eyes each time the bus driver hit his brakes; it must’ve been the longest five minutes of his life. I laughed the entire way, and offered up my standing spot near the back stairwell – it was closest to the garbage can. Donnie was out of his element.Once we clipped in and lowered the bar on the Exhibition chair, however, we found the antidote for everything that ailed us. I had taken that ride many times before. I carved solitary turns down the majority of the mountain’s trails. But on this day, amidst penetrating sunshine and the sound of my friends’ laughter on each run, I felt like I was experiencing my favorite ski spot for the first time.For six months, phone conversations had ultimately resulted in ski reports and spring break plans. It took only a moment for the days of planning and the anticipation to come to fruition. And the only thing all three of us felt in our stomachs were butterflies.We have four more days together on the slopes. And, according to words written on a white board at the base of the Loge Peak chair, fresh snow is on the way.I’m hopeful Kyle will be home in time for us to get a spot near the front of the gondola line.Avalanche reportThe backcountry avalanche danger in the Roaring Fork Valley is moderate.Beware of NW-N-NE aspects above treeline; below treeline, watch sunnier aspects, especially southwest, midday to afternoon. Some major factors in assessing avalanche terrain include slope angle, aspect and elevation. Our current conditions illustrate how important it is to keep these factors in mind. Avalanche danger details provided by the Roaring Fork Avalanche Center. For more information, visit http://www.rfavalanche.org. For conditions around the state, call the Colorado Avalanche Information Center at 920-1664 or visit geosurvey.state.co.us/avalanche.
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It might require a little extra preparation, but there’s no need to be afraid of colder months when going out fishing.