Saturday, January 8, 2011

Visitors from Texas, or, First Time Snowboarders

Bobby and I just said goodbye to friends who were here from Sunday the 2nd until this morning, the 8th. Jennifer (hereafter referred to by her group given nickname, J-Ben) and Scott, her boyfriend (hereafter referred to by his group given nickname, P!) were amazing house guests and we had a great time with them. Quick note regarding the nicknames- our friend group is very, very large, and very, very close. And most of us have known each other since we were 18, so about a decade now. None of us call anyone by their given name. We all have ridiculous nicknames, and most of us have several, that are born out of inside jokes, silly adventures, or various random associations that we felt were strong enough to warrant basing a new name around. So, when you think "What the hell kind of nickname is P!?" the answer is long and convoluted, and it took a few incarnations to get Scott to P!. Now back to the story...

J-Ben and P! got in late on Sunday night, a few hours after Bobby and I returned home from snowshoeing. They were blitzed after their 15 hour drive, and starving to boot, so we took them to our favorite sushi place in town and then we all came home and fell into bed. The next morning we woke up early to run errands and get some snow gear for them, because that afternoon we headed out to Silverthorne, CO. Why? Because we booked a hotel there for Monday night, so that we could wake up extra early on Tuesday and spend the day snowboarding at Breckenridge resort! I was *so* excited because I have never gone water skiing, I've never tried skate boarding, and I have zero experience with any snow sports (snowshoeing does not count, my friends). Plus, J-Ben had also never gone snowboarding, so I had a rookie compatriot. Bobby and P! knew what they were doing, so the plan was that they would teach us and we'd alternate between bunny sloping it and letting them go on blue runs on the harder slopes alone. So after a whole lot of text devoted to the subject, how 'bout a whole lot of pictures as well?
Bobby worked a half day Monday and then took off the afternoon to make the two hour drive to Silverthorne. We took J-Ben's car because it was the only vehicle that would fit all of us, our luggage, and eventually our boards and boots. Bobby drove since he was used to driving in the snow and mountains, and also to give our friends a break from driving.
How adorable is J-Ben's hat?
We stopped by Starbucks on the way out. P! always gets the strawberries and cream frap. Look at that mom face of judgment J-Ben is giving him, ha!
So, we had good intentions of getting our lift tickets at the grocery store down the street, where they are about $15 cheaper. But somehow, we left town and forgot that plan. It wasn't until we were about 30 minutes away from the hotel that I saw a billboard about lift tickets and exclaimed "son of a b*, we totally forgot to get lift tickets!". So this is us hitting up the grocery store- a grocery store that is, unfortunately, in between the airport and the ski resort...
and therefore, there was no discount to be had.
We checked into our hotel and dropped off our bags before heading out to grab some food. I was skeptical of this place because it was an Irish pub and the window was filled with nothing but neon beer signs. Not exactly universal harbingers of good vegetarian options.
I was proven (thankfully) wrong however, when I had a fabulous veggie burger. Here's P! and a shot of the place.
Bobby modeling his so tired face. But when we got back to the hotel, we still had one more thing to do- hit up the hot tub.
I only brought snowboots, so I wore those to walk to the pool room. But every other girl there had only brought snowboots, so there was already a pile when I got down there. Look at me, fitting right in just like a Colorado native!
P!, J-Ben, Bobby. I always appreciate hotels that build a hot tub like a pool. It can get uncomfortable squeezing into a little tub of water with strangers.
Bobby and I about to fall asleep standing up after the hot tub.
We went to bed at midnight. I woke up at 4 a.m. Why? Oh, you know, just because on my very first day of snowboarding ever I The reason everyone is laughing in this picture is because I said "I'm high on ibuprofen and in tons of pain, but I'm documenting this trip, so smile bitches!". I'm a classy broad.
P! was excited. So was I, but I was smiling through the pain.
A moose shot on the way out.
Thanks for the hospitality, Days Inn. You've been a real peach.
We hit up a ski shop to rent gear since it's cheaper than getting it at the resort.

It was a *bit* of a tight fit, but we only had about 20 minutes left to drive.

We parked...
I had my first gondola ride...
and then after about an hour of learning basic techniques at the base I found myself on top of the "bunny slope".
But both Bobby and P! noted it was definitely a green slope, and not your average lame bunny slope. This is a picture I took from the very top, and you're seeing the first crest on the other side of that blue netting.
And this is a picture taken from the second crest and you're looking at the bottom where that blue smudge is (more netting) way down there to the left. Still definitely an easy run, but not a bunny slope with a bunch of 4 year old pulling themselves up on ropes or anything.
Bobby on the slope. He told me was was super impressed with me, and that I did far better than he expected. I have good balance and body awareness (thanks yoga!) so I think that helped a lot. I had 3 or 4 really, really good runs where my lift ticket was flapping wildly in the breeze, and my hair was blown back, and I felt like I was flying. I *loved* snowboarding, even with the terrible death cramps, and even though as a newb I fell a lot, so I can only imagine next time will be even better.
I sat out the last run while the rest of the group headed up for a final round. At this point my ibuprofen was worn off and I was in a bit of a menstrual hell. But the scenery was still gorgeous and I had a great time people watching and soaking up ski culture vicariously.
There are lots of people there that you just KNOW are there every single weekend every single season. They have purplish red faces, high end but well worn gear, and they move really comfortably with their skis/boards. It was crazy to watch people on the blue course and see children no older than 7 handily sliding down a mountain on a board as naturally as if it was an extension of themselves.
End of the day shot together.
End of the day shot J-Ben and P!
We returned our gear and headed down the mountain to Denver for dinner.
As the sun was setting a deep exhaustion crept into my bones- and it was only 5 p.m.!
We ate dinner at one of our favorite places, Watercourse, an all vegetarian restaurant in downtown Denver. I highly recommend the portabella po'boy with lemon caper aioli if you ever go. And a vegan ho-ho cupcake to end the meal. Amen.

All in all I had such a fabulous time. I think it had a lot to do with the fact that as adults we rarely have the opportunity to learn a brand new physical activity, and fall, and experience being uncoordinated and feeling awkward. And there was *lots* of falling and feeling awkward on a board, let me tell you! But once you started kind of playing with it, and finding a way to balance your weight, and rock back and forth, and figure out how to work with the board, it all kind of started to fall into place. And all of a sudden you stop thinking about it and doing it, and something subconscious kind of clicks. It's like figuring out a physical puzzle of how your body and the board work together. I recommend giving it a try if you never have!


  1. They have apparently added room for a TON more pictures than they used to allow. I need to get a digital cam soon. But it may be a waste since there really isn't much I can show of what I'm doing in Brownwood that would be as interesting as what you've done while on a skiing trip. Looks like you had a blast! I want to come to Colorado soooo badly!

  2. I think it's still worth it to have a digital camera, and I do think you'd have interesting pics to share Henry! Plus, my most prized possessions are my pictures and the way they help jog my memory of experiences. I don't own a lot of possessions and we keep it pretty low key on the material end of things but I couldn't do without my camera- well, ok, I *could*, but I wouldn't like to :)