I bring to you the fabled Colorado post, minus one picture (which happened to be the one I looked forward to seeing full-size the most) which my dad deleted. This is what I get for letting my dad touch that camera. *grumble* All my mom and dad’s pictures turned out like crap – they’re barely worth putting up. It ticks me off a lot – the scenery is completely ruined by a crap disposable camera and poor photography skills. *more complaining*
We left Sunday, landed in Denver about dusk, picked Christopher up from Clair’s (cousin’s widow, for those who forgot). We drove on over to the Johnson’s, which was a two hour drive with 20 lbs of luggage on my lap. It’d been years since the 5 of us had been in the same car, so this was something to be savored, in that bitter kind of way. We got there about 1 AM, greeted by the Weimeraner known as Tenzing (after the mountain climber).
Driveway (that’s our rental in there):
Tenzing (poor picture, apologies):
We slept, and spent Monday adjusting to the elevation of 10, 800 ft.. Christopher ran out and bought a Gamecube on a whim, and rented Mario Kart, which supplied Jonothan and I some amusement. He had a Gamecube, but it was stolen a little while back. Poor Christopher has a hard history with robbery – all his possessions were stolen from a storage facility when he was 18 and had just joined the Army (that was a lot of stuff). Not too long ago his laptop and other major appliances were stolen.
Yes, we woke up to this view every morning:
We stayed in the bottom portion of their house. Their house by the way, is custom, completely wood, and disgustingly nice. Not rich kind of nice, but non-standard kind of nice. Retirement kind of nice. The bottom portion has two bathrooms, two bedrooms, a den (with TV, VCR, DVD).
The downstairs main area:
The upper portion is wide, lots of windows, and shockingly bright in the morning. I took most of the pictures around dusk, so it’s not bright, as the mountain blocks the sun.
The living room (there’s a huge wall of windows to the right (you can see them on the east side picture), but for obvious reasons I can’t take a picture of that):
The kitchen (facing out the south side):
The entry (facing out the north/west side, with my back to the windows):
The outside is very much like a log cabin. Pictures tell more than words, though.
The north side (the outside pictures are going in something of a circle, you should be able to get something of an idea of what the outside looks like if you follow it):
The east side (this ones a jump, sorry):
The south side (you can see the porch that’s in the east side picture on the right, for reference):
I won’t supply many skiing pictures, simply because it’s a lot of work for something that isn’t going to tell much. So, skiing. We skiied Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I didn’t actually ski though. Christopher, Jonothan, and I all snowboarded for our first time on Tuesday, and stuck with it the entire time. It really hurt the first day – you fall down a lot, it sucks. You run out of breath so fast at 11,000+ feet, we were sweating up a storm that first day.
Tuesday was Copper, which is the biggest resort in the vicinity of 1.5 hours. It has about 125 trails, a dozen or so lifts (speed lifts, at that. if you didn’t hear this last year, they’re lifts that go about 3 times as fast as normal lifts. they detach onto an alternate rail at mount and dismount, which goes about half as a fast as normal lifts. the convenience of this is indescribable). We took a lesson that day (and only that day) to make sure we got the basic techniques and stuff. The lessons were so much better there – it’s amazing. Greek Peak’s instructors do this “do this, no you’re not doing it, you have to do this” kind of thing. Our instructor, Jeff, gave us all kinds of tips for how to do all the stuff, it was really nice. We found that when we applied the rules he taught us, everything worked, it was amazing. We just did the bunny hill that first day – and that was hard. It hurt. It hurt bad. When the lesson was over I decided to go attempt a green, and wow was that a mistake. Apparantly Copper stops grooming about mid-season, so on the mildly steep parts of greens, there are moguls. Understand, moguls are completely different on a snowboard. If you don’t know what you’re doing (me), you can’t do crap, whereas on skis you can at least run over the moguls and ruin them. I fell about 30 times on the run, and I wore myself out badly pushing myself across the straits. I was about ready to go back to skiing the next day, but some encouragement from Brian and the brothers kept me at it.
Wednesday we went to Cooper – the smallest resort, but the highest at 13,000 feet. Towards Cooper is about the size of Greek Peak in terms of amount of lifts and runs, and even layout. The runs are still about twice as long, though. I forgot to mention – the runs at Copper are generally half a mile to three-fourths. The green path I took made for a 20-minute run, with a 4-5 minute lift ride. That’s about four to five times as long as Greek Peak’s. And about half to a quarter the lift ride. Amazing, yes? By the end of the day we braved a mild blue. Two days, and a mild blue!
Thursday we went back to Copper to meet up with Clair. We spent half the day floundering on these really bad greens – most greens had “traverse” zones, where snowboarders have to detach their back foot and push for a few hundred yards. This is really tiring, and just frustrating. We managed to get some advice from some seasoned Copper-goers and took a few nice and steep blues, which really made up for the first half of the day. The last run, though, we went to the top to try another blue to discover that it’s really, really steep and had moguls. We actually did ok, but we split when it came to a fork in the path. I went down first, and stopped at the fork. It forked between a blue and a black. The plan was to take the blue, but Jonothan and Christopher missed the blue and went down the black. Jonothan did ok, but Christopher wasn’t feeling too hot and just detached and walked back. Three days, and harder blues!
Copper, at the top (crappy camera):
Friday was Monarch, the middle-range between Copper and Cooper, but all the trails are of far greater difficulty. This is by far the best resort, IMO. It has a lot of unmarked forest trails which are really fun and challenging, they all have huge jumps, lots of powder, huge moguls, all created by skiiers. We did one trail, called “Turbo” 6 times. It’s about the equivelant of Olympian on Greek Peak, the hardest black on the mountain, and yet it’s blue. The first four times were pretty tough, we didn’t know how to handle the moguls. By the 5th and 6th time, we had it down to a science of jumping and braking, it was far more dynamic than it is on skis. FOUR days, very steep blues with a lot of moguls!
Snowboarding has it’s perks, but I think I’ll stick with skiing. Skiing has a lot of conveniences, like poles, seperated feet, and is generally more mobile. Also, you can’t really do back-trail snowboarding around here, as you’d have to push yourself everywhere. Anyway. Monarch had a few ok pictures. There was a professional photographer at the top taking pictures, so one is good.
That was our last day of skiing. Saturday was nothing, I just ran around taking pictures and such. There are a few left of views of the scenery. These are the good ones.
This is of Buena Vista, from the windows:
View to the west:
View to the north:
We packed up and cleaned the rooms Saturday too. I ended up vacuuming with a vacuum older than my parents. So old, there was no date on it, anywhere. I took a picture to immortalize this antiquity.
The trip wasn’t just fun, though. It was (and this is said at the risk of sounding corny) a really good family bonding experience. Every time I spend time with my brothers, I realize how much alike we really are. It helps that I’m old enough to really have fun with them now, and not constantly be left behind. Our family sat down for about 3 hours just talking about problems we were facing and prayer requests, it was nice like that. It’s a little weird looking past the outside stuff that bothers me about the family and seeing what’s really worth looking at. It wasn’t gooey, soft, and pretty, but was definately heart warming. Anyways.
And a poorly taken picture of our final feast:
[2012 edit: lost forever]
We left Sunday morning to Denver airport, sent Christopher off to San Antonio, and moved on to Denver. We checked in at the hotel and just…sat, basically. We didn’t do anything until we saw Tim and Joyce Hume (this is the guy I’m named after, remember). It was really good to see them back together (they’d been seperated), and with a child no less. I really enjoy my time with Tim, he’s an awesome one. No pictures, for some reason. Monday was pretty boring, we just kinda sat around, had dinner with Clair, and that was it. We left Tuesday morning, and got back to Ithaca at 12:00 AM Wednesday. They lost Mom’s and Jonothan’s luggage though (after the flight was delayed, too), so we didn’t get home till 1:30 AM. For obvious reasons I didn’t go to school, and that was my trip. Exciting, to be sure.