Altercations on the Ski Lift

 When my daughter was a little girl, she came home from ski school to tell me that she didn’t like snowboarders, because they were “disrespectful”.  That was a pretty big word for my 7-year-old, but it turns out, a boarder had cut in front of their line of beginners, sprayed snow in their faces, and even caused a few tears.  It took her a few years, but she finally came to terms with the fact that boarders and skiers have to peacefully coexist on the mountain, and for the most part, they do.

In fact, people here in Snowmass seem to be overly gracious.  When lines come together, Continue reading

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Things I love about Snowmass

We have four fantastic mountains to choose from out here, all with their own distinct personalities and offerings.  The most “famous” is Aspen Mountain, known for it’s steep terrain (there are ZERO green runs), Aspen Highlands, the “local’s” mountain, with the famous hike to Highland Bowl, a treasure trove of inbound backcountry-feeling terrain, and Buttermilk, known for the X-games, along with gentle, rolling terrain suitable for beginners and families.

Woody Creek Snowmass

Woody Creek in Snowmass

Then there is Snowmass, my favorite.  Of course, living here makes it easy to enjoy its 3,332 acres of terrain, but we CHOSE to live here, rather than Aspen, where we would be closer to the nightlife and famous apres’ scene, as well as restaurants and shopping to die for.  We can easily drive the 8 miles to Aspen to do those things, but for the things WE like to do during the day, Snowmass is hard to beat. The Delicious Day Blog recently quite thoroughly discovered 22 things to love about Snowmass.  From the on-mountain restaurants, varied terrain and free goodies on the mountain to the lack of lift lines (seriously), they covered a lot.  But there is so much more to love about Snowmass.  Here are some of my favorite things.

1.  It’s easy to get from one side of the mountain to the other

Before we became part time residents, our one-week-a-year trek to Colorado used to be to Beaver Creek.  We liked the multitude of intermediate terrain, since we weren’t very adventurous in our short visits.  Our daughter liked the ski school, and we are creatures of habit so that was where we went.  It wasn’t until we decided to see what the fuss was about at Snowmass that we realized that we really didn’t like poling over from the main ski area at Beaver Creek to Bachelor’s Gulch or Arrowhead.  At Snowmass, there are four main areas…Elk Camp, Alpine Springs/Upper Alpine, Sheer Bliss/BigBurn/Cirque, and the Village Express/Sam’s Knob area.  it’s so easy to ski from the Elk Camp area on one side to the Sam’s Knob area on the opposite side of the mountain.  Literally, ONE run down and ONE lift up.  And it’s that way no matter where you want to go on the mountain.

2.  Uphilling is allowed during all operational hours, on the entire mountain, except for busy Adam’s Avenue Hiking on Elk Camp

On days that I want to mix it up a little, I love to hike uphill.  It’s such an incredible way to be outside, get a kick a$$ workout, and if you’re skinning uphill on your skis, you can also take a few turns afterwards.  But some days, especially if it’s a sunny day and we haven’t had snow in a few days, it’s so easy to throw on your Yaktrax (cleats that go on your hiking boots), and head out for an adventure.  At Snowmass, we can do it any time of day.  If you want to hike up Aspen Mountain, you have to be at the Sundeck (restaurant at the top) by 9 a.m.!  At my speed, that probably means I’d have to start way before sunrise.  No, thank you.  Same goes for Aspen Highlands…you have to be at the Merry-Go-Round (mid-mountain) by 9.  Buttermilk will allow you to go any time of day (except during X Games), but the terrain is not nearly as varied.  At Snowmass I can change up my hike every day.  I like to hike to the on-mountain restaurants for lunch or a snack before heading back down.

3.  Long runs

I like to ski.  I don’t like to ride the lifts.  When the trails are short, you spend three or four times as much time on a lift as you do skiing down.  Snowmass has 150 miles of trails (vs. Aspen Mountain’s 64 miles), with the longest run of almost 6 miles!  And with 8 high speed quad or six chair lifts, plus a gondola to warm up a little if you need to, you can get back up to the top pretty quickly.

4.  Ambassadors

This is actually a perk on all four mountains, but I didn’t know about them until this year.  There are several “ambassadors” every day on the mountain, and if you are new to the area, or don’t want to ski by yourself, you can get paired with an ambassador to show you around.  And it’s free of charge!  I love when they end up on the lift with me, because they’re a treasure trove of information, and their job is to answer questions and show people around.  They are all volunteers, and the only payment they receive is a season’s pass.  Look for the Grey Aspen Jackets and reddish-pink pants…they’re all around!  I actually think it’s a pretty cool job to have.  As much as I like to talk to people, I think that is one volunteer job I’d love to have!

5.  Restaurants/Vegetarian Fare

As a pescatarian, (vegetarian + fish), it’s sometimes hard to dine out in Colorado.  They love their meat here.  But it’s getting much better.  Here are some of my favorite dishes for lunch on the mountain, or in the Mall.

Stew Pot:  Veggie Chili (tiny place in the mall area…be prepared to wait for a table, but  it’s worth it.)

Venga Venga: Veggie Fajitas, Fish Tacos (also in the mall. Best margaritas you’ve ever had, too!)

Ulrhof:  Mahi Sandwich or Veggie Burger

Up for Pizza:  Cheese Pizza and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Elk Camp Restaurant:  All organic, local, and lots of choices.  Tomato Soup in a Bread Bowl, Veggie Pizza, Grilled Cheese, and an unbelievably huge salad bar.  Also, the vegetable sides are awesome!

Sam’s Smokehouse:  No veggie or fish sandwiches, unfortunately, but fried green tomatoes, baked beans and corn muffins, and a veggie kabob.

6.  Nordic Trails

Here in Snowmass, you can enjoy one of the largest free groomed cross-country ski systems in North America! 60 MILES of free, groomed cross country and snowshoe trails connecting Snowmass to Aspen and Basalt.

7. Lack of Lift Lines


Lift Lines on last week’s powder day!

This can’t be mentioned enough.  Vail lift lines are so long you can see them from space!  Here, even after 3 feet of new snow, nothing.    During Christmas, President’s Weekend, and Spring Break you might have to wait 5 minutes at Elk Camp, Alpine Springs, or the Village Express lift.  Other than that…nothing.  Seriously, nothing.

8.  Labor Day Jazz Festival

Train at JAS snowmass

Jazz Aspen/Snowmass holds their big money maker on Labor Day weekend here in Snowmass!  It’s three days of not much jazz, but a variety of big name concerts.  In the last three years we have seen Train, Keith Urban, Journey, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Trombone Shorty, Jason Mraz, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Michael Franti, just to name a few.

9.  Summer Free Thursday night concerts

During summer season, there are free concerts every Thursday night on the hillside next to Venga Venga.  Rock, Blues, Funk, Bluegrass…it’s always fun.

10.  Snowmass Club

I love the Snowmass Club.  Yes, you do have to buy a membership, but if you need a full service gym with incredible Tennis, Golf, and Swimming, it is a wonderful facility.  Yes, living here gives you multiple choices to exercise in the great outdoors, but sometimes you just want a good workout, a massage, or a tennis lesson.  And the Snowmass Club has it all.

11.  Bar at 8K

Sure, Aspen has a lot of great restaurants.  And you can always grab a quick meal at a multitude of bars.  But Snowmass is catching up.  We always enjoy grabbing a quick bite at the 8K at the Viceroy.  The bartenders are friendly, you can watch whatever sports event is on, and even though you can order off the full menu, the bar menu has several choices for pescatarians.  The trout almondine is to die for!

12.  Mountain Biking

I don’t mountain bike anymore (too many broken bones).  But my husband does, and the network of mountain bike trails starts right outside our back door!  More than 50 miles of unbelievably cool tracks, from beginner to single track advanced, downhill, climbs or freeride, we have it all.

13. Summer Hiking

Buckskin Pass

I can’t say enough about the hiking.  Every distance.  Every ability.  Yoga hikes.  Nature Hikes.  Gut busting hill climbs, or gentle, meandering, view-filled hikes.

14.  Wildlife

backyard bear

Beautiful black bear, mule deer, elk, raccoon, coyote, beaver, skunk, badger, bobcat, mountain lion, porcupine and fox all make their home in and around Snowmass.  I feel like I’m at a zoo.  Last summer I spent a couple hours watching a little orphaned black bear eat grass in the backyard.

15.  Quiet

This is probably the biggest reason we live in Snowmass, instead of Aspen.  There is definitely always something fun going on there, and we have the choice to experience it.  But when we’re ready to go home, we happily return to the peace and quiet of Snowmass.

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Lessons in Powder


Our hot tub with 40″ of new snow

After the incredible dumping of snow we had last week (40″ in three days!), I learned a lot about skiing in powder.  Since we bought our place here two years ago, the snowfall amounts have been below average, so we don’t have a lot of experience with true, soft, “champagne” powder.  But last week we hit the motherlode.  It started snowing Wednesday night and didn’t stop until Sunday.  And as a newbie to deep powder, I can tell you, it’s a mixed bag.  On one hand, it’s a fantasy, a dream of flying, effortlessly floating without the pull of gravity, with a backdrop of snow covered mountains like a storybook fantasy.  On the other hand, skiing multiple days on packed, groomed runs does nothing to prepare you for skiing when your feet and skis disappear, and you’re skiing on uncertain surfaces.

We quickly learned a few things.  First, when the snow is deep, everyone goes to Aspen Mountain (or the steepest mountain around).  Deep snow = slow skiing, and when there’s not a sufficient incline, you get stuck.  Trying to step your way out of 3 feet of snow with skis attached to your feet is pretty funny looking, and not fun at all. It took me 45 minutes to step-ski down the hill by my house, a hill that usually takes 5 minutes, tops. I wish I had a video of the duck walk I had to do…step forward and down (3 feet +), then trying to lift the back ski out of the snow to step forward.  I’m not graceful on a good day.  I can’t imagine what I looked like.   The ski home down the top part of Cascade is usually a very fast, slippery ride, and I can’t do it without sliding sideways a bit when the snow is packed down and icy in spots.  Last week I skied straight down, no edging necessary.  The second thing I learned is when someone has skied down ahead of you on an ungroomed blue run, stay in their tracks or you’ll get stuck.  And when you’re cruising down an intermediate run in someone else’s tracks, and see some beautiful, untouched powder, be careful switching over!  When you’re flying down and hit powder suddenly, your skis stop and your body keeps going.  The good thing is a tumble in the powder is like falling on a mattress.  The bad thing is if you lose a ski, you have to dig it out and find a flat spot to click back in.  Not fun.  I also learned that my lighter K2 Line skis that I bought last year to use for uphill skiing (skinning), work great in the deeper snow!  They’re not powder skis, per se, but do have a bit more under foot (90mm) than my shaped all-terrain skis, and I loved them.

But most of all, it’s amazing.  There were sparkles from the bits of sunlight peeking through the clouds that made the snow look like a pile of diamonds.  The bumps are so soft and forgiving, it doesn’t matter if you miss a turn.  Everyone is so happy and it’s truly contagious.

Top of High Alpine

Bluebird day on top of Showcase

I have NEVER shoveled snow before.  I’m from Tennessee, where we get 1-3″ and it melts by noon.  But as the snow on our balcony continued to rise up to the top of the railing, I decided I needed to reduce the weight of all that snow, so I grabbed my little snow shovel, and three hours later, it was gone!

Before, during and after

So this is what I learned about shoveling snow.  It’s hard!  My back and upper body was sore for days.  And three days later, it started snowing again!  I guess a little honest labor is a small price to pay for being here. We have way more base than we’ve had in the last three years, so the conditions are perfect.  We had 4″ of fresh as of 6 a.m. and it’s still snowing, so…gotta go ski!

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30″ of fresh powder!!


backyardI’ve been meaning to post, but mother nature felt kind enough to dump over 30″ of new snow here, so I’m skiing. Wheeeeee!

Here’s a bit of my first run this morning at the top of Cascade. As someone new to this much soft powder, I am in heaven. I just need lessons on how not to do this…

I’ll write more later…gotta go!

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Getting my empty nest back

I got up before the sun did this morning, a rarity on a Sunday, but I wanted to make breakfast for my daughter and her boyfriend before they left.  I miss cooking for her.  I don’t miss the mess she left behind in her room…wet towels on the floor, every item of clothing she wore in the last few days that didn’t go back to college with her was on the floor, the bed, the dresser…anywhere but in the closet  or drawer where it belonged.  I have seen so many positive changes in this, her second year of college.  But the messiness…well, I’m just  glad her roommate really likes her.

But this was a good winter break.  We skied together, had many meals together, cuddled and watched movies, and had a lot of great conversations.  It feels more and more like the old H, before she pulled away her senior year, in anticipation of leaving the nest.  When that happened, I was devastated.  As an only child, she and I had an incredible relationship.  Friends warned me that when she left for college I was going to have a really hard time.  In actuality, after going through the “fouling the nest” period that we did during her senior year of high school, by the time she left for college I was almost ready for her to go.  My dreams of spending her last summer at home shopping together for her dorm room, having late night conversations about what she was about to experience, well, let’s just say, it didn’t happen.  I was not prepared for the eye-rolling, pulling away, and basically being completely shut out of her day to day life.  As she mentally prepared herself to move across the country, she had to mentally separate from me.  Although I understand that now, I didn’t then.  I recently received a phone call from a friend, a single father to a high school senior.  He remembered what I went through and is starting to go through it himself.  All I could really do was sympathize, and tell him that it WILL get better.

I don’t know if it’s that she has matured over the last 18 months, or that she is more confident now that she is in a serious relationship, or more likely, both, but we really enjoyed having her around.  It’s a big transition for J and I, sharing her with her boyfriend, but seeing the way they look at each other kind of warms my heart.  She is experiencing all kinds of new things, and it’s fun to watch from afar.  I think spending more time in Aspen/Snowmass has been good for our mother/daughter relationship.  She loves Aspen/Snowmass almost as much as I do:  skiing, hiking, the cool Explore Booksellers, hanging out and doing schoolwork at coffee shops like Victoria’s Expresso Bar or Ink, concerts at Belly Up… there is always something to do and she seems genuinely happy to be here, and even invites me to come along every once in awhile!

But when your only child leaves, your paradigm shifts.  It’s useless to worry about how much sleep she’s getting, whether she’s doing her homework, studying for tests, eating right, sleeping enough (or too much), taking care of herself, having fun, etc.  Not that I don’t worry about those things every now and then, but my CONTROL over those things is pretty much gone.  I could nag her about them, but that would only drive a wedge between us, and wouldn’t make much of a difference.  I have learned over the last 18 months that my little girl is pretty responsible.  And if she’s not, she has to pay the consequences.  What that has done for me is give me enormous peace of mind.  Instead of a coach, I’m now a consultant.  When she needs my advice she asks, but most of the time she does pretty well for herself.  And with that, I am free to enjoy this empty nest with my husband….who always picks up his dirty clothes!

Empty Nest Mantra…

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Getting injured in a ski town!

After Sunday’s whiteout and 8″ of beautiful, sparkling champagne powder I woke up yesterday looking forward to a great day of skiing.  I started early, and as the day progressed, the gloomy, overcast skies turned sunny.  I was so happy.  I skied by myself, since J and H were both sore (J’s hip and H’s ankles).  While I missed them, it was a happy day.  I did whatever runs I felt like doing, met some interesting people on the lifts, and was skiing very well, at least for me.  The new snow had softened up the bumps, the groomers were soft but fast, and I found lots of powder in the trees.  I met a couple of people who had never skied Snowmass (one from Australia and one from Wisconsin) and it was fun to hear their enthusiasm for this great mountain.

At the top of the Cirque…looks like the moon but a great place to find some incredible powder!

I was on my last run of the day, smiling inside and out, thinking about how lucky I was to be able to experience this, and how happy I was to have H with us for a few more days before she leaves to go back to college, and decided to take a quick run through some trees at the top of Showcase.  I felt really good, looking between the trees for my path, when all of a sudden it seemed like a big tree just appeared out of nowhere!  The ER physician got a kick out of that…of course, it was my fault.  I was probably a little too confident for my ability.  My first instinct was to put my hand up to block my inevitable collision, and luckily, I didn’t hit the tree with my head or any other body part.  I didn’t even fall.  I wish I could say I was making a miraculous save, like pushing some little kid out of the way, or something a little more exciting than just pushing away from the tree, but it was pretty non-impressive.  I wasn’t even going very fast.  As I skied home down Turkey Trot, finding tons of fresh powder on the way, I realized my thumb really hurt.

The Powerline Glades…great tree skiing for intermediates!

Long story short, I went home, iced, took four Advil, but it continued to swell and turn black and blue.  On my way to the gym I decided  to stop at the Snowmass Clinic, since they closed at 4:30, to have them take a look.  (Very happy surprise…even though they’re part of Aspen Valley Hospital, the cost of an X-ray and splint was a fraction of what we spent at AVH ER last year with H).  I was beginning to think I was probably over-reacting, but yep, the thumb was broken.  They splinted it and called to make an appointment with an orthopedic for the next day.  Coincidentally, my husband and daughter both had appointments with the SAME doctor on the SAME day!

Pretty much the smile I had all day long…until the last run

Here’s what’s good about getting injured in a ski town.  Dr. Purnell asked me what I ‘needed’ to do with this injury.  I looked at him and said, “Ski?”  I couldn’t imagine skiing, because it hurt so much, but he didn’t even blink.  He said he would cast it in a shape that could still hold a ski pole, and told me I could ski that afternoon!  The only problem is fitting a glove over the cast, and neither my gloves nor my husband’s would fit.  I bought some Large Down gloves for  $59 at GoLite, the new store in the old Aspen Candy Company spot, which work almost perfectly.

Perfect shape to hold a ski pole!

I had a great afternoon in Aspen with a little retail therapy to make me feel better!  We’re heading into a dry few days, but the sun will be out, and there’s a lot of snow on the ground, so I’m looking forward to it!  Sure, fresh snow is awesome, but sunshine and blue skies just make me happy.  I’m looking forward to our day with ski instructor extraordinaire, Sam Green tomorrow!

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Earning your turns!

On a sunny day in Snowmass last January, there had been no new snow for several days, so Jeff and I strapped on our stabilicers and hiked from our house to the top of Elk Camp, about a 3 mile hike (one way) with about 2500 feet of altitude gained.  It’s a beautiful, somewhat strenuous hike, with incredible views to reward you when you reach the top. We spent a few minutes snapping photos, eating some trail mix, then started our 3 mile hike back home…downhill.  In addition to being pretty hard on the knees, it’s not nearly as exhilarating as the hike up.  You’re sweaty and cold, and the footing is treacherous.  We had just started our descent when we met a young lady in shorts and a tank top (in January!), with skis strapped to her feet, skiing uphill!  I had heard about skinning, but this was the first time I had seen someone actually doing it.  (Amazing that I hadn’t noticed people doing it prior to that, now I see them EVERYWHERE!)  I was fascinated!!  When she reached the top, she simply peeled off the “skins” attached to the bottom of her skis, locked her heels into the bindings, put her clothes back on(!), and skied down!  J and I continued our awkward hike down, with a few embarrassing non-graceful falls under the Elk Camp lift, and I decided to rent some equipment and give “skinning” a try.


As a newbie to Colorado in the winter, I didn’t know about skinning, but evidently it’s becoming more and more a “thing”.  Here in Aspen/Snowmass, they often see hundreds of uphillers every day.  So many that they’ve joined other ski areas to formally tweak their uphill policies.  Here at Snowmass, we can uphill on any runs during operating hours, except Adam’s Avenue, as long as we stay to the side of the trail and a few other common sense safety practices.  It’s the same at Buttermilk, except they have designated routes up the mountain.  At Aspen Highlands, they want you to follow designated routes and be at the Merry-Go-Round restaurant (mid-mountain) before 9:00 a.m. if you want to go higher.  Aspen Mountain is the most restrictive, probably because of the crowds and narrower runs.  Uphilling is NOT allowed during operating hours.  You must be at the top by 9 a.m. and follow designated routes.  “Uphilling” can be with snowshoes, stabilicers (cleats for the bottom of your shoes), or skis.

After trying out several different set-ups last year, I decided to buy a set of more lightweight downhill skis, instead of the typical Alpine Touring skis.  Skinning has it’s roots in backcountry skiing, and I’ve decided at 53 years old I most likely won’t be doing much of that.  My desire is to get my workout in in the morning, then peel off the skins and ski all over the mountain.  My K2 Line Celebrity skis are relatively light, and are good for all kinds of conditions.  I’ve even taken them to the bumps of Zugspite, Slot, and Wildcat and they’re awesome!  (Although the ski’s performance is awesome…mine has a long way to go!  I definitely need more practice.)   I went with the Dynafit two piece Radical bindings, which are much lighter, and they feel as secure as my regular bindings while I’m skiing downhill, whether bumps, groomers or powder. The Black Diamond Nylon skins are cut to fit and easily stick to the back of the skis.

Yesterday was the perfect day to skin up to Elk Camp, the sun was the bright blue that I feel can only be seen on a sunny day in the Rockies, and the wind had died down from earlier in the week.  It was glorious.  Other than the time I wiped out going up a particularly steep slope under the Two Creeks chair, losing a ski and spending too many awkward minutes on what felt like a 75 degree hill, the views at the top were glorious.  I hope to do all four mountains this winter, but I need to train a little more before I attempt Aspen Mountain.  At my speed I would probably have to start at 4 a.m. to make it to the top at 9!

This view never fails to take my breath away!

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Dust on Crust

Sunday was cooooooold, as it remained below 0 degrees at mid-mountain, so we stayed inside by the fire all day.  Monday started at 5 degrees but warmed up later in the afternoon to around 18, and the sun came out!  But with temps that cold, the nice soft snow we had last week was icy, crunchy, and slippery, so we started out on the groomers.  By lunchtime, the sun softened the snow up a little so the skiing was a little better.  But who can resist a freshly groomed cruiser? 

I ended my day early and went into Aspen to run errands.  It was eerily quiet.  Everyone is talking about the plane that crashed yesterday.   The airport was closed all day so there were no commercial or private flights in to Aspen.  It looked like they were possibly dismantling the wreckage on my way home last night so I know the Aspen business owners will be relieved!  No flights in = no tourists =no business.

Quiet in town

And here’s another reason I love Aspen…there are people here who don’t let arctic temps interrupt their lives…

Single digit temps make for an invigorating ride!

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Locals’ Clinics

Yesterday I woke up at 6:30 a.m. to a high of 18 degrees, with snow and temps predicted to fall to the single digits.  It was tempting to stay inside and build a fire, but instead I went through my skiing-in-extreme-cold-weather ritual.  I donned multiple layers which made me feel like the Michelin Man, grabbed my boots, skis, poles, gloves, balaclava, neck gator, ski pass, and goggles, and instead of walking out my back door to ski on Snowmass mountain, made the drive through the snow to Ajax Mountain.


Nothing closes here when it snows!

One of the best kept secrets in the Aspen/Snowmass area if you’re staying for the season is the ability to attend Locals’ Clinics, about 35 different clinics held throughout the four mountain area (Aspen, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk or Snowmass).  If you’re here for vacation, and purchase a regular adult group lesson, it will cost you either $139 or $149 per day, depending on when you purchase.  But if you have a season’s pass, you can buy unlimited local’s clinics for $111…total!  If you did every local’s clinic (23, since some days have multiple clinics), that would end up costing you less than $5 per clinic!!

Some clinics don’t interest me, like the Park and Pipe clinic, but other than that, I hope to do as many as possible this year.  Last year we didn’t find out about them until February, so we missed out on a few, but it was still awesome.  If you learned to ski in the 70’s, like I did, EVERYTHING has changed.  Skis have come so far, and the technique to ski on different skis, as well as different terrain, has changed as well.  When we were only able to ski once or twice a year, all I wanted to do was be on the mountain, so other than one or two private lessons, I never learned anything new.  So I just kept doing things the old way.  I thought I was a good skier, until I met the folks in these lessons.  People who have lived here for many years, even ex-ski instructors show up for the clinics.  It’s nice to be able to do a double black expedition clinic, or a highlands bowl clinic, and be able to venture into some extreme territory with an instructor who knows the area and knows how to show you around.

Lunch Break...visibility ZERO

Lunch Break…visibility ZERO

It’s really a great thing, especially as a new local.  Every time I take a lesson, not only do I learn something new, but I meet so many great people. Yesterday was “Bumps and Steeps”, and although I ended up with an instructor that didn’t take us on bumps until right before lunch, so we didn’t get as much instruction as I would have liked, I learned a couple things and best of all, I met a woman who started Action for Afghan Women, a program to empower Afghan women.  I love being unexpectedly inspired!  Check out her website, it’s truly impressive

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It’s great to be here!

A couple of days after Christmas, we packed our bags and headed to the mountains.  I am so thankful for the fact that my husband can work from wherever we choose to be, and now that our nest is empty, we choose to spend most of our winter in the Aspen/Snowmass community.  We live on the Snowmass ski mountain, which is like a dream.  Sometimes I go to sleep with the snowcats grooming the ski run that passes our backyard.  If it snows overnight, I wake up to the snow-covered branches of a winter wonderland.  This morning the sun is brilliant, the sky is blue, and it is hard to stay inside.


When we flew in this week, the sky was clear and the snow-covered mountains were glorious.  It is strange for this Tennessee girl to live in an area with snow on the ground for months at a time. I feel like it’s Christmas every day!  (Although I can only remember twice in my lifetime that we actually had any snow on the ground on Christmas day).  But there is just something about being here.  Sure, I miss my friends and family (who we would be thrilled to have visit us, hint hint), but we are gradually making new friends here.  There are folks who live in Denver who visit on weekends, and we are finally starting to meet some great people who live here year round.  People who live here are generally happy…ALL THE TIME!  I don’t know if it’s because EVERYONE is active, so there are endorphins galore, or that they are just happy to be here, but I don’t often find people who live in the Roaring Fork Valley to be grumpy.  The cool thing is that meeting and talking to an 80 year old man in the line at the grocery store who does 100 mile bike rides weekly is not a rare thing!  I thought I was active and fit until I met some of my new friends here.  I love the whole vibe.

Our plans are to be here through the ski season, which lasts until mid-April.  Last year J blew out his ACL, so his ski season was cut short.  Keeping our fingers crossed that we’ll stay healthy this year.  I want to document our life here…what it’s like to live in a mountain resort town, doing the things we love.  It’s nice to be able to pick and choose the days we want to ski, since we’re here more than a week.  It’s also fun to find new things to do outside in the snow!  Last night I picked up my new skis that I had set up for skinning.  (Alpine trekking or uphill…the most awesome workout ever!  More on that later)


Skinning…skiing uphill!

We’ve been here four days and I have skied three.  It’s supposed to snow tonight, so I’m taking today off to do some errands.  Things aren’t as convenient here as they are in Nashville.  City Market (our equivalent to Kroger) and Whole Foods are in Basalt, about 30 minutes away, so I’m making the trip to stock up on groceries and run a few errands.  But the drive is beautiful, I have satellite radio, so all is good!

The doggies love the snow, too!

The doggies love the snow, too!

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