I struggled with how to start this column from our Colorado condo.
I toyed with revealing how me and the boys, one who already hit 50 and others who are closing in on it quickly, are ready for bed after a long day of skiing — and it’s 8:40.
Then I looked through pictures on my phone and thought about writing how cameras don’t do the Colorado Rocky Mountains justice in the winter, but it seemed cliche.
So I considered a self-deprecating first-sentence, like how humbled I get when skiing crazy steep terrain with fresh powder pushed all around by previous skiers leaving me flailing and embarrassing myself in spots.
But I didn’t love any of those. None did justice to the experience this day provided us.
Along with friends Dan Stewart and Bob Bishop, we chased my old high school and college buddy, Greg “Dinger” King, across Breckenridge Ski Resort all day Tuesday.
A Breckenridge resident for more than two decades now, King reveled in taking us down trails that tested our abilities, in part to snicker at us gasping for breath, but also to find places where ours were the only tracks.
Although we skied only three of the mammoth mountain’s five peaks, our timing couldn’t have been better. No natural snow had fallen in days, King said, but it snowed the Sunday of our arrival and much of the day Monday leading to more than a foot of powder awaiting us Tuesday morning.
We skied the Horseshoe Bowl on Peak 8 to start, serviced by a T-bar that mostly the locals flock to. Then we spent much of the day on Peak 6, where we found what appeared to be a break in a rope to a closed a section of Beyond Bowl. It was there that for at least a brief period, I found my powder legs and was floating through a foot of untouched fluffy snow, finding that rhythm that is really indescribable to non-skiers.
Our guide would later tell us that terrain was untouched because it was actually closed and the gap in the rope was unintended and he was simply being opportunistic.
I’m so psyched he did. It was the epic part of that day for me. Patrollers closed the gap after a few runs down it, sadly.
We ended the day by heading to the top of Peak 8, serviced by the highest chairlift in North America. It dropped us off at 12,840 feet above sea level.
King then tortured our weary legs us on one final, nasty run down the insanely steep Magic Carpet after a lengthy traverse on the ridge back to Peak 7 that forced Stewart, the lone snowboarder of the group, to hike much of it and left him sputtering – and sweating.
“I love showing people around who’ve never really done a lot of skiing on big mountains,” King said. “It’s so different from the east.”
He gave the Easterners a “strong B” for our performance, but an “E for effort with three exclamation points.”
We’ll take it.
Bishop, the 50-year-old, while relaxing in our condo in Silverthorne Wednesday morning, summed up the day as “challenging and a little scary at times keeping up with the young kids.
“No, it was beautiful and views are amazing. And it’s all about being with good friends,” he said.
Stewart, who has skied resorts across the country and Europe, half-joked that the day was “exhausting.
“But the powder was welcomed surprise when the forecast originally called for sunny warm days,” he said. “There’s no experience like high-mountain bowls with fresh powder.”
The day ended with beers and wings at a local pub, also chosen by our guide. We met some of his friends and learned some Colorado ski bum lingo (they do “laps” not runs on the hill, for instance).
As you read this, I’m likely skiing at Copper Mountain and I’m probably smiling a really wide smile, thankful for the opportunity and psyched to be with good friends doing what we love to do.
David Blow may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org