Looking outside this morning, I noticed how green the aspens in my neighbor’s yard have become. The grass in my own yard is now more green than brown and in the open land behind my house, the spring wildflowers are abundant. While I’ve been in a state of denial, the reality is now undeniable. Spring is here.
For the past month, I’ve been fielding questions about what I will write once the 2010-2011 ski season melts into oblivion. Running? Biking? Travel? Parenting? “Yes,” I answer, “Yes to all of those and skiing, too.” I am just not going to push myself to write as frequently. My goal for the spring and summer months will be two posts per week instead of three, most likely on Tuesday and Thursday.
Today, however, in celebration of the end of another ski season, I offer a quick recap of the highs and lows of ski season ’10-’11.
Best Ski Resort Lunch 1: The delicious, healthy Veggie Saute at Guiseppe’s, an on-mountain restaurant at Telluride. For $5.99 you get a generous “half” portion of fried potatoes, black beans, cheese and more served on fresh spinach with a fried egg on top.
Best Ski Resort Lunch 2: Pasta Du Jour at Bumps Restaurant at the base of Buttermilk. Bumps serves lots of delicious, generous pasta dishes. We’ve found the ever-changing Pasta of the Day to be the best. Usually around $12.00, buy one dish, ask for an additional plate or plates and no one will have to ski hungry.
Best Way to Beat the Traffic: Travel By Train. No, we didn’t take the train, but we want to next year. While in Winter Park, we met a couple who had taken Amtrak from Omaha to nearby Fraser. More surprising, we met a man in Aspen who had taken Amtrak from Salt Lake to Glenwood Springs — for $50.00. That won’t even buy me a tank of gas.
Best Way to Rock Your Skiing: Having heard about rocketed skis for a couple of seasons, I finally tried some K2 Miss Behaved all-mountain rocker skis in deep Utah pow. What can I say? I’m a believer. Just keep me off the cat tracks. These babies make the steeps so easy, but they are hard to rein in on hardpack.
Best Surprise: After decades of dissing Buttermilk (without having ever visited), we had an amazing powder day in January. No crowds and fresh tracks all day on ego-boosting trails. Best news for 2011-2012: The old, slow Tiehack lift is being replaced. And thank you to the kind Brave Ski Mom who showed us around and shared her love of this mountain.
Best “New” Resort: No, Park City Mountain Resort isn’t new, but it was new to us. We were pleasantly surprised at the variety of terrain and ease of getting around the mountain. Highlights: Jupiter Bowl, Thayne’s and McConkey’s and did I mention two feet of new snow each day? With the terrain park buried, we didn’t check it out. Nor did we spend any time in the town itself. Those are two reasons why we can’t wait to go back next year. And did I mention two feet of new snow each day?
Best “Reunion” with a Ski Resort: After twenty years, we made it back to Winter Park and were blown away. Mary Jane was as fun (and tiring) as we remembered, but Winter Park has grown too with the addition of more expert terrain. Truly offering something for everyone, and dressed up with a spiffy new base village, Winter Park is a perfect Colorado destination. Next year, we’re taking the train.
In general, it is hard for me to come up with many “lows.” I love skiing with my family and friends so much that I rarely have many less-than-stellar experiences. However, there were two “lows” during our season that I can’t ignore and that I think warrant sharing with readers.
Worst Dinner…Ever?: Mambo Italiano, Steamboat Springs. This breaks my heart to write, because in the past we have had some great dinners at Mambo Italiano. Maybe they were out of ingredients because of the Christmas rush? Perhaps their chef failed to come in? Who knows. But 4 days after Christmas, during Steamboat’s busiest week, my son had the worst pasta dish ever….Shrimp Diavolo with four tiny cold shrimp, and sauce that tasted like it came out of a tin can. The rest of us had different entrees. All of our portions were generous, but not very tasty. Topping it off, we all felt sick after our meal. The worst dinner ever? Probably not, but it wasn’t worth the money we paid.
Worst Property Management Company: I love staying at Copper Springs at Copper Mountain. The property is clean, modern, roomy and convenient. No problems with the property and if you can rent a condo through Copper Mountain Resort, I would highly recommend staying there. Unfortunately, we waited too long and had to rent a condo in the building through Carbonate Real Estate. When we asked for an extra blanket, they told us “no.” When we asked about WiFi, it was $10 per day, but free if we were staying in one of “their” buildings. But the straw that broke my back was NO SHAMPOO. We thought this was a mistake and called them. We were told that they provide soap, but no shampoo. At any price per night, this is unacceptable.
So there you have it, some memorable highs and sadly, two lows. It has been a great season and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the biggest high of my winter: The many amazing people who have contacted me with ideas and questions, offered to share their opinions and insights on their favorite resorts, showed me around their mountains, read my writing and were willing to take a flier on an unknown, albeit brave, ski mom.
Thank you! I look forward to sharing next ski season with you.
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