“What’s the lunch situation?” I asked the night before we arrived at Powderhorn. We pack a mobile refrigerator (aka our Yeti) for every trip, and can lay out a pretty tasty breakfast and lunch spread — and host a solid après affair — from the back of our rig, but I wasn’t sure if we should pre-make sandwiches or plan for a high-noon tailgate on January 9, 2016.
“We bring our lunch and just leave it in the lodge,” Drew said. “No locker needed.”
And that pretty much sums up the vibe at Powderhorn. It’s a friendly mountain where everybody knows your name … and nobody will steal your PB&J.
When this ski odyssey comes up in polite conversation, my elevator speech always starts with “The boys and I …”, which inevitably prompts the same initial follow-up questions: Doesn’t Michelle like to ski? Is she as good as the boys? Yes, she does. No, she’s not. (Still, she’s better than she admits, and better than she often attempts.)
Her carving abilities, though, have no bearing on how much each of us like to have her around on the hill — even after she’s done her three or four Bissell School of Leisure Skiing runs and has retired to an 11:00 a.m. après spot in the lodge tavern. Or, maybe it’s because of that. We always know where to find her, and we always know we’ll have a seat. Either way, Dade, Roan, and I were very excited when Michelle announced she would make her first ski-all-Colorado appearance on our December 30, 2015, visit to Eldora.
From about 1986 to 1989, roughly my junior high school years, Breckenridge was my home mountain. My mom would drop me and a friend or two off at the Peak 9 parking lot in the morning and pick us up there at 4:30 p.m. We spent many of the hours in between looking for good jumps along Peak 10’s Cimarron. These were the days of spread eagles, backscratchers, and, my personal specialty, daffys — but not of purpose-built terrain park convenience. So once we found a decent kicker, we’d commence to pull lap after lap on the Falcon SuperChair, logging countless vertical feet on the same trail, in order to practice our Hot Dog-style moves one jump per run at a time. Next thing you know, it’s late afternoon and mom’s waiting. It was a simpler age.
Simple, however, is not how I’d describe our day at Breckenridge on December 28, 2015. For starters, I forgot our skis.