January 3, 2013

White Christmas in Steamboat

I have Colorado fever. Trea and I spent an extra long Christmas week in Steamboat Springs, and it was hands down the best Christmas I've ever had. I'm usually a beach girl and like to go where there's sunshine. I've never actually gone toward snow on purpose before. But I'm so glad I did this year! I think Christmas ski trips will become an annual tradition!

I've never skied before, but I completely fell in love with it. Steamboat is the cutest little town, and they've gotten a TON of snow this year. We skied 8 days straight (whew!), and almost every day was a powder day. The conditions couldn't have been better. Once, Trea actually got stuck in waist-deep powder and had to go fishing for a lost ski. It was beautiful! 

We got to Steamboat the weekend before Christmas, and there weren't any crowds yet, so we had the slopes practically all to ourselves. We stayed at the Trailhead Lodge, and loved every minute of it. We had reserved a studio condo, but they upgraded us to a one bedroom condo when we got there. It felt just like home -- but better! We had a fireplace, balcony, full kitchen and washer/dryer, so we were able to continue being homebodies just like in Arkansas. We ate dinner most evenings at the condo and watched Christmas movies. Trea was so happy to be there that he sat through Love Actually without complaining one single time.  

The Trailhead also had its own private gondola right outside the front door, so even though we weren't at the base of the mountain, we could hop on the gondola and be taken right where we needed to go every morning without getting into the car. Cruising over town to get up the mountain was one of my favorite things!

We rented all our ski equipment (skis, poles, boots and helmets) from Black Tie Ski Rentals, run by the nicest guys in the world. Since I had never skied before, I had no clue what boots should feel like, so it took skiing in three different pairs before I finally found ones that I didn't want to hurl off the mountain.  {The Salomon Divine 550 in size 24.5 would make an excellent birthday present. Ahem.}

Skiing was a lot harder than I expected it to be. I'm fairly fit, I've been running 2-3 times a week and going to a personal trainer twice a week for the last month or two, so I felt like I was in pretty good shape. Um, NO. The first day out, we took a full day of ski school. Trea knows how to ski, so he was just there to hang out with me, but I needed to be taught all the basics. And it was our ski instructor's first time to ever teach a class. Boy, did he learn a lot with me!

Guess who was the first person to fall down in ski school? {*Raises hand*} Guess who got mad and took off her skis and marched in boots down the bunny slope? {*Raises hand*} The first few hours did not go well. Also, since new skiers are so new that they can't handle the ski lift, you have to side-step your way up the bunny slope every time you ski down. From 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., THAT'S A LOT OF SIDE STEPPING. It was about 9 degrees outside, and I was burning up. Trea actually soaked through a base layer and two jackets. Ick. We worked super hard, and the next day, I swear I felt worse than the day after a marathon. I hurt in places that I didn't know could hurt. Thumb muscles! Who knew?!

I had trouble keeping up with the class because everyone else was catching on faster than me, so I was sent over to the Magic Carpet with Trea to practice with the little kids. Yes, I was reduced to skiing with first graders, but I learned so much with them! Adult ski classes are not taught the same as kid ski classes, and even though I wasn't actually involved in the kid classes, I was listening and paying close attention to the instructors around me. Just hearing the kids' instruction was so helpful, and I learned to pizza like a pro!

After a few days of pizza-ing my way all over the green trails, we moved up to blue runs the last couple of days we were there. It was amazing.


After several hours of shredding the powder, we were always starving, so we hit up the apres ski scene every afternoon at either Slopeside, Bear River Grill or The Snowbird at the Ptarmigan -- our favorite.

I was surprised at how much fuel skiing requires. Luckily, restaurants take this into account when serving up portions. This was breakfast at The Paramount, another fav. Because who doesn't need chicken fried steak and biscuits covered in elk sausage gravy and eggs right before hitting the slopes?

I think we only went out for dinner one night -- Christmas Eve. We took a sleigh ride up the mountain to Ragnar's for some fine mountaintop dining and live music. Unfortunately, the sleigh ride was during a bit of a blizzard, so it wasn't the postcard moment I had anticipated. It was more like a hunker-down-in-your-coat, emerge-as-a-lump-of-snow type of evening. Oh well. The music was really good.

We literally spent as much time as possible on the mountain because we both became completely addicted. But we had to take time for recovery. After our apres ski drinks and snacks, we would moan and groan our way back to the hotel where we kept a buffet of Advil, Salonpas patches, Icy Hot and Aspercreme. Trea's favorite thing was to soak in one of the three hot tubs at the hotel...which were outside...where the snow is. It was nice while you were in, but slightly less fun on the way out. Minus-2 is super cold.

Yes, that's a pile of snow behind my head.
We had tons of fun in the Tetons and Yellowstone, but I think this might be the best vacation yet. I have never been so sad to leave a place. I got sick almost as soon as we got home and have been stuck in bed all week with an actual fever, not of the Colorado variety. I think it's because I need more fresh mountain air! I cannot wait until next year!

1 comment:

  1. You are so cute in your little pigtail braids! And you look SO happy!
    And , after spending New Years in Twin Lakes, CO, I GET IT! We didn't ski, but we did snowshoe. The snow, the gorgeous mountains, the magnificence of it all...so incredible. Loved the peace of the mountains.
    So glad y'all had such a great time!!!
    Happy New Year!



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