February 22, 2019

Weekend Recap: Queen of the Slopes, Queen of the Toilets

Weekend of 2/15-2/17

This was a weekend of very little sleep. The tone was set on Thursday night, when I randomly woke up at 3am and couldn’t get back to sleep. Around 4:30am, I finally gave up trying, and grabbed a book to read in bed rather than wasting time tossing and turning. Finally, around 6am, I headed to Chuze Fitness for some treadmill time.

After the gym and a bunch of work, I headed out to the mountains soon after lunchtime. As usual, I booked a bunch of phone calls for my drive, and was thrilled that my drive was both a) super productive and b) super speedy. For once I had missed the outbound weekend traffic! It seems that leaving early is the key, which I’ll try to remember going forward.

My friend Chris had followed me up to the mountains, and upon arrival, we unloaded my giant Pottery Barn sideboard from his truck. I bought this sturdy piece of furniture years ago from Craigslist in New York, and it’s made quite the journey – from there to my first apartment in Colorado, to my house in Superior, and finally now out to Minturn. I’ve been meaning to bring it out since I first got the house, but it took me till now to finally do it. And I was in luck – it fit perfectly on the dining room wall between my bedroom door and the living room entrance!

You can also see my roommates’ adorable dog Louie in the photo. I love coming home to him – he’s the cutest!

With that in place, I then turned my attention to my bathroom toilet. I had asked my plumber back in Superior whether he could recommend someone, and after describing the issue to him (it takes nearly an hour to refill after flushing), he said it sounded like it needed a new fill valve. And because my plumber is the best (shout out to Corey at Fortitude HVAC!), he told me it was a $10 part at Home Depot and I could probably do it myself. (Seriously, Corey is the best – he’s even taught me how to descale my own tankless water heater so I can call him for maintenance less frequently.) I was nervous, but decided to give it a try. The process was much more involved than I was inspecting – starting with shutting off the water and draining the entire toilet before taking it all apart – but within an hour, I had done it and my toilet was now flushing and refilling in just seconds!

Chris proceeded to call me “Toilet Queen” or “TQ” the rest of the night… and I’m not going to lie, it was a nickname I was proud of. I still can’t believe I fixed it myself without calling a plumber!

With all the house tasks now completed, Chris and I headed over to Vail to meet my friends Kirk and Heather for the 10th Mountain Parade.

I am trying to stay more abreast of Vail events – they do a lot for a small town!

The 10th Mountain Division is a branch of the army that became famous during World War II for fighting the Nazis in the snowy mountains of Italy. They trained in Colorado to specialize in fighting in mountainous and arctic conditions, and after the war, many of them returned to Colorado –  including Pete Seibert and Earl Eaton, who climbed Vail and decided it would be the perfect ski resort.

To honor the 10th Mountain Division, the town of Vail hosts a event once a month where current army soldiers and 10th Mountain veterans ski down the mountain in a beautiful torchlit line to Gondola One. Once at the base, they parade through Vail Village, and finish at the steps of the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum, where there are free hot chocolate, photos, and commemorative pins.

Marching through the village streets…

I knew nothing about the 10th Mountain Division before this event, and it was fascinating to read the history of the 10th Mountain Division, Vail, and the broader history of skiing at the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum. I also loved the costume exhibit showing how ski clothing has changed over the decades, and I wish I had gotten to read more – there was so much to see! This museum was such a cool place, and I would definitely recommend it if you’re ever at Vail!

After the museum, we all headed over to dinner at Vin48, an upscale restaurant in Avon, where I belatedly got to celebrate Kirk’s 40th birthday (having been sick the week before). We had a table in the back area, and it was a really beautiful setting for a night of dinner and drinks with friends!

I didn’t sleep well on Friday night, so Saturday morning came too early. But despite my exhaustion, I was off to Beaver Creek for a full day of skiing. With the Talons Challenge only a week away, I wanted to do a trial run of as many of the trails as I could fit into the day. And, in particular, I wanted to try all the trails I had never done before, so I’d know what I was in for and could make a solid gameplan of which order to do them in. I started with a warmup run down the front of the mountain (Centennial), then over to Larkspur Bowl (Shooting Star, which I used to think of as steep), then headed over to Birds of Prey to tackle some of the steeper runs before my legs got too tired. The visibility was pretty poor, but the snow was fabulous! I wasn’t skiing my best (my skis were definitely too narrow for the powder), but I was doing a pretty good job – and having an absolute blast in the process!

Big thumbs up as I got ready to hit Birds of Prey!

After nailing Golden Eagle (the 2015 World Cup course for the men’s Super G), we knocked out the rest of the Birds of Prey from left to right – Goshawk, Peregrine (twice), and Kestral. I definitely didn’t like Peregrine – it was fine on a powder day like today, but I could see that steep face getting nasty if there weren’t snow and it was scraped off. I hoped that next week would have some decent snow!

I was definitely feeling ready for a full lunch after all that work, and when I headed to Talons Lodge, I found my friends Heather and Kirk there too. Perfect! Though not so perfect was when they made it their goal to convince me to come do the Royal Elk Glades – a double black diamond tree run at the very top of Grouse Mountain. I was a little nervous (and even more so when I got to the top and saw all the warning signs telling people that Royal Elk was technically not even in-bounds, though it shows up on the map)… but ended up loving it! There was one pretty steep part that was a little intense, but the rest of it felt kind of like adult recess as I darted in and out of the trees. I wouldn’t want to do it on an icy day, but Saturday, it was perfect!

Putting on a brave show at the top, despite the fact that all the warning signs had me a little nervous. But it was great!

The Talons Challenge doesn’t include either of the Glades in the challenge area (Royal Elk or Black Bear), so while Heather and Kirk decided to keep doing this one, I headed back to the front side of Grouse to check off at least the other double black diamonds I hadn’t done yet: Bald Eagle, Falcon Park, and Osprey. They were definitely pretty steep, and I think Bald Eagle is going to be my most-worried about run next week. As long as there’s fresh snow, I’ll be okay, but I don’t want to do it if it’s easy. Fingers crossed!

Finishing Bald Eagle and feeling strong! If I can get down this one okay, I know I’ll be fine for everything else.

I think my plan next Saturday is to warm up on one of the easy Larkspur runs (Shooting Star or Lupine), then head straight for Golden Eagle before it gets skied off, and then immediately tackle Bald Eagle – so that the two worst double diamonds are done first. From there, I’ll knock out the rest of the double diamonds before finishing on all the single diamonds when my legs are more tired. Think it’s a good strategy?? I hope so.

With all the trails now sufficiently scouted, I headed down the mountain for the best part of skiing at Beaver Creek – fresh baked chocolate chip cookies at 3:00pm! This is why I ski 😉

And they were giving out TWO at a time! Don’t mind if I do 😉

Post-BC, Chris, Heather, Kirk, and I agreed to meet up at Vail Brewing Company for apres – the first time I’ve actually been there apres vs just going on a Friday night when I get into town! It was the perfect low-key spot to kick back, and I loved the light and refreshing Deck Daze I got. I really like that they always have a slightly different variation on it (last time was peach, this time was passion fruit), so I never get bored with it.

And while I had originally been thinking I’d go home and crash early, I instead let myself be convinced to go to Heather and Kirk’s condo, hang out in the hot tub under the stars, and then enjoy a cozy dinner at their place. Twist my arm 😉

Sunday morning was unfortunately another semi-sleepless night, but I determinedly got up when my alarm went off – this morning, I had plans to ski with my friend Chad back at Breckenridge. It was about a 45 minute drive (made longer because of an accident on Vail Pass), but it was also back toward Denver, so I really couldn’t complain. However, when the two of us got out on the mountain, we discovered it was freezing – one of the coldest days I’ve ever skied! And to compound that, there were long lines everywhere. Chad and I only lasted about an hour before we made the mutual decision to call it a day. I was really glad we were on the same page with not wanting to ski when it was miserable!

I headed back to town, and rounded out my weekend doing some errands with my friend Heather before settling in for coffee back at my house. Heather needed to make a Costco run, and (shockingly)  I had never been to Costco before, so I was happy to accompany her. It ended up working out really well to catch up while we did errands – I may have to invite friends on more grocery store / Home Depot runs in the future 🙂


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