Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Rocky Mountain Hi

Greetings from 10,000 feet in the Colorado Rockies. I am attending "ski camp" for the first time in three years, having been detained in the past for reasons of health, death, house issues, and the general flotsam and jetsam of life. Ski camp was formed eleven years ago when my best friend and I went heli-skiing in the Canadian Rockies and met a retired gentleman from Japan who had a passion for skiing. We became good friends and agreed to meet yearly at the Breckenridge condo of my friend for a week of skiing, single malt, and the pleasure of each other's company.

Over the years other camp members have been invited and I, as one of the originals have had a spotty attendance record, but the "camp" itself occurs at this time every year.

This year, I decided to drive out from Minnesota rather than fly. There were a couple of reasons for that, but the primary one was that I was not sure how my chronic lung condition would react to a sudden jump in altitude - going from roughly 400 ft above sea level to almost 10,000 feet above sea level. I thought if I made the trip over two days, gradually gaining altitude, then perhaps I would fair better.

The drive itself was pretty interesting. I was alone for the majority of it. I had a long audio book that saw me through most of the journey and there were plenty of small towns and little cafes to break the driving marathon.

The plains themselves are always interesting to me. Partly because I am so seldom there, but also for the infinite horizon lines and the different light. I saw amazingly large strings of geese over the fields of Nebraska during the early morning and late afternoon hours. They were so numerous that parts of the sky were darkened with snarky clouds that boiled and moved in different directions.

I arrived at the Denver airport right on time to pick up our Japanese friend who flew in from 10 days of skiing out of Salt Lake City. We loaded up the little Prius and headed into the mountains to double our altitude. I was curious to see how the tiny engine in the Prius would handle the long, steep climbs and I was pleasantly surprised when we were able to keep up with the traffic even though the little engine sounded like it was wound pretty tight. We actually were able to average 41 mpg from the airport to the condo in Breckenridge.

That was Sunday and today is Tuesday. Monday was a day for trying out creaky old legs, deflated lungs, anemic circulation systems, and muscles more attuned for movie watching from the couch than trying to shove two hundred pounds of meat, metal, and plastic from side to side whilst traveling at insane speeds down steep slopes.

My friend who owns the condo was gentle with us. He seldom lounges on a couch, lives at this altitude all winter, skis every day and can still wear the clothes he did when in high school. Our Japanese friend just came from ten days of powder skiing in Utah so has a jump start on me altitude wise. This is tempered by the fact that he has more than a decade on us two sexagenarian "athletes."

Then there is me. I am without a doubt in the worst physical condition of my life. I am 30 pounds too heavy. I haven't seen the inside of a gym or the seat of my bicycle in years. Two days before leaving, I had a gout flare up and then left the prescribed medication sitting on the dining room table as I headed out. It was with trepidation that I clamped my feet into my skis yesterday at the bottom of the hill.

I am happy to report that all three of us made it off the mountain without injury and while two went on to the hot tub, I stayed at the condo to prepare a huge pot of cashew chili for later consumption with wine and single malt.

Today has dawned clear and sunny. Another chance for physical mayhem lies before us. I'll let you know how it turns out.


Blogger lime said...

sounds like and adventurous group and a group bound to have a helluva lot of fun no matter what they are doing together. happy skiing, drinking, and the rest.

3:17 PM, February 02, 2010  
Blogger Kristie said...

"Sexagenarian"--that word sounds pretty good, methinks. :o)

And cashew chili sounds pretty awesome as well. Share the recipe???

10:46 PM, February 02, 2010  
Blogger 21k said...

what a thrilling time, I'm so glad to read of it, it makes me think i might put my skis on again one day as well.

8:50 AM, February 04, 2010  
Blogger Phaedrous said...

Why DD, thanks for stopping by. I am a huge fan.


8:53 AM, February 04, 2010  
Blogger Bucque said...

Glad to hear your back in the Breck... I keep expecting to hear from you, considering I'm in the newest, biggest, ski area in North America,...and there's always a room for you here..

Stay healthy and stay in touch


11:06 PM, February 09, 2010  

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