What do freeskiing, 60 degrees and Vail have in common? Me. Let me explain.
My friend John Broadbent, who works in St. Louis, MO two or three weeks each month, was back in town the week of April 7 so we made plans to schedule another day of skiing before the resorts shut down. When I contacted John on Monday, he mentioned that he was also planning to ski with his son, Dan, and at the time Jane was also planning to take a day off work to enjoy some weekday spring skiing. After a few phone exchanges we set Thursday, April 10 as our ski day.
Unfortunately Jane’s devotion to work got in the way, and a deluge of new deals arrived on Wednesday forcing her to cancel from the scheduled trip leaving John, Dan and I to fend for ourselves. John and Dan arrived at my house a bit early on Thursday morning, and we were on the road before 8AM. We did not want to arrive too early in case there was a freeze overnight. Skiing on refrozen thawed snow is one of the worst experiences one can encounter on a ski slope.
Everything worked according to plan, and we arrived at Vail by 10AM, and we parked in the heated covered Golden Peak Passport Club parking area for free. In addition, I had a free lift ticket resulting from renewing our Epic Pass early, so I donated that to John, which prompted Dan to suggest that John should buy us lunch since he saved $150 on a lift ticket and parking.
As our threesome boarded the chairlift at Golden Peak, the air temperature was 52 degrees at 10:30AM, and we were more concerned about sunburn than frostbite. We did one quick warm up run in the terrain park and then headed to the top of the mountain where we enjoyed runs in Sun Up Bowl and China Bowl. The snow was already soft in these areas due to the southern exposures.
For lunch we returned to the Vail Village base and enjoyed a filling lunch at Los Amigos on the patio overlooking the mountain. It was amazing to be seated instantly during the lunch hour at this popular establishment below the Vista Bahn gondola. I chose to sit in the sun facing the restaurant to avoid too much sun exposure to my face, but the tradeoff was a very toasty back. John graciously picked up the tab as suggested by his enterprising son.
After lunch we rode the WiFi equipped gondola and then connected with Mountaintop and dropped into Sun Up Bowl one more time. By this time all the slopes were exhibiting the texture of mashed potatoes, but I enjoy these conditions and the carefree attitude that seems to accompany spring skiing. After our final brief encounter with the back bowls we descended to the Golden Peak terrain park. Dan Broadbent is a freeskiing enthusiast, and he wanted to brush up on some of his jumps and moves, so John and I tagged along to observe. Well at least we thought we were observers until Dan coaxed us into executing some slides over the fun boxes positioned along the left side of the terrain park. The olympics are not in our future, but we did manage to slide across the box in lame fashion so that we can say we were freeskiing.
There you have it…the convergence of warm temperatures, freeskiing, and Vail ski resort. What a blast!