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Flying into Denver and heading towards the Rockies is always a treat.  There is nothing more impressive than crossing the flat plain and seeing the mountains looming in front of you like a massive wall.  This trip, I am headed to the heart of ski country... Beaver Creek, Vail, and Breckenridge for a bit of late season spring skiing.  Since I arrived late on Saturday, the drive to Beaver Creeek was a long one that included beautiful sunny skies in Denver, a messy snowstorm over the mountain pass and a cold clear night on arrival in Avon.  

Day 1 and I am having a bit of trouble with my right ear.  That means balance is off and no skiing today.  I have ensconced myself at the base of Beaver Creek in the lobby of the Park Hyatt Hotel.  A wonderful location with a two story window overlooking the mountain.  A cup of coffe and the Sunday paper started the day.  Otherwise, I wandereed through the village enjoying the shops and restaurants.  

Day 2 Breckenridge!  What a fabulous day.  Weather is 55* and full sun.  The mountain is spectacular and perfect for my intermediate skiing ability.  Plenty of choices and fast runs on wide hills.  Just the way I like to ski.  Don’t be fooled, ther ere plenty of challenging runs on this mountain... the knees just aren’t up to it.  And for those who like extreme sports, the terrain park is very challenging with a great viewing area off to the side.  I spent a good 20 minutes watching kids of all ages jump, spin and flip off of huge jumps.  The one that really got me was the kids who couldn’t have been more than 5, in the terrain park on his own.  NO FEAR!

Day 3 Vail.  A day off from skiing to rest the knees, but the boys were up on the hill.  I took some time to wander through town and doo some window shopiing.  Definately a shopping mecca for the rich and famous.  It is fun to poke around the fur store and try on some fabulous coats.  Boots, skis, furnishings, you can find all sorts of things you don’t really need, but that are extraordinarily beautiful!  I had a delicious cup of loaded potato soup paired with a Stella for lunch at the base of teh Born Free Express Lift and the Eagle Bahn gondola.  I have decided that I had better ski the other side of Vail since the trails that I could see were all black diamond and full of moguls.  Not good for the knees!

Day 4 and we are back to Vail.  Today, I am toting my skis and ready for some fun.  The weather is coperating again and the lift attendants are working in tank tops!  It is even warm at the peak.  First, I should tell you that it took over 1/2 hour and two seperate lifts to get us to the top... including one lift that first went up and then DOWN a mountain before going back up again to the top peak!  The ride itself was thrilling.  Since I am an intermediate skier, the trip down took almost an hour.  We sampled some of the blue and green trails, but I definately prefer blue.  At least there is a slope and gravity takes up some of the work!

Tonight, we stayed in Vail for the 80’s flashback concert with Chadzilla.  But first, some nourishment at The Red Lion.  The owner, Phil, is also a musician and he had a great show going during dinner... taking requests and playing tunes from the 60’s and 70’s.  When he was finished, he made the rounds of the room thanking everyine for coming and making sure they had a good time.  A nice touch!  The FREE concert started at 6 and included an 80’s costume contest for the locals along with a chance to win a VOLVO.  For one woman, it was her second time in the finals, and unfortunately for her, she still did not win :(  There were plenty of leg warmers, workout outfits and even a few wind suits  UGH!  Can you believe we thought we looked good?    

Day 5 I started the morning with a trip to the steam room and the hot tub to loosen the old muscles.  That worked terriffic, but I think the impending weather front has put my ear off again... so no skiing for me.  But the kids loved Vail, so it was a day of back bowl skiing for them.

Day 6 Last day before we head  home and the weather has turned.  Snow in the pass between here and Denver has caused the Interstate to be closed.  They are calling for more than three feet of snow in the high passes.  Thankfully, Vail is located between Avon and the closed section of the highway.  Good news for us since the skiers from Denver can’t make it through the pass and the hill is fairly empty today!  After a short day of skiing... we are all getting a bit tired, we hung out at the condo until evening.  Then we headed back into Vail to attend the Breitling All Mountain Film Comp Premier Party at Garfinkels in LionsHead Village.  What talent!  Both the skiers in the videos and the videographers were quite talented and the competitors were on a professional level.  The best part was realizing that the guys we saw filming all over the mountain that week were actually present at the premier and having as much fun as we were!

 All in all, I would recommend the last week of ski season.  Great weather, lots of extra activities to participate in (we did miss out on the free OAR concert and the World Pond Skimming Championships because we departed on Saturday instead of Monday) and sunny skies with warm weather!  This  is defiantely a vacation I would do again!


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