I am a Florida girl and absolutely hate being cold. This likely being the reason that I never attempted to ski before. Under the advisement of many friends that promised I would love skiing and comforting me with the phrase of “You will not even get cold,” I treated myself to a trip to the Rockies to ring in my 30th trip around the sun.
This was also my first time in CO, and I had only been out West once prior to Colorado. I am lucky to have Jessica, my childhood neighbor and best friend of 20+ years that just re-relocated to Denver after living in Sydney for a few years. (I visited her in Australia too, I’m happy she chooses to live in pretty rad places).
We spent the first few days enjoying the chill Patagonia clad coffee culture in Denver before heading out to the slopes at Beaver Creek. I signed up for a full day ski lesson, and to my surprise I was the Queen of the Bunny Slope. My rollerblading skills translated nicely to the slope as I was making turns and maneuvering around the kiddos in ski school.
I loved skiing right away, and my friends were right, I wasn’t cold at all. In fact, I was sweating through my 3 layers. At the end of my lesson I told Jessica I was a ski prodigy, and may have used the phrase, “I’m ready to ride giants, Koonu!”
At Arrowhead I prepared for my first real mountain ride on a “Bluebird Day,” (this is snow bunny speak for blue skies on the mountain). I went onto the green circle ski trail with Jess, as she motivated me though my 40 minute fall down the mountain.
Apparently the mountains have several degrees of a steeper incline than the bunny slope. I hit moments of having a blast where it felt like I was carving through the ice, followed by moments of distress as my skis popped off, displayed out in the snow like a yard sale. Jess kept me positive when I got into a panic and kept saying “It’s not that bad, you’re in the mountains. It’s a beautiful day.” If it weren’t for her motivation, I would have called the rescue tobogan at the conclusion of my 3rd fall, that was a gentle slide into a tree. The “Bluebird Day” left me very black and blue for a few weeks.
After one trip down the mountain, I determined I had a bit of “Ski Hubris” and I was more fit for the bunny slope my second day of skiing. Despite my injuries, I think I’m hooked on skiing. Well, as hooked as I can be living in a place that hasn’t seen snow in my entire lifetime.
CO was breathtaking at every turn. Being in the mountains was a humbling experience, and driving through them with my lifelong friend blasting Arcade Fire’s “Reflektor” album is an unforgettable memory. For the next 30 years, I’m challenging myself to enjoy the world in other ways I never thought I would before and hoping more lifelong friends join the journey.