I have created a Flickr account and created an album to share all of our pictures that can be viewed here.
My trip to Aspen was arranged through the Backyard Wilderness Pursuits group here at Luther along with 15 students. It was an incredible opportunity and decided I had to go….and for the price, it was a no brainier. We took off early Saturday morning on March 21, the beginning of Luther’s spring break. I completed my share of driving from Decorah to Des Moines right way so I had the rest of the drive to relax, read and sleep. We got to our hotel about 11 p.m. mountain time that night and went right to bed...apparently the excitement from driving through Nebraska was not enough to keep us up.
The next morning we woke up early to get to the hill before most of the crowd. Our passes allowed us to ski on four mountains; Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk. As a group we decided that the first two days we would ski at Snowmass and the last day we would ski at Aspen Highlands. Snowmass is the largest mountain and had the most variety for different skill levels which made for some great skiing. I had never skied outside of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa and I was really pumped to see what it was like in Colorado. To say the least, I was not let down.....
Our first day was relatively warm, up around 50-60 degrees at the base but very windy at the top. Being able to stay on runs for over 30 minutes took some getting used to but throughout the trip my legs held up extremely well. I started out with some of the easier runs and worked my way up to blues right away once I got my legs under me. One of my favorite runs that we did was called “Longshot.” We took the lift to the top of the mountain and then had to hike up even further to start the trail. My roommate, Aaron, who was on the trip as well has a Blackberry and we decided to e-mail our parents the sign posted before the trail that read, “Back country skiing: Risks include death.” Needless to say, I received a text from my Mom moments after she received the picture.
It was an awesome run where we were all by ourselves surrounded by nothing but snow and trees. Longhorn is the longest run on the mountain at 5.3 miles from top to bottom with no way out but the trail itself.
After a long day of skiing we went to Glenwood Springs for dinner at a microbrewery and came back to the hotel to relax in the much needed hot tub.
Monday was much of the same, skiing at Snowmass again. Only Monday had something even
better for us at the mountain, 5 inches of fresh powder. I had never skied in fresh powder and as my Dad said, “You will never want to ski in the Midwest again.” He was right. It was awesome! We did one run first before heading right back to Longshot. Only 2 or 3 people had been on the run before us and we were able to carve our own trail the whole way down. It was a little more work with more powder and it took a toll on the legs but it was worth it. The rest of the day was much of the same, trying to figure out the runs we had not been on yet and attempting some runs that were above my skill level. It was a great day and to my surprise the hill was pretty empty. We went over an hour of skiing without seeing more than 2-3 people on the same run as us.
That night a few of us decided to eat in downtown Aspen and get the full experience. We ate at a really nice Italian restaurant to fuel up for our final day of skiing.
For our last day of skiing we went to Aspen Highlands to ski. It is known to be the locals favorite as well as the most difficult of the four mountains. On Monday, we didn’t think we could top skiing in 5 inches of fresh powder but apparently, skiing in 14 inches is much better. We were getting way to spoiled. Highlands had some really awesome runs that were a lot of fun. We decided to attempt a long double black diamond with moguls and I paid the price. I made my way through the first ½-3/4 of the hill without much problem but the last part of the hill became extremely steep with some lager moguls. I took a pretty good crash and lost my skis.
My problem was not so much maneuvering through the moguls, but just getting my skis back on was the biggest problem. Once I thought I had my ski in and took off, only to be surprised when I took a turn that my ski was not completed locked in. It was frustrating but I finally made it down and decided not to attempt that demanding of a run again.
My experience in Aspen was awesome. The views were spectacular along with the skiing. Ally and I are heading to Boulder this summer to stay with her cousin and I cannot wait to go back.