I’m snuggled into my seat on the bus ride back from Keystone, CO. 12 hours of shakey shake back to Kansas City, here I come!
A few months back I overheard a few guys in the hall at work talking about going skiing and I rudely invited myself. Told them if they put a trip together I definitely wanted to go. It turned out, to my surprise, that they did put one together and on Thursday night around 7pm we loaded into a Kincaid tour bus and hit the road!
The crew is Jason, Mary, Musa and myself. Jason put the trip together and it’s been a great time. Thursday we started partying as soon as we got on the bus. Jason brought a pitcher of margaritas and a pitcher of Stoli Dolis, which is just a pineapple soaked for a week in Stoli. Evil. By 10pm Jason and Mary were wrecked and passed out, Musa was pretty drunk and I had a pretty good buzz. Dinner was at McDonalds and then we busted out the bunks.
The bunks turned out to be surprisingly comfy and I’m happy to say I basically slept for the rest of the trip. By time I woke up I was having trouble breathing cause I was at 10,000 feet!
That was one of the first fun things I discovered. I can’t fuckin’ breath in the mountains! I’ve been basically short or out of breath the entire trip. It’s been annoying, but not a big deal. I imagine I’d get used to it eventually.
Anyway, around 7am Friday morning we rolled into Keystone and started dropping people off. We were the furthest out so we got to see all the lovely places to stay. I don’t know how everyone else’s accommodations were but ours were ultra-pimp. We had a three person condo so Jason and Mary got the master bedroom and Musa and I each got our own bedroom. Awesome. There was also a fully stocked kitchen, nice living room with a fireplace and two bathrooms. All this, the bus trip and a three day lift pass for around $400 each. Totally not bad.
Once we got settled in we immediately got ready and hit the slopes. It’s been a long, long time since I skied on a real mountain. The last time with was Ryan on Blue Mountain when I was like 17. So I had some learning to do. Jason’s a very good skier but Mary and Musa are both newbies. We set them up at ski school and headed up the biggest lift. Of course.
I didn’t do too bad right off the bat and felt pretty comfortable after an hour or so. We hit most of the greens on the front side of the mountain and started in on some of the easier blues. I was having a really hard time with my right thigh, it kept cramping up, and that ended up being a theme for the weekend. I don’t know what the deal is. I could tell I was being tense on my right leg but I never managed to figure out how to alleviate it. It didn’t stop me from skiing from about 10am till 4pm though! I had my iPod with me and rocked down the mountain to my new favorite band, “Explosions in the Sky” the entire time. Thanks Courtney!
We headed back with big plans to go grocery shopping and then night skiing. Yea. The next time I was conscious was 8am the next morning. Lucky for me everyone else completely passed out too.
The next morning I woke up aching but intent on doing some more skiing. Musa and Mary wussed out for the day so Jason and I suited up and hit the slopes again. This time we warmed up a little on the front and then headed for the back side of the mountain. At Keystone there’s two gondolas that handle part of the lift traffic. On the front you can go from River Run, which is the main entry point up to the top of the front of the mountain and then another one which runs from the top to the middle-top of another peak towards the back. We took that one and headed to the back. I was a little scared because there were no greens on the back. Only blues and blacks. Jason guaranteed me I wouldn’t have any troubles so I went with it.
The back side turned out to be my favorite, and I have some regrets about that. More on that a little further down. We started off on a trail called Fox Trot, which was labeled “Easiest Way Down” and it turned out to be my favorite trail. It was narrow and curvy and lined with cliffs and trees the whole way down, but very shallow. Nice, smooth, easy ride down to the bottom. Unfortunately I completely wiped out once and almost rolled off the mountain. I went to lift my right leg to stretch it, caught and edge and completely crashed. Woot!
Once we hit the bottom we took another lift up another mountain and hit the real “out back” of the mountain. None of the trails were groomed and they all started at hard blues. We took the easiest one down, which was called Elk Run and it was really fun. A little hard for me at times, as it was pretty steep and a little icy but I still enjoyed it. Back up to the top on another lift and we took another harder route down making our way back to the front so we could meet Mary for lunch.
Unfortunately about this time my right leg was pretty much giving out. I was having a lot of trouble maintaining control and I kept accidentally crossing my skis, which is like, bad. I wrecked a few more times trying to get to the bottom and by time I finally made it down I was completely done. Both legs were cramping and twitching and I could barely walk. Hooray for weakness!
We had some dinner and I hit the road for home while Jason and Mary stayed behind to practice some more. I pretty much cried the entire trip back.
I had barely settled in to take a little nap and Musa knocked on my door and told it was time to go tubing! This turned out to be pretty much the most fun of the trip and I can’t wait to do it again. We took the gondola back up the top and met the tubing hill!
The tubing is awesome. You plant your ass in a big truck tire tube and a ski dude throws you down an awesome tube hill. It’s a path about 15 feet wide shaped kind of like a half pipe and… actually, shaped exactly like a water slide. It comes up on both sides to keep you in and has two or three dips / jumps. It’s a total blast. They said people were getting speeds of about 45 MPH that night.
You could go straight down or opt to have the dude spin you and you could also link up with your friends and go down in a big train. It was $22/hr and worth every single penny. Highly recommended if you find yourself in Keystone.
So after that it was hot tub time and then finally, thankfully bedtime. I slept like shit, which was pretty awesome.
And now it’s Sunday! My legs were still hurting too much to think about skiing so Musa and I manned the bar while Jason and Mary practiced. And now it’s bus time and hopefully sleep time. I don’t feel like being awake for 12 hours of the dead of Kansas.
So, that’s my first ski trip to Colorado! I had a blast, and I’m gonna do it again in late February or early March and you are all invited! So start saving your pennies and go with me to Snow Creek a few time to practice and we’ll come out here and have a great time. Even if you don’t ski I think you could have a blast at Keystone.
Goodnight, I hope.
Oh, I have a few pictures on Flickr at this URL. Pretty huh?