Winter Park, CO...it's about 9:00 in the morning. We've traveled all night and done our best to sleep on a bus. Now it's time to rent some skis and do this thing!
Ryan, Gary, Elise, Allison, and Max (outside Alpine Sun, Ski Rentals):
Michael Archer, who is 18 now...able to sign his own medical release form. Which is good. He's a snowboarder. Those guys are dangerous!
The creepy skiing guy who lives above the fireplace of Timber House Lodge:
Standing in front of Billy Wood's Trail, the one that takes us directly from the mountain to the front door of our lodge. Awesome.
Ryan, standing in front of Timber House Lodge. No cell phones. No TV. No video games of any kind. It's a true ski lodge. Big fireplace in the living room. Amazing meals (complete with people-gathering-dinner-bell...oh so charming.) Run by a guy named Todd. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!! It's the best.
Stephanie (the Wildcat) and Laura (the Jayhawk) making peace (...for now!):
How many guys does it take to put on Terry's pants? Three...apparently. And some special pliers:
It was a church trip, so these three managed to stand close enough together to get a picture...it wasn't easy!
Scott, Laura, Zack, Stephanie (and Michael, on the ground) getting ready to be awesome:
Nobody was sprayed in the taking of this photo (Stephanie, Laura, and Scott):
This one was a close call. I think Zack saw my camera or I would have been toast:
At the top of Mary Jane:
"This one looks good and treacherous!"
Ready to plunge to our deaths:
Laura got a "tip" from a guy on the ski lift about a really great "WIDE OPEN" slope with moguls that would be easier than Brian's Run. As we ventured deeper in to this FOREST, we realized that guy was insane - worthy of being hunted and punished. It was our fault in the end. We ignored the clues. First would have been the giant "warning" sign about how ski patrol doesn't go in to these woods; second, that the only exit is a black diamond called "Drunken Frenchman"; third, this forest didn't even have a name. It wasn't even on the map:
Here's the view from where I was standing. Anything look "WIDE OPEN" to you?
After a good 30 minutes in the woods, we eventually got to Drunken Frenchman. Here's Ryan - not laughing:
Below, you can see Laura, Stephanie, Scott, and several other idiots who may or may not have been there on purpose. Moguls for miles:
I'm so fast!
Hockey stop! (I actually did not spray a single person on this trip - on purpose! )
SKIT NIGHT!!! (also, pajama night):
I found it amusing that Laura has a similar "sleeper" to the little boy on the right. His sleeper had dinosaurs. Hers had Polar Bears. Both had footies.)
Elise, Stephanie, Laura and a little girl from the audience:
Arnold and James:
Terry, joining in on what I can only describe as a skit that would have killed in 1972:
The top of Vasquez Cirque, where expert skiers go to seriously hurt themselves (we were there to take pictures):
The long ride to 12,000 feet:
The (impossible to capture) view from the tallest point in Winter Park:
That's, like...three different mountain ranges? The sky was so clear and blue. We could see for miles:
It's also super windy at the top, so goggles are necessary (smiles, optional):
MAX VAG-NAH! calling Michael (who was sitting right next to us) to see if he would climb up to the top to take a picture with him:
Max, Mike and Gary - climbing to the North Cone (12,060 feet):
Michael and Max (who ate a "FROH-ZEN SNEEKAHS" at the top...he's German, if I haven't mentioned that yet. Also, hilarious.)
This is the path we took from the top of the bowl. You can see where we were (the very top) and how far we've gone. Those runs are the best...like 5 miles long!
Michael Archer, not so dangerous after all:
The very last day and our very favorite run at Winter Park...Cheshire Cat. When it's not being used for time trials, we ski it over and over again:
We skied all day Saturday, all day Sunday, and most of the day Monday. Then we showered, changed clothes, and packed up our bus for the long drive home. (we left Winter Park at 3:00 on Monday and got home around 6:00 on Tuesday morning) Our tradition is to stop in Denver for dinner at Casa Bonita. Casa Bonita is awesome for three reasons. 1. Cliff Divers 2. Sopaipillas 3. Flags
Here we are in front of the giant fountain outside Casa Bonita:
And in case you didn't believe me, here's the proof! Live Entertainment! Gun Fights! Cliff Divers! Magicians! Dancing Monkeys!! All very good reasons to eat here:
You shouldn't have any trouble finding the place. It's in a REALLY safe part of town, and it has a giant, pink tower on top:
It's no J.C. Nichols, but it's pretty darn great:
Oh! And the best part, I got to meet up with my old pledge mom from college. She lives in Denver now. Thanks, Facebook!
This is her husband and daughter - so cute:
They shoved us in this tiny little room, overlooking the Cliff Divers. There was a minute there when we thought Jason (the Cliff Diver) was going to visit Laura (his biggest fan) but that fell through. I blame James:
Of course, the entertainment included a guy in a gorilla costume (I suspect it was Jason...the swim trunks looked vaguely familiar):
Excellent "bus ride" snack:
Ryan tried to explain Casa Bonita to Max, the German exchange student. Ryan told him it was like "Chuck E Cheese", only Mexican. That didn't help:
Our last attempt at making Stephanie (the one and only K-State fan on our trip) feel like an outsider. There's nothing like Jayhawk love (see how comfortable she looks?):
The poem I wrote for Skit Night:
For the 31st time
we have boarded a bus
and headed for new-fallen snow.
With jackets and pants
and our colorful hats
it's easy to see why we go.
There's something exciting
and brave in the way
you point your skis down a steep hill.
And with a deep breath
there's a lot to be said
for that brief but spectacular thrill.
And maybe you're not
the adventurous sort
who just wants to ski really fast.
But if you ask James
or Zack, they will tell you -
"it's easy to spray when you're last!"
Maybe you paid
40 bucks for your lunch
or maybe lift lines were a factor?
Maybe you followed
your friends through the woods
or mistook a kid's coat for a tractor?
Maybe you fell
while attempting a jump.
Or maybe you fell standing still?
Maybe you bruised
the right side of your face?
And now you're in need of a pill?
You may have been left
on a hill by yourself
or maybe your boot bruised your shin.
But this time next year
when the trip is announced
you'll still want to do it again.
Not sure if these work, but here you go (just in case). The first one is me. The second one is Ryan (with a tiny bit of Michael Archer over on the side...snowboarding.):