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How Much We Like Our Friends

March 16, 2018

So yes, I should have done a goal check-in for February by now, and set some tasks for myself for March, but obviously I have not. What I did do was go with Mr. Karen to Utah and Colorado. He’s taken a trip like this, to meet up with friends and ski, a couple times since we’ve been retired; this was the first time I decided to join him. I’m a bit ashamed to admit that one of the reasons I was persuaded to leave the epic winter we’re having at our home mountain was one of the couples has a new dog, and I love dogs, as evidenced in how I lobbied to time our departure so we could see part of my favorite event of the town’s winter carnival, the K-9 Keg Pull. So many dogs in one place, with so many different reactions to pulling an appropriately sized beer container (empty) down a snowy track.

K-9 Keg Pull

 
You can see some snow falling in those keg pull pictures; it continued to do so for the first part of our drive, making for slower progress than we’d hoped. We had a clear stretch for a long while, then a really horrible patch where it was nearly impossible to see the road—as we emerged from that, we noticed they were closing that section of the freeway entirely. We also ran into one more closed section, though the weather through that stretch was clear, so we’re not sure what happened there. Between all the weather delays and some bad directions to our hotel thanks to a bad link in the confirmation e-mail, we didn’t get to our hotel in Salt Lake City until hours after we’d planned to. Thus the next day, instead of skiing, we slept in, had lunch at a favorite place from past trips, and explored Temple Square before meeting our friends for dinner.

Temple model

 
We did ski the next day, at Alta. Since our friends had their 3-year-old granddaughter with them, for her first ski trip, we didn’t all ski together but we did spend some time as a group, and in various combinations throughout the day. Alta seemed less expansive than I remembered; it is smaller than my home resort, and with the low snow year they’re having, not all their runs were open (and even when they are all open, there’s a lot of terrain there that’s beyond my ability/comfort level).

Yay, she's sliding!

 

The day after that, we met up with some other friends, also visiting from Michigan, at Snowbird. Snowbird was never one of my favorites, and my opinion hasn’t changed after skiing another day there. The architecture is still gulag-like, and the terrain is still full of steeps and cliffs and gullies I want no part of. There are some great views, though, and we enjoyed time spending time with our friends, both on the slopes and at dinner (at an Afghan restaurant, a new cuisine to me, which I like very much).

Snowbird scenery

 
Our original plan at this point had been to head to Colorado, near Vail, to spend the weekend with friends there. Unfortunately, the wife was stuck in Denver due to a medical issue (she should have a full recovery, thank goodness), so we jumped ahead to the next phase, driving over to Steamboat Springs, arriving an hour or so before our host returned from a trip he took to California. They didn’t have any better snow conditions than in Utah, but we skied anyway, just for one day, then hiked and snowshoed the next. We also enjoyed the hot tub in our friend’s condo complex.

Fish Creek

 

In a happy turn of events, the friend who’d been stuck in Denver was released for travel back to altitude while we were in Steamboat, and she and her husband (but not their new dog, alas) stopped by on their way back home and we were able to spend the afternoon and evening catching up. The next morning, we started on our trip home. We took two days, encountering some snow and ice along the way (after no snow at all the days we skied on this trip) but it wasn’t nearly as bad as on the way down.

Scenery

 

I enjoyed seeing our friends and revisiting different ski mountains, but I was also glad to get home. We’d missed several good powder days, as evidenced by the amount of snow on our deck. Ah well, these things happen. Next year, though, if we have another great snow year, I might have to insist our friends visit us up here. We did have guests while we were gone, unexpectedly. A friend who lives near Spokane texted me to say her daughter was visiting and wanted to ski and did we feel like company that weekend. I would have loved to see them (and her dog, who I like very much), but being several states away it wasn’t going to work. We said they could use our place as long as they could deal with it not being guest ready, which they did.

Home again

 

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