Closing My Ski Season at Telluride, Snowbird and Alta

Closing Day Celebration in Telluride

Parking Lot Closing Party at Alta

Alpine Views at Snowbird

Let me see here. Hmmm. I feel like I’ve forgotten how to write.

Although I’ve had mountains of stories crafted in my head these past months, I have not been able to sit down and write them. I’ve either been too tired or just too busy skiing–both for work and pleasure. (The former being a product of the latter of course.) And as much as I miraculously remained fairly healthy throughout much of the season, I was slammed with a horrific cold at the end of March, which turned into a sinus problem that’s been hard to shake. Ugh.

Celebrating the End of Ski Season is for All

Mary Ann and Mary Dawn at the KOTO End of Season Street Dance

But here I am now, slowly but surely transitioning into my writer’s life. I hate to make promises, although now that I’ve put my skis away, you should be hearing much more from me in the coming months.

What a Setting for a Party

Cheers to a Great Season

It was a super season here in Telluride topped off with a fun-filled closing weekend made even more merry by the visit of a dear friend, Margie, from Scottsdale. The snow gods blessed Telluride with a spectacular snowfall the last week of the season, so we closed with a base of mid-winter proportions. Sigh. I suppose all good things have to come to an end. Thank goodness Telluride Ski Resort and KOTO Radio know how to throw great parties to mark the end of the ski season. No matter how you look at it, we went out with a bang!

Closing Day Scene in Telluride

Margie and Me

Partytime

Oh Yeah

Striking a Pose in Vintage Ski Gear

Margie, the Llama and the Guys

After having logged a lot of much needed couch time–yes, there’s always a big accumulation of fatigue by the end of the ski season–I was thrilled to go on one last hurrah in Utah with my boyfriend, Steve. We always enjoy skiing at other resorts once Telluride closes and this time we decided to travel far–beyond our usual Aspen and Vail visits–to meet up with my brother Frank and some of his old friends in Snowbird. It’s a six-hour drive from Telluride but boy, is it worth it.

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Starting the Year Off Right: Taking Care from Head to Toe

One of My New Year's Resolutions: Go More to the Pool at The Peaks Resort & Spa

One of My New Year’s Resolutions: Go More to the Pool at The Peaks Resort & Spa

Phew, these have been the busiest mid-winter weeks of any ski season I’ve experienced. As I wrote in my story, January 2017: One of the Snowiest on Record for Colorado, the snow totals from the past month have been ridiculous! The fluffy white stuff just kept coming down.

And Telluride Ski Resort has remained busy–at least by our standards. But don’t worry, lift lines are still a rarity. There were surely a few records broken during the week between Christmas and New Year’s, characteristically our busiest week of the season. I know that private ski lessons sold out during that period and I was grateful to have been blessed with some lovely clients. It was rewarding to see that I helped them to improve their turns and, of course, we had lots of fun and good chats, too. (Take that as a heads up in case you want to book a private lesson in Telluride during the upcoming busy vacation weeks.)

It looks like the days of a January lull are over. In addition to Americans, more and more international skiers have discovered Telluride. I had a Russian lady and a Brazilian in my class the other day and then offered some assistance to Chinese people looking for directions as I left the mountain. No sir, Telluride is no longer a best-kept secret.

As usual, after the holiday rush, resort workers were falling ill like clumps of snow off the pines on a sunny day, however, I have not been slammed with sickness this year. I have been weakened these past weeks but have fortunately been winning the battle. So instead of keeping up with my writer’s life, I’ve been focused on catching up on my rest and taking care of my body when not on the mountain.

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January 2017: One of the Snowiest on Record for Colorado

Spectacular Telluride Weather

Spectacular Telluride Weather

Our Cold and Snowy Mountain Town

Our Cold and Snowy Mountain Town

Cold and Snow Make for Great Skiing

Cold and Snow Make for Great Skiing

Brrrrr

Brrrrr

Into the Mist

Into the Mist

Whoa! What a month it has been. With over eight feet of snow that fell in Telluride–as well as tons in other mountain towns of Colorado–the skiing and riding have been epic. It seems as though visitors and locals have been alternatively stoked and exhausted. It takes a lot of energy to plow through all that fresh powder whether it’s on the slopes, in your driveway, on your deck or on the snow-packed roads you travel on to go to work. (I’m an exceptional driver on our windy, mountain roads, especially with the help of my Arctic Claw snow tires, however, many aren’t, so it takes an infinite amount of patience to putz behind slow-moving vehicles when driving to work in such wintry conditions. That’s after the morning departure has already been greatly delayed by having to defrost and clean off the car. No, the start-of-the-day routine in the dead of winter in the Rockies is not for sissies.)

My Windshield

My Windshield

January: A Big Month for Ongoing Ski Instructor Training

January: A Big Month for Ongoing Ski Instructor Training

Avalanche Control Work on Ajax

Avalanche Control Work on Ajax Mountain

But we made it! The past few days have almost felt like spring. Sure, there will still be a lot of cold and snow left to this winter–let’s hope so at least–but I doubt we’ll see a string of days like the many we just endured in January. It must have been one of the greyest months on record, too. And as much as I like the cold and snow, there was many a morning when I felt a sense of dread about going out and freezing my butt off yet again. No matter how many layers I wore and despite electric boot warmers, boot gloves and hand warmers, it was hard most days to shake off the chill. When the sun doesn’t shine here in Colorado, it can feel mighty cold indeed. more »

Ski Dreams

Vail After One of Our Big Spring Snowstorms

Vail After One of Our Big Spring Snowstorms

I dreamed of skiing last night. I felt the joy of doing sweet turns on soft, slushy snow on a bright and sunny spring day. The sky appeared bluer than blue, even bluer than a Colorado sky, making the scene feel surreal. It was, of course, just a dream. But still, when I woke up, I felt the sense of freedom and exhilaration one feels after doing some great turns on the slopes. Those feelings are fleeting now but it was swell while it lasted.

I chatted on the phone with my boyfriend yesterday and he told me the skiing is fabulous in Keystone. “Nice corn snow, Hun. Really great spring skiing,” he emphasized.

I guess those words have stuck with me, particularly since I remember with great fondness a week of skiing we shared at Keystone and Breck, A-Basin and Vail this time of year a couple of years ago.

Actually I’ve been following the Colorado ski season ever since it suddenly ended for me on March 22, the day my father passed away.

Some might think that winter is over and so is the skiing. But those in the know, know that some of the best days may be relished throughout the end of March and all the way into the better part of April in the West. Those can be big snow weeks and with the base that most Colorado ski resorts have benefited from this season, even without fresh pow, the good skiing can go on and on and on.

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Goodbye to Dad

Dad Taking His First Look at the Grand Canyon in 2010

Dad Taking His First Look at the Grand Canyon in 2010

Yesterday was a tough day. From the first look at the notifications on my phone, I woke up sad about the news of the terrorist attacks in Belgium. My heart goes out to Belgium, my Belgian friends, Europe and to all of humanity in general. It’s hard not to feel down about the state of world affairs today.

I headed out to ski–to teach a lesson to a little boy I had been with the past few days–and experienced the worst day on the mountain of this season. It was windy, icy and horribly bleak. Fortunately I was skiing with a joyful six-year-old who was thrilled to be on the hill, no matter the conditions.

We stopped for a hot chocolate break. I settled my little guy into his seat at the table with another instructor and his young charge. Just as I was plopping the marshmallows into the chocolate at the beverage counter, I got the call. Yes, THE CALL. The one I had always dreaded, the one that informed me of the passing of my father. It was, of course, from Mom. We spoke no more than a couple of minutes and although this was unexpected news, I got it right away. Mom and I connected on this and then we let each other go.

I almost passed my boy off to another instructor but I decided to keep him; I chose to complete my assignment, largely because we had done some serious bonding and I didn’t want the last part of his Telluride Ski School experience to be with someone new. I shed some tears with other members of my Ski School family while my little dude twirled ice cubes in his frothy drink. We then headed out to ski.

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Telluride Ski School History: A Rich and Storied Tale

Instructors Lined Up at the Gorrono Meeting Place

Instructors Lined Up at the Gorrono Meeting Place

Teaching a Student

Teaching a Student on Skinny Straight Skies

The Early Days

The Early Days

Originally published in Masters of the Mountain 2015-2016, the new Telluride Ski & Snowboard School magazine, I’m posting my expanded version of my Telluride Ski School History story below along with photos from days gone by and shots from this season.

The mountain was raw. We were into steep skiing. The town was wild. We never knew it was going to go this far,” says longtime Telluride ski instructor Cindy Smith about the early days of Telluride. “There was a lot of craziness,” she adds, “but boy, was it fun.”

From people riding horses into the New Sheridan Bar to lines of cocaine laid out on the tables of certain establishments, there was some outrageous behavior going on in T-ride during the old days (the seventies through early eighties) and indeed some blatant lawlessness. “Some people even say that firemen would come in and hose people down in the the bars on really rowdy nights,” Cindy continues.

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Telluride’s Women’s Week Celebrates Thirty-Five Years

My Ladies and Me

My Ladies and Me

I just finished teaching skiing to some great ladies during the January session of Telluride Women’s Week at Telluride Ski Resort. It was wonderful and since there are two more sessions this year (in February from the 7th to the 11th and the 26th to the 28th), I thought I’d let you in on some of the fun. Originally published in Masters of the Mountain 2015-2016, the new Telluride Ski & Snowboard School magazine, I’m posting my unedited version of my story below along with my own selection of Telluride Women’s Week photos from this year and years past.

Atop Prospect Bowl with My Ladies

Atop Prospect Bowl with My Ladies

Snowboard Instructor Lindsey Mesereau Photographed Atop Revelation Bowl by Her Lady

Snowboard Instructor Lindsey Mersereau Photographed Atop Revelation Bowl by Her Lady

Snowy Smiles

Snowy Smiles

Women, skiing, snowboarding, instruction, wine, apps, laughs, hot chocolate, girl talk, girl power, toasts, victories, sharing, learning, shopping, dining, fun. Of course all this and more occurs on a daily basis at Telluride Ski Resort, however, it happens tenfold during Women’s Week, ladies-only programs for skiers and riders interested in improving their skills within a supportive environment.

Founded by Annie Vareille-Savath, Telluride Women’s Week will be celebrating its thirty-fifth year this season with three sessions: one in January and two in February. “Whenever you immerse yourself with the same instructor and the same group of people for several days, you have the opportunity to get in depth knowledge followed up with consistent feedback and the support of the rest of the group,” says Annie, Telluride’s veteran ski instructor who is entering her forty-fourth season. “This really helps you to progress.”

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Ho, Ho, Ho, Happy Snow Year

Sugar-Frosted Trees at Telluride Ski Resort

Sugar-Frosted Trees at Telluride Ski Resort

Rainbow Snow and Cold

Rainbow Snow and Cold

Sunrise at T-ride

Sunrise at T-ride

Me in Telluride: One of the Most Beautiful Places on Earth

Me in Telluride: One of the Most Beautiful Places on Earth

You can tell the snow has been great since I haven’t posted in a while. Here in Telluride, we’ve had thirteen feet of snow so far this year. It’s turning out to be an epic season for Colorado!

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