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travel: steamboat springs, colorado

Saturday, January 30th, 2016

Anyone who has happened upon this blog between October and May (sometimes June!) will have probably noticed that we like to ski around here. It’s hard to avoid when Colorado boasts about thirty ski resorts (give or take a few). Multi-mountain ski passes are popular because a single pass offers unlimited access to a handful of mountains plus a few free days at a sampling of other mountains. This year we have the Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus which allows unlimited skiing at Copper Mountain, Winter Park, and Eldora (our local hill), as well as some bonus lift tickets at other mountains including six days at Steamboat Ski Resort. Jeremy and I had only ever visited Steamboat Springs in summer, and briefly… but Steamboat always gets the goods when snow falls in Northern Colorado. The resort has even trademarked “Champagne Powder”. We had to see what all the fuss was about.

elevation map of colorado (warmer colors correspond to higher elevations)

Nestled in the upper valley of the Yampa River, Steamboat Springs rests at the base of the Park Range. As ski towns go, Steamboat is an actual town with services, a bustling pedestrian-friendly main street, cheerful residents (numbering around 12,000), and more terrific restaurants than you could shake a stick at. While the town has spendy options, folks aren’t there “to be seen” so much as to simply enjoy mountain living. It’s a good vibe.

The day we arrived, Steamboat was reporting seven inches of fresh powder overnight and continued snowfall throughout the day. We parked in the Meadows Lot (free) and caught one of the frequent (and clean) shuttles to the base area. From there, we hopped the gondola to mid-mountain and a lift to the summit where we began exploring a foot of untracked new snow in the trees. This was some of the fluffiest fluffy fluff I’ve ever had the pleasure to ski. Okay, Steamboat – you get to keep “Champagne Powder”.

from the lift – all that new snow

jeremy bounces his way through the aspens

We skied until our legs were jelly and took the gondola back down to the base area, not wanting to waste our energy on blue and green groomers as we had already scoped out more potential powder stashes for the following day. Once in town, we checked into the Rabbit Ears Motel – a good option for folks who are budget travelers. We got an especially good mid-week rate and AAA discount. While the lodging was decent, I think it may have been a little too budget for our tastes as we had almost no room for the both of us to sit down and work. Neva’s doggy daycare person suggested The Nordic Inn, which is a little nicer for a little more coin. From the motel, we walked several blocks to Sake2U – a popular spot right on the Yampa River – for a fantastic sushi dinner. Any day you can ski and sushi is a GOOD day.

sake2u under pillows of snow

hamachi (yellowtail) poke over seaweed salad with enoki mushrooms

kombat roll: spicy tuna, spicy salmon, spicy hamachi, with three tobiko and house fire sauce

ama ebi (sweet shrimp)

hamachi sashimi

**Jump for more butter**

eldora women’s days

Monday, January 4th, 2016

It’s a new year! I know some of you were hoping for a recipe, but this is a different kind of recipe. It’s a recipe for life. Learn something. Be active. Simple, right?

Are you the type to make new year’s resolutions or do you make resolutions throughout the year regardless of the date? I’m in the latter camp, although last year I did manage to make a resolution that coincided with the start of 2015. Jeremy and I participated in the Thanksgiving Nordic Ski Camp in Crested Butte at the end of 2014 to try skate skiing for the first time. We received a crash course in a half day and liked it enough to invest in some gear. The problem was we sucked at skate skiing. We not only required more time on skate skis, we needed more instruction. I decided to sign up for Eldora Women’s Days. Seven years earlier, I joined the program to improve my telemark skiing.

my local ski hill

Even though this program is specific to Eldora Mountain Resort and women, other mountains may offer similar opportunities. If you don’t live near Eldora, I encourage you to look into program offerings at ski hills near you or near places you might visit. Anything from one-time private lessons to longer term group programs are a good way to learn a new activity, improve your skills, make friends, and get out there. Don’t live in or near a wintery wonderland? The same thing applies to running, hiking, biking (mountain biking, fat biking, cycling, cyclocross), sailing, stand up paddle boarding (SUPing), swimming, angling, climbing (rock, ice), etc. And don’t forget walking! Walking is a low impact, easy, and wonderful way to get moving. The point is to be active and feel good about it and feel good about yourself.

i’m still friends with many of my ski gals from the program

I figured the start of the year would be an appropriate time to tell you about the Eldora Women’s Days program because 1) session 1 starts this week and 2) most people resolve to stick to their diet to lose weight, but fewer resolve to exercise to be healthy. Skinny does not equate to Healthy. Also? Dieting is boring. But exercise? That can be fun. REALLY fun.

clean slate (or clean corduroy, in this case)

Eldora Mountain Resort began the Women’s Days program to teach women how to alpine ski, snowboard, telemark ski, classic ski, or skate ski in a group setting that didn’t include men. Why? Well, the informal explanation is that a lot of men have these things called egos that take over their brains when they are around other men and especially around women. There tends to be more showboating and less learning when the ego(s) are present. So remove the egos and you get a fun, supportive, and comfortable environment in which particpants can learn, practice, and ask questions. They offer two sessions each year, the first is six weeks starting the first week of January and the second session is four weeks starting in mid-February. You can sign up for one or both sessions. Participants meet once a week and can choose Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or both days. For the truly hardcore, sign up for all ten weeks and both days – that’s some serious instruction time on the mountain. In my experience, groups have varied from 4 to 6 students plus one instructor.

telemark skills test on the first day

**Jump for more butter**

here’s to a great 2016

Friday, January 1st, 2016

Happy New Year, everyone! Sending you all the best wishes for a most awesome year ahead. Let’s do this!

fireworks and torchlight parade on crested butte mountain resort