Back on the Boards!

Come along with me for the first run of the season!

My husband Danny and I hit the slopes at Arapahoe Basin last Sunday.  It was another one of the 300 sunny days in Colorado!

Arapahoe Basin first opened with a single rope tow in December of 1946. The founding fathers included Frederick Schauffler, a medalist from the Olympic Ski Team and Laurence Jump,  a soldier from the 10th Mountain Division. It has come a long way since then. With its high elevation and above tree-line peaks, this ski area is usually one of the first to open and the last to close. Danny broke his leg jumping cornices at Spring Splash on May 16th, 1987! I asked him how he still remembers the date and he replied, “It hurt.”

Wolf Creek beat out the Basin this year by opening on October 8th. A-basin began running its lifts five days later and Loveland followed on October 14th. Copper Mountain  and Keystone shared opening day on November 5th and Breckenridge will be next on 11/11/11.

I rode up the chairlift with a snowboarder who had been back-country riding on Loveland Pass. I told him my son Kelly broke his back and pelvis over there while being filmed snowboard jumping in October his freshman year in college. “The snow was thin like this,” I said. He assured me there was a lot more on the top of the Continental Divide.

“Preseason can be pretty dangerous,” I said.

“I broke my leg last year,” he replied, “I learned when to quit. That’s why we came over here for our last runs.”

“I love the adrenaline rush of snowboarding,” he continued.

“I know!” I said and smiled, “It’s like racing your bike downhill really fast.”


“I really feel that rush when I come to a headwall or a chute,” I said, “I stop and wait until I believe I can do it. Then I launch myself,” remembering some amazing runs last year.

“Do you waterski?” I asked.

“Yah, I wakeboard.”

“You know when everyone is in the boat waiting for you to say ‘hit it,’ but you have to wait until the moment is right when you feel balanced and you’ll be able to pull out of the water. Well that’s what it’s like for me.”

“I know what you mean,” he said.

There is a comradery among skiers that I love; the casual conversation on the lift, sharing crowded tables at lunch, and patiently waiting in lift lines. I have met people from all over the world. One year, I introduced myself to some DU students from Kuwait. They had ridden up on a bus from their college. Their uncle had bought a house in Denver years before and since then many relatives had come to school at DU. The more out-going young man of the bunch said, “I can open a drawer and find left over possessions from those who have used the house before me.” They teased one of their shy friends about “shredding in the bumps.” I don’t think he understood the word “shredding” or the word “bumps”and think he was still at the snowplow stage. I learned a lot about their culture and that we share the same sense of humor.

The second lift to the top of the mountain almost presented me with my first casualty of the season. As I snapped a photograph, my ski pole dropped from under my left arm. I don’t really know how I caught it between my skis. Danny looked down at the exposed jagged rocks below and said, “It would have been time for new poles!” The mountains could use some fresh snow, but this is the earliest I have ever skied.
Today’s run wasn’t very challenging, but I found the fresh air exhilarating, the mountain vistas breathtaking, and a few muscles I haven’t used since last March. It’s time to hit the gym in anticipation for our La Nina year. That could mean a very snowy season in Colorado’s high country. There is a snowstorm heading our way this week that will help build a base for all ski areas.

Let’s go skiing!

What is your favorite sport?

Have you ever gone skiing?

50 thoughts on “Back on the Boards!

Add yours

  1. That looks so exhilarating! I used to be in the ski club in high school, but haven’t done it in ages!
    Thanks for sharing.


  2. Wow! Very brave to be skiing and shooting a video at the same time! This is coming from someone who has never been known for a whole lot of gracefulness…though I CAN walk and chew gum at the same time. Put me anywhere near something slippery though and I’m probably going down in a painful hurry! 🙂

    I am very jealous watching this. You’d think Michigan would get at least a little of the snow that’s been falling all around us but nope. Not so much as a flake yet. But even when it falls, I’m going to stay away from the slopes, lest I join the ranks of those with broken body parts. Sure hope your son has recovered from his injuries!


    1. Thanks Kristy! I am very careful when chewing gum and doing anything! LOL!
      The Midwest usually doesn’t get snow until it’s really winter. It has been crazy though and I don’t think those rules apply anymore. Boulder county has snow on record every month of the year except July!!

      They were pars fractures and although he was in pain for quite a while, he has finally healed up! He hit a rock less than 2 inches from his backbone. It was such a close call. That cured him of back-country skiing on Loveland Pass!
      Thanks for stopping by Kristy!


  3. I cannot wait to go boarding this winter! I am debating how badly I want to go after Xmas cause I have some time off. My BF and little sis are newbies so I get to show them how awesome it is to fall down and face plant X^D

    Some day I want to go boarding in Colorado but for now I will stick to the bunny slopes


    1. I would like to try snowboarding again. I had my bell rung the last time I was out. I couldn’t get used the fact that my feet were stationary! I would start leaning back and WHEEEEEE!!!
      Let me know if you ever come out to ski in Colorado! : D


  4. Wow, that brings back memories. It’s great that you can do that regularly. When I skiied as soon as the adrenalin wore off I wanted to get off there fast. In New Zealand they haven’t got the same scaredy cat safety consciousness of more western countries and if you miss a tight corner you are off the steep end into nowhere. It’s crazy! Happy skiing! I found water-skiing less exhilirating but maybe that’s because I could hardly get up onto the skis let alone jump lol.


  5. We have more lawyers here! Hahaha!

    I was speaking of my experience in slalom skiing with only one ski. I didn’t mention it to him since he said he wakeboarded which is that same balancing challenge. I have never been able to get up wake boarding!!

    Skiing in New Zealand must be a rush!
    Thanks for reading!


  6. Awesome video clip. Beautiful! I’ve never skiied and am too old to try now. (And chicken!) Looks you’re in for a great season with a La Nina year and a storm heading your way. Have a great time!


  7. Nice ski story. While not a great skier, I cover a couple of ski areas for a weekly newspaper in New England…though I must confess I loved skiing Alta. Wish I could bring that mountain back East.


  8. HI Susie! I am so, so envious! In fact I was just planning our annual ski trip out to Colorado today. We’ve been skiing out there every year since we got married (mumble mumble) years ago, with the exception of when we were stationed overseas (hubby in the military). 🙂 We usually go to Steamboat, but last year decided to head to Beaver Creek/Vail instead. Had a fantastic time! I’m so glad it looks like another banner year. Looking forward to it. Thanks for the ski run.


    1. That is so cool! Where are you headed this year?
      I was amazed how great the run was at A-basin. You can ski it top to bottom, but only one run. They must be using a lot of snow making equipment to have such a good base and yet look beyond the ropes and you’ll see lots of nasty terrain!
      It’s snowing up there right now!!
      Thank you!


  9. I’m cold just reading that! I am not a skier (is that even how you say it?) mainly because I don’t enjoy cold weather. But, I did try it once. I never quite figured out how to stop and ended up knocking over a whole line of people waiting for the lift. That was my first and last time. But I do enjoy watching the skiing in the winter Olympics, as long as I am warm at home.


  10. It sounds a lot safer too! Lol!
    The second winter I ever skied, I raced down the “hill” (it was back in Wisconsin) and could not for the life of me remember how to stop. Luckily, no one was in my way!

    There will be more opportunity for arm chair skiing on my blog as we get into the season…
    Thanks for reading!


  11. Hi Susie!

    Skiing already? Awesome! I love to ski, or should I say, I loved to ski. Don’t ski anymore. Bummer, I know.

    I used to ski Mammoth every year. Other than Colorado, it’s the best.

    Nothing like the excitement you get from that first push down the slope.

    I hope you have a fun season!


    1. Thank you! I am not sure how I missed your comment when reading through before.
      It has been cold up in the Mountains so we are getting an early start this year which is fantastic.
      I am glad you could virtually ski with me anyway!


  12. Lookin’ good Susie!

    Ah, A-Basin, how I’ve missed you! We are renting a place in Breckenridge from Jan. – April and I can hardly contain myself I’m so excited to get back out on skis.

    Since we’re both in Boulder, we really have to get together!


  13. I haven’t been skiing in years. I’ll reiterate Kristy regarding the camera. You never know when someone less graceful than you is going to slam into you, taking you both down. I like to have my hands available and the camera safe. But I am glad you took the chance, sure is beautiful. Thanks for the video.


    1. Thanks for coming by to ski!
      It wasn’t a very challenging run and it wasn’t crowded, so I was safe. As you could see I passed a few ski patrol and they seemed to think it was okay too~

      You won’t see any hand-held videos down any double blacks this year! For that I will need a helmet cam. I will borrow my son’s!


  14. Wow – what a fun post! I can’t wait to go this year. The Sierra Nevada’s have had some snow but not enough to keep the resorts open for very long. I hope we have another great year like last year!

    Broken bones – not my thing. I take it easy. Snowboarders – not my thing. They’re crazy mostly.

    I loved the video. Thanks for sharing.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt


    1. Thanks for stopping by to read! Actually I have been almost killed by skiers, not boarders. I hope to avoid close calls by anyone on the mountain this year! Hahaha! I keep knocking on wood!
      Thanks again!


  15. *sigh* Love to be in Colorado – or Montana or Idaho – skiing. From Fort Worth, I averaged far fewer than one ski trip a year, but I loved it. Took me years to convert my snowplow to parallel, which is when I really started to enjoy it.

    Unfortunately, my wife won’t ski, and it’s been some years since I’ve made the opportunity to go. At my age now, one good fall could be disasterous, so I probably won’t go again.

    BTW, you missed my all-time fav: Crested Butte. Love the mountain as well as the authentic old-West town.


    1. David I am glad that you could at least arm chair ski with me! It is hard on the body, so ironically I lifted some weights today in preparation. I need to get into a routine so my knees can handle the bumps! I am just praying for that Colorado champagne powder!!
      Thanks for stopping by to read!


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