Tag Archives: beaver creek

Skiing Triple Digits: Days 67-72, Family Fun

On Days 67-72 of my Skiing Triple Digits Quest, I taught skiing six days in a row on a private lesson with an eight-year-old from New Jersey and his family. Despite a few falls and meltdowns, we had a blast, and it was fun for me to watch Leo’s progress throughout the week. We started out like this…ME: Do you remember how to turn? HIM: No. ME: Do you remember how to stop? HIM: No.

Yikes! So we started with stopping and turning, and by the end of the week, we were out skiing with poles and exploring Vail’s Porcupine Alley and Magic Forest. We survived full-on blizzard conditions at Beaver Creek, told each other corny jokes, and worked up to carving turns on blue groomers. Happy, happy times and lots of family fun!

Day 67: Sunday, February 16

Frozen condiments at Buffalo’s:

day 67-feb 16

Day 68: Monday, February 17

Marshmallows, Eagle’s Nest hot chocolate break:

day 68-feb 17

Day 69: Tuesday, February 18

Wildwood, of course:

day 69-feb 18

Day 70: Wednesday, February 19

Whipped cream makes me smile:

day 70-feb 19

Day 71: Thursday, February 20
Beaver Creek

Saved by another hot chocolate break:

day 71-feb 20

Day 72: Friday, February 21
Beaver Creek

Crazy body tricks and jokes from kids keep me laughing all day long:

day 72-feb 21

Want more backstory?
Read about the quest here:

Skiing Triple Digits: The Quest


Skiing Triple Digits: Days 6-9, Backcountry Beginnings

Day 8-crestonDays 6-9 of the triple digits skiing quest involved two backcountry days, one slack-country day, and one resort opening. These have been my best ski days so far…for the friends I shared them with and, of course, for the fresh Thanksgiving powder.

Day 6: Skin up Paulie’s Plunge, ski down Cinch at Beaver Creek

I met up with my gal-pal Tarrie for this evening skin up to Beaver Creek from the Eagle-Vail trail, and Kai came along for some off-leash adventure. We skied from the top of Paulie’s down Cinch  into Beaver Creek village on some really rough track pack and then had drinks at the Coyote Cafe. Great vibe–World Cup crowd all packed in, gearing up for Raptor and Birds of Prey.

Day 7: Opening Day at Beaver Creek

I took a writing break to ski for a few hours with Antony at Beaver Creek for the season opener. Early-season-excellent snow in Rose Bowl, blue skies, light-fluffy stuff up high. Yee-haw! Happy day.

Day 8: Thanksgiving skiing on Uneva Peak (12,552)

Set off early on Thanksgiving morning with Bill, Kelly, and Kreston (above) to ski Uneva Peak. We parked at Vail Pass (10,662) and started skinning up the nearest trailhead on the north/east side of I-70. Kelly and Kreston brought along two dogs, including Otto, a gorgeous Malamute who belongs to a friend of theirs:

Day 8-otto

We skinned up to the summit of Uneva and checked things out. We decided to ski the east-facing bowl down to the lake, which was surprisingly good skiing! Kelly’s on her way down here:

Day 8-uneeva lines

We then skinned all the way back up to the summit ridge in order to ski back to our car, but because we felt some settling as we were skinning back up the bowl we skied down, we quickly changed our course and chose instead to ascend up a steep ridge, slick with sugary snow and icy rocks. We then had a little Thanksgiving celebration with sausage, cheese, crackers, and champagne. I like how this crew gets after it and knows how to celebrate, too!

Day 9: Resolution Mountain (11,911) and the Fowler-Hilliard Hut

The next morning, Tammy, Kai, and I set off from the freezing-cold Pando parking area (9,200) near Camp Hale in order to visit my friends from Boulder who had rented out the Fowler-Hilliard hut for a Thanksgiving hut trip. The adventure began pretty quickly out of the parking lot, as we needed to find a good place to cross the river in order to avoid adding an extra mile to our trip. We decided to trust a solid-looking beaver dam, but the crossing was delicate, and Kai (poor dog) was shaking as he followed us across. After a physical ascent, we stood on the summit of Resolution Mountain, Tammy here enjoying the blue skies:

Day 9-tammy on resolution

We took in the gorgeous mountain views and looked down on the hut where my friends were staying:

Day 9-view from resolution

Before we went over to the hut, however, we skied down a soft, buttery meadow until we hit treeline, and then we put back on our skins and hiked over to the hut. Some of the hut-trippers were on their way out for an exploratory hike:

day 9-hut hikers

Luckily, when we arrived, my friend Cathy was just heating up Thanksgiving dinner leftovers, so Tammy and I got to share in the lunchtime feast!

With full bellies, we hung out on the porch of the hut with everyone…

Day 9-hut hanging out

…until it was finally time for us to hike back up to the ridge and then rip off our skins for a full-on rodeo ski back out to the car. The beaver dam was much more tenuous this time, as the sun had softened the snow and ice–I think I was shaking as much as Kai was when I delicately slid my skis across. So…that’s it for Days 6-9!

Want more backstory? Read about the quest here:
Skiing Triple Digits: The Quest

Skiing Triple Digits: Opening Days, 1-5

My skiing triple digits quest started on November 17, 2013, a week before Vail Mountain opened for the season. We had a big dump of snow, so the quest began:

Day 1: Skin and Ski Vail Mountain
I met my friend Tammy early in the morning at one of our secret parking places in Vail, and we suited up. In our lightweight-Dynafit-geek-race gear, we set off from Lionshead to skin up to Eagle’s Nest on Vail Mountain. We had to weave in and out of snow-making machines, and it was really crappy weather. Hence, no photographs. The ski down from Eagle’s Nest was also pretty crappy: breakable, variable snow. But that was it: Day 1. Gear sorted, legs warmed up.

Day 2:Downhill Ski Vail Mountain Opening Day

Day 2

On Day 2, I joined the masses and skied opening day at Vail Mountain. Low visibility, icy groomers, and not much snow. But…hey, sliding down snow slopes is fun, or I wouldn’t be doing it. I rode the gondola to warm up…check out the weeds!

Day 3: Double Duty, Backcountry Skin up Paulie’s and Downhill Ski at Vail

Day 3-1

Paulie’s Plunge is one of my favorite trails in the area. In the summer, it’s a nice mountain biking trail, and in the winter, it’s possible to skin up it and pop out on Cinch, a groomed ski trail at Beaver Creek. Paulie’s has become one of my comfort, go-to trails. It’s super quiet and beautiful, a forest full of aspen and pine trees.

Day 3-Tammy

Backcountry gal pal Tammy, above, joined me along the skin up Paulie’s, along with my dog Kai, a boxer-lab mix. Once we reached Cinch, we realized that things up high had been groomed, so we continued to the top of Beaver Creek’s Centennial lift and skied by ourselves down wide-open groomed trails, Kai running behind. Beaver Creek wasn’t open yet, so we had the mountain to ourselves.

Day 3 Blue Sky Vail

After a quick hot chocolate in Beaver Creek village, Tammy and I drove over to Vail and skied groomers for the afternoon. Superstar Vail blue-sky day.

Day 4: Downhill Skiing Vail Mountain w/ my man Antony

On Triple Digits Day 4, Antony and I went out for some downhill ski action on Vail Mountain.

Day 4 w Antony McCoy

Antony tore his ACL in March, and this day was his first back on skis. We skied some easy groomers, and he carved his first turns on that new, bomber cadaver tendon of his.

Day 5: Downhill Skiing Vail Mountain

On Day 5, I got up early and did all of my writing work for the day so that I could take off and ski in the late afternoon. It was basically a groomers day…no recent snow, dirt showing on the opposite side of the valley. I managed to cruise around on all of the Chair 2 groomers and came home from dinner, feeling happy, a bit more balanced with five days in my ski boots!

Day 5 Vail

Want more backstory? Read about the quest here:
Skiing Triple Digits: The Quest

Beaver Creek Porcupine Sighting

Last week, this porcupine was sighted on a ski run at Beaver Creek in Colorado:

Beaver Creek Porcupine

Scores of people were in the area watching the Junior Olympics ski race, but luckily no one got spiked with this critter’s quills. The animal was reported to be lumbering across the snow, moving in slow motion in the middle of the day.

Porcupines are generally nocturnal animals, which means that you’ll most likely encounter a porcupine at night as it forages for its food. In North America, they can be encountered either on the ground or in trees. Contrary to popular myths, porcupines don’t shoot their quills at predators or at others who startle them; it’s only possible to get barbed by porcupine quills if your flesh comes in direct contact with them, in which case they’ll detach from the porcupine’s body and then be stuck in yours.

Here in Colorado, it’s more common for a dog to have a painful porcupine encounter than a human because dogs don’t understand how a porcupine’s quills work. Humans generally know that it’s best to stay clear of a porcupine…except these guys from “Call of the Wildman” who apparently don’t know how to treat an animal kindly or don’t know that a porcupine’s quills can cause infection…

If you see a porcupine in the wild, please do a better job than the Animal Planet guys, and give it plenty of room to move along peacefully. And if you’ve somehow managed to get barbed with a porcupine’s quills, follow the advice in my article on the About.com Survival Skills website:

“How to Survive a Porcupine Encounter”
Porcupines are medium-sized rodents well known for their ability to defending themselves by depositing barbed quills into their attackers. But contrary to common myths, porcupines can’t launch their quills at you, and they’re more likely to run away in avoidance of humans than run towards you in attack mode. Nonetheless, if a porcupine deposits its quills into human flesh, the result can be painful and infectious, so follow these guidelines next time you stumble upon a porcupine in order to survive an encounter…click here to continue reading

Snow Caves and Mountain Safety

Beaver Creek ski patrol recently held a mountain safety week that included many demonstrations about both in-bounds and out-of-bounds ski safety.

beaver creek patrol safety

I was most interested in the snow caves that they built at a few different locations on the mountain since a snow cave shelter can help someone stay alive in an emergency situation. I found two different styles of caves on the mountain–first, this type of cave which is built when a person burrows into a steep snow slope:

entry 1

The second type of cave I found was more of a trench-style cave, which is first built as a person digs a trench into the ground and then adds snow blocks over the top for an angled roof.

trench style cave

Both types of caves didn’t leave much room for comfort. The smaller the cave, the easier it is to warm up inside, but as I crawled into the entryways, I felt thankful that I wouldn’t have to stay the night in either of these caves.

snow cave inside 1

They were dark…and they didn’t have ventilation holes, so they weren’t make for actual habitation.

snow cave inside 2

Despite their small size and lack of entry tunnels or “doors,” I think that these caves offer good examples of the basic types of snow shelters that people can build in an emergency situation.

Want to know how to build your own snow cave?
Read my article on the About.com Survival Skills website:
“How to Build a Snow Cave”
Staying outside overnight in a snow cave to wait out a blizzard doesn’t exactly sound like it would be a comfortable experience, but being able to build an effective survival shelter in such conditions can be a lifesaver…click here to continue reading

Photos © Traci J. Macnamara.