Sunday, April 06, 2008

Bad weather.

We'd been checking the weather for most of the week. The weatherman on weather.com (whomever he is) told us that Copper Mountain would have 0% chance of precipitation today and would be 46 degrees and partly cloudy. Not the perfect spring skiing weather (my idea of perfect is sixty and sunny) but pretty close. So, with much enthusiasm, we dropped off Libbie at daycare this morning, left Callie at a neighbor's house (she's decided she doesn't want to ski any more, at least not this season), and headed up to Copper. I fell asleep before we hit Golden and the weather was looking perfect when I dozed off. Warm and sunny. So, imagine my dismay when I woke up just east of the Eisenhower tunnel to a BLIZZARD! Not kidding.

There were cars skidded off the road in several spots between Loveland and Copper. Highway patrolmen were scattered all over the freeway helping stranded drivers, snow was falling, the roads were icy and, believe it or not, there was quite a bit of traffic. Apparently we weren't the only ones who saw the weather report. Or, were we? Once we arrived at the Copper parking lot, we began to dress for the mountain and realized that everyone around us was dressed properly (a ski coat, scarf or face mask, and goggles). I, on the other hand, having read the weather report, had on hiking pants with long johns underneath, a long sleeved shirt with a fleece over top, and sunglasses. Yes, I was dressed for 46 and partly cloudy. Everyone else was dressed for a blizzard. Well, everyone except my husband. At least he was wearing a ski coat, though. And Brynn was dressed properly -- thank you, yes, I'm sometimes a responsible mother.

Undeterred, we smothered sunblock on our faces (trying to be optimistic) and hopped on the bus to the center village. We got Brynn's lift ticket (thankfully kids ski free and Scott and I have cheap-ish passes), and made our way to the lift. It didn't take long before we realized we were in trouble. Stinging faces, snot running into our mouths, wet clothes...we were miserable. And, it's not a short lift. We were taking American Flyer up, which serves the middle part of the mountain -- mostly intermediate terrain. It's a high speed detachable quad lift, but it travels a long distance so it takes a while. And, of course, since the lift is going fast the falling snow really stings when you run into it without goggles or face protection. By the time we got off the lift, we were all freezing. Scott wanted to "stop to warm up," however that's supposed to work when you're standing at the top of a mountain totally exposed to the brutal elements. Brynn and I were ready to take off, so we started skiing. My hands were numb, my face was stinging; I wasn't going to wait around at the top of the mountain for Scott to get warm.

Brynn skied more conservatively than usual (maybe because she couldn't see where she was going and she's never skied on ungroomed powder). I was trying to rush down the mountain to get to the bar (I kept going back and forth between what would taste better -- an Irish Coffee or a Bloody Mary?) and Scott kept trying to stop to "warm up." I guess the faster we skied, the more it hurt his face and the more he wanted to stop. At one point he said he felt like he'd just finished an extra large slurpee in an extra small amount of time and that he didn't just have brain freeze, he had something more like body freeze. He was nauseous from not eating breakfast and then trying to ski (not the first time this has happened to him) and he seemed just downright mad. Brynn was hanging in there and actually had a great attitude. Maybe it's because she had goggles and a helmet and proper outerwear, or maybe she's just tough. Who knows? I congratulated her tonight on having such a positive attitude and then had to explain to her what an attitude is.

About three quarters of the way down the mountain it occurred to me that I was not interested in skiing in conditions like this with or without the proper gear, and it didn't look like the snow was going to clear up any time soon. I was ready to cut our losses and head home. Once we made it inside, it became clear that Scott was thinking the same thing. So, we grabbed some hot chocolate and some really unhealthy and unhappy chili cheese fries and then headed back to the bus. I never did get my drink from the bar, although the Jagermeister cart did show up just as we were leaving. At that point had to explain to Brynn that Jagermeister is actually not a traditional "breakfast" as she had remarked with enthusiasm when she saw the cart arrive. Try explaining to a five year old what hard liquor is...it's not easy. Her response to my explanation was, "I want some so I can act silly and loopy, too!" Sorry, darling...your not nearly old enough. With that, we were off to catch our bus.

One run. Yes, loyal readers, we wimped out for the first time. We drove two hours and fifteen minutes to Copper Mountain for a day of spring skiing. We were met with anything but spring-ish conditions and we ran away with our tails between our legs. In the end, it was fine...we decided to go visit my mom instead. It was warm and clear down in Denver and we were able to enjoy a few hours of catching up with my mom before heading back to pick up Callie and Libbie. We're hoping to make it up to Winter Park next weekend for two days of spring skiing. This time, I'm not sure that I'll trust the weather report.

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