Saturday, January 15, 2011

Snow in the park...

Winter in Estes Park can mean a few things:  unbelievable winds (although I think El Chalten still takes the gold on that one), an occasional day of spring-seeming 50 degrees, and skiing in RMNP.  Last year Tommy and I got AT ski setups, which allows us to go skiing up in the park (a popular place being Hidden Vally, which used to be a ski resort).  The bindings have releases that allow our heels to pick up similar to a cross country or telemark binding, and once you've reached the top of your destination or the point you want to turn around and head down the hill, you simply click your boots back in, and you are able to rip down the hill as you would with a regular downhill setup.  When you do head up, you put "skins" on the bottom of your skis to give them some traction in the snow heading upwards, and these of course come off on the downhill.  Skinning uphill is quite the workout, but the beauty surrounding you while you suck air and head up is so beautiful it keeps your mind off of the suffering.   The snow isn't quite like the champagne powder in Utah, but it'll do, and sometimes can surprise you.  I love that we have Hidden Valley just a short drive away and think it's another reason Estes is so great!

FYI:  Hidden Valley is where Tommy grew up skiing.  In order for the schools to save money in the winter from heating, etc., they only had school 4 days per week and one of the days the parents were able to drop their kids off at the school and they were bussed to Hidden Valley (when it was still a ski resort) and the kids would spend their afternoons skiing.  Apparently Tommy had quite the skills, and hasn't lost them despite not skiing for a long time until last year.

An old school pic I pulled off the web!

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