Heading Back Down
By: Tom Fletcher, CFP®
Last year you may recall I had my first experience skiing "out west" with my brothers in Colorado. I had such a tremendous time that I had to drag my family there again a couple of weeks ago for my son's school vacation.
Just like most places on our planet, it's been a pretty weird year there weather-wise. Through the end of January the resort had received well over 200 inches of snow. But since then, they had only gotten about 30 additional inches when we arrived, which is paltry by their standards. Unlike most resorts in the northeast, in the Rockies they generally don't make manmade snow due to their vast terrain size and also because Mother Nature helps out in a big way. Nonetheless, it seems to me that even the worst western snow conditions tend to be better than the best conditions in the northeast, mostly due to a lack of ice. And this year didn't disappoint.
When heading out on a ski vacation, you obviously tend to do mostly that. Ski, eat, sleep, spend a pile of money, then get up early the next day and repeat. We haven't taken a lot of lengthy ski trips in the past, so it's difficult to pace yourself. By the third day I was pretty tired. By day five of the routine, I was positively beat. Breckenridge and Keystone, where we skied, have peaks that are well above 12,000 feet so the altitude wears you down as well.
Skiing with my son is one of life's luxuries, especially on a vast resort. Not only is it great catching up with him for some one on one time, but he has this odd ability to briefly look at a trail map and seemingly memorize each trail and know exactly how to get there. Kind of like a human homing pigeon. He definitely didn't inherit this trait from me! He never likes to ski the same trails twice so each day is like taking grand resort tour.
Since you're skiing each and every day, it's important to be careful and avoid injuries especially early on in the vacation. By day five however I decided to throw some caution to the wind and try out more vertical terrain. Breckenridge has a number of "bowls" above the tree line at the top of several peaks. From the base they don't look very steep, but when you get to the summits and look down I can attest that they are. To remain in one piece requires significant concentration on the way down from one of these monsters and this is truly what I enjoy most about skiing, because it's a great way to forget about life's worries and cares.