Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Skiing Breckenridge and Gold Run Nordic Ski Centers

I wish I could build in a few runs on the slopes to get James out of bed before school: so easy to get him up, here. We had about 2-3 inches of fresh powder at the condo and it was still snowing. There were some glimpses of blue sky. Routine as had on the previous day, except more efficient: getting dressed and geared up, cereal for breakfast, sandwiches, courtesy of paps and off they went with great plans for the day.
I was not far behind, having Breckenridge Nordic Ski Center on my mind. I arrived and noticed the freshly groomed trail, pristine, undisturbed cordouroy and no other cars in the lot. I bought my three-day punch card, had one of the friendly staff give me the lay of the land and was off.

I skied Troll Woods, a green trail as a warm-up and Beaver Meadows, a blue as a follow up. Indeed, neither trail held any technical challenge, all inclines were rather gradual but the difference in altitude was a bit more than this flatlander is used to. That, combined with the effect of the thin air made me stop to catch my breath a few times. All in all an excellent outing. It would be great to come out here early in the season to get some high altitude training.

After being done, I went to the grocery to shop for a steak dinner. Then I broke for lunch and waited until 13:30, the end of the rest time at the Dog House, where I wanted to check out Mellie for some skijoring. They got her and she was happy to see me and the harness in my hand.

Once back in the car, we headed for Breckenridge's Gold Run Nordic Ski Area. Like the area in Breckenridge proper, they had set aside their most remote trails for skiers and their dogs. This area was not groomed but at least the lower reaches of the Peabody Placer trail had seen enough use to be somewhat packed. it was a two-way ski-in and ski-out, I decided not to do the Preston Loop which had portions marked as black and because of the distance. It turned out that the entire "in" portion of the Peabody Placer trail is uphill, gaining about 130 m (450 ft) in little more than 2 km (1.5 mi)  and the consequently, the return trip down. Hard work for my oxygen-deprived circulatory system. The higher I climbed the deeper the snow became, adding to the workout in spite of Mellies efforts helping me.

But the Jumbo Overlook at the end of the trail was a nice reward, the clouds had broken and everything was bathed in bright sunlight. Turning back I appreciated how steep the climb had been. To avoid any tangles, I untied Mellie, who was happy to roam and greet some of the dogs that came towards us. When I checked Mellie back in, she was happy to leave me and followed the staff unconcerned. She is such a good and easy-going pup. One thing that amazed me was the area around Gold Run. It looked to me like there were scores of million-dollar homes, all in a log-cabin style, and more going up. Makes you wonder what kind of a recession we were in. Certainly not one affecting people in a certain income category ...

The boys returned after 16:00. It sounded like they had had an outstanding day skiing all over the mountain, a lot off-trail, befriending Matt, a young man from Cleveland of similar disposition who introduced them to some areas that they might have had a more difficult time to find on their own. We concluded this fantastic day with some excellent steak.

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