Bring Out Yer’ Boards

Are those mountains over there?

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Straight to Leadville we go!

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I’ve been eagerly awaiting more time here. It’s my west coast “lake”. I can truly relax here.

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After a ride in an herbal aroma scented car, we arrived!

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With the nieces still in school, BF and the family were off the hook for a day. We were excited to explore the Main Street of the town. They have very eclectic thrift shops and collectibles.

I found this and memories came back… where have I seen this?! Herbie has one! Text him and said he had a $43 antique, coin collecting bull.

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He offered me his for $42.50.

A beautiful local artist store opened since I’d been there last. If only I had the wall space, I would have come home with these.

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After the shopping was done, it was time to play some pool and have a PBR.

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And only at the Pb ATM would you find a guy waiting in line on a fat-bike.

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I wanted to show CS more of this beautiful land, so we drove over to Twin Lakes, one of the stops of the Leadville Trail 100. I know this place well. It’s a scene from a movie. A landscape of a postcard.

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Finding my namaste moment.

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Alright, bring on my weird yet relateable nieces!

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How does an Aunt entertain? Can Syd master the magic spoon?

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Can Reagan?

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Even Kayla?!

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While the magic was fun, my real goal of this trip was to see these ladies on the mountain. It’s been over a year, let’s see how you’ve progressed!

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After some planning at our last adventure, I learned I had two budding boarders on my hands. They were ready to progress past skis. CS was off on his own to burn up the mountain. B and K took the munchkin to master the skis sans ropes. I got these misfits!

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I’ll admit I was super excited to snowboard again. These girls have gotten so fast and quick at skiing, I haven’t been able to keep up on my board. So for the past few visits, I’ve skied. I was more super excited to teach these two my tricks.

B was skeptical to say the least. “They’ll never get it.” “They’ll give up.” “They’ll be on their butts all day.” Shut it. I’ve got this.

While standing in line renting their boards, I started my coaching. Promise me 2 hours of bitch-free comments. I was finding out which foot they kick the soccer ball with. What hand do they write with. Once we had the boards and figured out they rode goofy foot like me, it was time for practice with equipment. My brother likes to throw you to the wolves when trying something. I like to provide real context so your first time isn’t so scary.

Once we got all of our gear (boots, bindings and board), we went back to the benches in the lodge to practice. “Ok girls. Here is how you strap in for the lift”. “Here is how you get on a lift”. “Here is how you finally connect to your board.”

I felt like it would be a good day. Their center of gravity was so low, I was jealous. If they slipped, they popped up like popcorn. They did extremely well on the lifts. Reagan was my X-boarder by the end of the day, ready to fly down the mountain.

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Syd, she’s my Olympic athlete. Poised and mastering the movements.

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As we practiced, B&K&K spied us from the lift. Here’s me and Reagan.

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I will boast, I even had a random snowboarder watch me work with the girls. He looks at me, “Any advice you have for me? Anything? I’ll listen”. So cool. I sound so dumb, but it was so cool. I watched him then coached. Another run, watch, coach. He was 45 second runs in a few minutes. Left me with a thumbs up and shout out to how cool my nieces were for their first day. GREAT feeling.

We all met up at the end of the day to share stories. Really was so nice to have all of us enjoy different parts of the mountain the way we wanted. Day 2 was all skiing. It’s easier than snowboarding, but you do so many more runs. We were ready to take a seat!

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Hey old lady, get out of that big chair!

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Caption: Mmmmmrrrruuuuuph.

Until our next snow adventure…

Kan Goo

Huh?

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Guess who joined for the latest fad in exercise?

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We weren’t the only ones!

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This class was a WTF. All jumping. All the time. Like you had mini trampolines on your feet. It was quite a heart racer. I was done with the jumping after 15 minutes. My brain needed a new activity, but everyone else seemed to really enjoy it. Consider it like step aerobic exercises on springs and then mix in squats and jumping jacks. It was definitely unique!

More Snow Please

After the Midwest snowmageddon and Michigan trip, it was time for some Colorado snow! A blizzard hit Indy the day we were suppose to leave, which resulted in me having my first airport-run-to-the-gate experience. We checked our bags and sped walk to security. I quickly asked each person in the security line in front of us “Excuse me, we have a flight leaving in 20 minutes, can we move in front of you?” Everyone graciously stepped aside and made it to the gate with our boarding group up next. Then we sat at the gate for over an hour waiting on water and clean shitters. WTF. Our lateness and the plane delay resulted in our ski equipment not making it to Denver with us. Lord, how does this work?! A nice SW lady offered to have the luggage delivered to us when it arrived. Thank you lady!

In all my travels to CO, we’ve always gotten there without problems. Not this trip. The drive there took 5 hours instead of 2. We barely went 10 MPH once we hit the mountains. They were only letting so many cars through the tunnels at a time. Guys were hopping out of their cars, like this guy, to relieve themselves. I was jealous.

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So without equipment for our first day, we opted for play time at the cabin. I finally got to see the tepee!

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CS fit better once inside.

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Our view, not shabby at all.

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As we were out playing, I recognized how well the snow was packing as I fired snowballs at the girls. I decided it was time to build my first and biggest snowman of my life. Sydney was on board and started rolling a ball for the head. I took the bottom portion. I kept rolling. And rolling. And rolling. Syd kept asking “Is this head big enough yet?” Nope. Keep rolling. Mine got so heavy I couldn’t budge it anymore. “CHAD!” He helped us with the last 5 feet of rolling and our snowman found his resting place. I started work on the middle section. “CHAD!” needed him to lift it! And put the head on since this thing was way taller than any of us girls!

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Since our skis still hadn’t arrived, it was a perfect time to get out the ole’ snowboard and attempt to not injure my tailbone again! CS was ready to test his 1985 skateboarding skills. Proof that he got the hang of it!

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Snowboard maps are not as smooth as ski maps. Our trek around Ski Cooper.

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Prior to my trip, my sister-in-law sent me a picture of a birdhouse made out of corks. I was intrigued. YouTubed a video and sent her a supplies list minus the corks. I knew a restaurant that could help me out and we used every single one! So fun playing with hot glue and 8 to 10 year old girls! Our masterpiece…

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Spent the next day at our fav spot, Copper Mountain. The amazing Fuller skiing trio!

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CS and I had our skis back so we were all on track to stay together. Except, someone (Reagan) was a speed demon and Brandon had to keep up with her. (At her/my fastest, our speed was 37.4 MPH!) I kept taking Syd in and out of the trees while Chad sloped beside us. Then… where’s B and Reagan? Texts were exchanged and we had lunch separately as we were on different ends of the mountain! Then at the end, we found B & Reagan, but then lost CS. Didn’t matter in the end since we all got to ski our butts off!

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Since the wind kept us from going up Green Mountain on our last day as planned, the Fuller shopping habit had to be satisfied. The littlest booger joined us giving Mom and Dad a break from some madness!

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Always sad to leave, Always looking to come back!

Winter Suntan

Spent some recent time out west to visit the family and nieces. First stop was to Ski Cooper.

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I opted to take my board this trip since I can’t find the right spot around here for it. K joined me as a quasi-birthday celebration out west.

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Highlight of the trip was saving Reagan from certain serious injury/death. She’s 6 and still learning how to ski with the use of a leash. I was just coming out of the lodge when I saw her and B coming down the mountain. Since I had the video camera, I ran out to catch some film. Just as I get out, I see B crash and Reagan still barreling down on her skis. I start screaming “snowplow snowplow” which she didn’t seem to understand. So I got into a sumo squat and place my body right in front of her path and BAM she took me out and we rolled. Best part, it was all caught on tape. She’ll be on her own soon, she just had a momentary brain lapse! Syd informed me that I should have said “Pizza” instead. My bad.

Saturday brought sledding! Everyone got in on the action, even my Momma.

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At 54 degrees and 10,000 feet up, it was a work out.

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Some video over here.

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Taking full advantage of our unseasonable warm temperatures, we headed south to Mt. Princeton hot springs. They had natural river rock pools or you could float in or 2 of the concrete type with 90 and 103 degree temps.

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I liked the natural best because you would get a good mix of cold from the river.

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The baby…

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Warming your whole body up really makes any wind seem really really cold. This was us after leaving and eating dinner.

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For our last adventure, we headed to Vail since our girls had graduated to the “big girl” mountain, as I called it. 

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Low-light of the trip is from our final run of the day on a green catwalk to the bottom. I caught a real slick spot and went head over board. It hurt. Bad. Turns out I may or may not have fractured my tailbone. Either way, the treatment is the same… no treatment just pain management and a ticket to doughnut-ville. After a full afternoon, we headed back home to watch the greatest trash on TV.

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No I didn’t make this, it’s legit. A friend “won” it at a silent auction and let me borrow it for the evening. Thanks to B and his gang for hosting us all! 

Caberfae Peaks

Still riding the high from my Colorado trip, CS and I decided to hit the slopes in Michigan this past weekend.  I have been skiing in that state a few times before.  Once for my first time ever at Boyne in the UP, the other was a Caberfae/Bittersweet adventure.  For this trek, the drive time to Boyne wasn’t in the cards and I remember Bittersweet sucked.  So we agreed on Caberfae and the bonus was their night skiing.  I was unsure if I wanted to board or ski, so we loaded up the car with all my gear and set in for the 6 hour drive.

Woke up Saturday, grabbed some fuel for our bellies and were only 1 exit away from the slopes.  But when you see a sign like this, you feel like you are exits upon exits away from civilization.

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We arrived before 1/2 day ski started, but because we had coupons from the hotel we bought the full day passes to get started ASAP.  CS skied and I started out boarding.

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View from the top, if you can call 1569ft the top.

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After about 4 runs, it became quite clear this day was not made for snowboarding.  A lot of the runs flattened out at the end.  I’m not greatly skilled at judging speed to keep me going during those times and it was moderately busy with people flying by left and right.  Not a good combination, so CS and I hightailed it back to the car to do an exchange for my skis.  Now we were all set to keep up with each other, play follow the leader, and have a productive day.  We skied for a few hours and took an hour break to carb load.

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While in the lodge, it started snowing and didn’t let up.  We got a few more hours on the slopes before we were exhausted and frozen.

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A view from the parking lot.

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Got cleaned up and were headed to the Mexican restaurant across the parking lot when our hotel phone rang.  Pre-story:  Our room phone rang 3 times previously in the few hours we were in there.  Each time with someone asking if they had called the front desk.  There is literally a button saying “Front Desk” on the phone.  Not sure what angered technician wired a phone wrong, but I decided to have some fun.  This time I answered the phone not with a “hello” but a “Front Desk”.  The guy asks “Can you tell me what time the Mexican restaurant across the street closes?”  I fessed up and said no, that he called another hotel room, but we were headed over there if they wanted to join us for a drink at the bar.  He was a bit confused, apologized and hung up.  We walked over to get some grub and made a new friend in the process.  

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I got a bit more friendly with the ass.

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Sunday we got to the slopes a bit earlier than before, but since we had to leave in good time to head back to the homeland we had no intentions of taking a break.  Unfortunately, the Peaks were hosting a slalom and super G event for kids, so we veered away from the South Peak.  Literally had 200 kids and their families using 1 lift.  The diamonds weren’t worth the lift waits.  But we still skied til we couldn’t ski anymore.  I was toast.

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We both tapped out after 5 hours out there and hit the road.  It was a great weekend in the Midwest mountains.  Thanks to CS for the good times and putting up with my crazy through-the-trees antics!  Forgot about the foot height difference.  Peace out Michigan!  Til we meet again…

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17 Degrees to 47 Degrees (Part 2 of 2)

After 2 long days of skiing, the girls and I opted for a little outdoor play time. It had started snowing on us at Cooper and didn’t stop until Sunday morning. A look at the snow level Saturday….

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Compared to Sunday when we woke up…

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We certainly were in a winter paradise. The girls and I built a fort for “baby tree” using B’s supply of firewood.

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After all the hard labor, the girls needed a snack.

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After a few hours in the cold temps (17 degrees when we left Leadville), we all went inside to clean up and head out of the mountains to warmer temps in Denver (47 degrees when we arrived). Brandon had tickets to see a few bands at one of his favorite venues, the Bluebird, so we called in Brooks to bring the SanFran clan back together.

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We saw The Black Cloud Collective, Pop Evil, and Rev Theory. Brandon, the veteran metal concert go-er, snagged me Pop Evil’s set list from the stage, so I could get is signed by the band. At the Bluebird, the bands do a meet and greet with the audience were you can get pictures and buy some stuff from the band. I walked up with the set list and got it signed by everyone!  Can’t read any names, but I know its legit.

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When in Colorado, I always seem to find shirtless men…

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The show was fabulous and we were right up front.  The Bluebird is a very small initmate venue.  Kind of reminded me of the Vogue here but smaller, which I liked.  Wish we would get some better shows, live music is the best.  At one point, some guy commented that it was nice of me to hang out with my kid brother and bring him to a show!  Not sure which of us gets the slam in that comment.   

It was a great trip!  I enjoyed every second.  Thanks to my bro, Kim, and the girls for opening their homes to me and letting me crash their President’s day vacation!  I’ll be back in August…  This time for non-snow covered trails! 

B’s story

Copper to Cooper (Part 1 of 2)

Been back in the midwest for a few days, but yet to get myself back in the time zone.  Still feel off but hopefully the weekend will reset everything soon.  So, about my recent travels…

Headed out to Colorado for my yearly winter trip.  My nieces were on a break from school, so this was my first time having them around the entire time I was there.  B picked me up and we headed straight to Leadville to meet up with the Fuller women as they were already at the cabin.  B, Sydney and I, woke up early Friday morning to get a jump on the ski crowds at Copper Mountain.  Which, being only 30 miles away certainly helps! 

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I was happy to reunite with my snowboard while B and Syd skied. Syd had been skiing a few times before, but this year she really got the hang of it and had zero fear after a few runs.  My little skier…

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She didn’t even have any fear when she fell off the chair lift!  Yes, that’s right.  My bro and I made a boo-boo.  We weren’t even on the chair for 5 seconds and next thing I see is Syd falling over and face planting in the snow below like a cartoon character.  We yelled to stop the lift and Syd looks up at us.  I asked if she was ok, to which she said yes.  I asked if she was ok to ride up without us, to which she said yes.  So the ski dude put her 2 chairs back with a guy and his daughter.  The lift got moving again so I turned around to see how she was doing, and she waved at me like nothing happened.  That’s when I knew it was ok to laugh my ass off at what just happened.  Apologized to my brother for laughing, but it was too funny!  We headed back to Leadville to share our adventures with Kim and see if we could talk Reagan into skiing the next day.

Which we did! Reagan was very excited to try skiing but left most of the work to Brandon since it was her first time out.  Here’s B and his ladies on Cooper Mountain.

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With B taking care of Reagan, Syd and I were off on our own for the day.

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We skied our tails off! Syd was hooked and wanted to go until the chairs stopped. She even tried out a T-bar lift on her own at the bunny hill. At one point, we took a longer T-bar lift up to hit some more blues except Syd took a wrong turn off the lift and ended up taking us down a black.  Didn’t matter though, she did just fine.  Just as we finished our last run, B and Reagan were coming to find us to head home.  This time, we were only 10 miles away from home!  Totally spoiled now.

B’s story 

Skiing With Sydney

Today’s adventure was held at Eldora ski resort.  Sydney has been skiing a few times before but hadn’t been able to pick it up on her own yet.  Today’s goals were for Sydney to ski on her own, meaning Brandon is not within an arms length and, my goal was to point my board down the mountain instead of side to side.  I’m happy to report both goals were achieved!

I have to say I didn’t think Syd was going to get there.  I was trying to give her some pointers too, but then she’d look at me instead of her skis, so I took off to let the father-daughter duo to work their magic.  As I was going up a lift, I spotted them and this little pink blob went darting down the slope.  When I caught up with them, Brandon goes “Did you see that?  She got it!”  I think he was very proud.  Here are some pictures from our day.

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The snow was so thick you couldn’t see the top of the lifts or the sun! It was great powder to get on.  We had almost a full day on the slopes and stopped at Wahoo Fish Tacos for some fuel.  Tonight we are just relaxing and hanging with the family.  Except Sydney just burped in my face.  I’m done hanging out with her now!

Tomorrow is ice skating with lessons by Reagan.  Good thing I got some practice a few weeks ago, so I won’t make a fool of myself (hopefully). 

Brandon’s story…

Here’s a little video of Syd skiing.

I Go Both Ways

I found out today I can go both ways when it comes to snowboarding.  But I’ll get to that in a minute.  I was kind of unsure what our exact plans would be since he’s the mountain man runner now and there is a newborn at the house, so I didn’t bring my skis.  I had mentioned last night that I would be snowboarding at Eldora with Syd on Saturday, so I might be interested in buying my own board while I’m here.  If I’m going to take up a hobby, even if it’s only my second time partaking in the hobby, I want my own gear.  Plus I figure it’s an investment because I want to get better at it, so now I won’t have to rent everywhere I go and wait in those lines.

Today, I woke up at 7:15 to get ready for the day of Colorado bliss.  Brandon and I dropped Syd off at school after her and I’s serious game of “My father owns a grocery store” on the way there.   So on our way to Keystone ski resort, we hit up Sports Authority to see what kind of deals I could swing.  Usually this time of year out here, the sales start going.  Everything was 20% off, not quite as deep a discount as I wanted, but I was in a buying mood.  After it was all said and done, I got my board, boots, and bindings for what it would have costed me this year’s Burton board at regular price.  We grabbed some ski passes at the kiosk and we were on!  Here’s my new toy.

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It was a bright day when we arrived. A bit brisk, but nothing we couldn’t handle. We had heard a storm was coming but had the Hummer tire chains in case anything serious happened and we needed to get home.  We rode up to the main peak and I strapped in.  It had been literally a year since I’d done this the last and first time.  I fell on my butt a few times, but it all started to come back after the first 100 yds or so.  I spent the first part of the day just getting my legs under me and getting some turning down.  I’m pretty sure I wasn’t doing it right, but I did what I felt like would keep me upright and headed down the mountain.  The guy that set up my bindings asked me how I wanted them… umm… dude?  just told you I’m a beginner.  Give me some help.  So he set it up the way I wakeboard with the right foot in the back, but I was able to head down with either the left or right in front.  Which, was nice today as it gave one leg a break while the other took over.  We made it down and over to the back side of the mountain for a few runs before conditions got a little worse. It was snowing pretty heavy and I was wearing down.

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I was in need of some fuel and a rest. We made our way to a little pit stop for some food and took a seat in the warming hut. I took my gloves off expecting to find white-finger-disease on my right middle finger but it was just beet red. And it hurt. Like a sonofabitch. I think what happened is with skiing, your hands are gripping poles and moving around. With snowboarding, they just hang there taking in all the wind. After a 10 minute bitch session with my brother, he gave me a warmer pack and I started moving my fingers each second on every run. About 15 minutes later, we were back to normal and also back on the front side of the resort which wasn’t being bombarded with snow.

We took in some more runs before calling it a day.

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And my brother found one run he really thought suited me.

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On the last run down, I tried to act like I knew what I was doing and point my board straight down and just ride out the edges.  I biffed… twice… hard.  I yelled at myself, got up, and got down.  After our adventure, my brother introduced me to one of his top burger joints, Smashburger.  Here’s me ready to dig into to my meal!

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It was quite tasty!  Afterward, we headed home in a sea of fog, snow, and wettness.  The family was doing their usual routine, but we made time for some 4 party Mario World on Wii!  Tomorrow holds a run or 2 up a mountain… doesn’t he realize I just boarded my legs off all day?  Oh well, motor through!

Brandon’s story…

Here’s some video of the event if you want to watch me sloooooooow mo boarding.  Maybe I’ll be faster Saturday.

Colorado Adventure Day 3

Today, we took Miss Sydney on our skiing adventure.  We arrived at Eldora Ski Resort a little before noon.  Just in time for the half day skiing prices.  I started skiing in 1997 at Boyne Highlands up in Michigan and have since racked up skiing in Indiana, Nevada, California and Colorado.  I counted how many times I’d been skiing in my life and decided it was time to try snowboarding.  15 times… yep, ready for something new.  Here’s Eldora.

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Brandon and Syd went off to the greens while Kyle waited with me to get suited up with a snowboard.  I got my boots and went to get the board.  The guy just hands it to me and says “have fun”.  I go…. ahhhh…. can I ask you a question.  Since I had never been snowboarding I needed to know what foot was most likely to always stay strapped in.  I’ve been told I wakeboard goofy foot, but to me it feels right.  Turns out, the way I wakeboard is the way I should snowboard.  We walked over to the easiest green lift and I strapped a foot in.  I about fell right there.  This damn board was slippery!  It took quite a while to get used to dragging a 5 foot long board around while the other foot is trying to keep traction on snow.

Getting off the chair was fine, but maintaining my balance on one foot was not.  I think all day I successfully got off the chair lift without falling 5 times, but luckily you have to sit down to strap in your other foot so you can kind of play off the fall if it’s graceful enough.  After a few falls on my first two runs, I was ready for some bigger greens and blues.  I think I did pretty good for my first time out.  My only falls later in the day were because there was a 15 kid pile up for ski school and I didn’t want to make snowballs out of any of them.  Kyle stayed with me for some runs until he was bored and ready for more challenges himself.  I went back to find Syd and B.  When they were done, I went back to the blues to find Kyle.  I could have stayed up there all day, but everyone in my party was ready to leave.  I think I found my new winter hobby.  If anyone is looking to buy me a gift, I’m a size 9 boot and about a 150 board!

Check out my brother’s story.