Blue Skies and Fast Skis

At 5am on the first day of 2012, we left our hotel in New York for the airport.  People were still up from the night before and there was a man passed out on the street.  Ah, New York.  Mum, David and I got in the shuttle and I had to say goodbye to Mark.  He was heading back to Australia and we were going skiing.  I had seen him every day for 5 months… and then just not.  But it’s OK, because in 8 days I would meet him back in Aus and we will be home, and in the meantime I got to go on an awesome holiday with my Mum and brother.  When we arrived at Vail we were met by PowderHound transport to drive us through the mountains for 3 hours to the resort.  Our driver was incredibly tall and pretty much the character of Michael Kelso from That 70s Show.  He was even from Wisconsin.  He spent the trip talking to us about what he would do if he were a buffalo and the weird pets his dad made him have as a kid (he didn’t even like lizards or millipedes!)  For the first time I think mum was happy to participate in the American custom of tipping.  Our lodge at Lionshead was awesome.  The people were all super friendly and we just walked out the door to the gondola.

Our lodge and the gondola are so close they fit in the same shot

Our room was supposed to have a “moderate mountain view,” but I’m not sure how your can get much better than your huge window and balcony extending out over a running stream to see the snowy mountain.  I would be interested to see a “full mountain view.”  We even had a kitchen so could avoid mountain prices and creatively cook our own food.  Mum seems impressed when I come up with a honey glazed salad with cashews when it seems like we have no food.  I enjoy creative cooking.

Ok, enough about our accommodation (amazing though it was).  We skied too.  Unfortunately there wasn’t much snow.  The worst Vail has seen in 30 years in fact.  Luckily, as Aussies, we have had practice skiing on ice and were able to enjoy the awesome terrain.  The weather was great too with blue skies and warm temperatures every day.  The runs were awesome and we got to see a big portion of the mountain on a free guided tour.

On the sunny mountain

Something I really like about Vail is that it’s mostly advanced terrain, and so most people who go there can ski.  This is wonderful, as people crash into you far less than at Perisher or Thredbo.  The runs are steep and there are lots of trees, I think Vail Mountain has about 75% advanced terrain.

Blue sky and nice trees

The scenery was just lovely.  The skies were blue for the 5 days we were in Vail (which was beautiful but meant no snow) and there were trees everywhere.  We even managed to see a few cute little tree squirrels on our tree-lined runs.  We couldn’t ski all the runs were wanted (well couldn’t ski them with any style), because the ice made the runs so fast and difficult to turn on.

David was easy to spot on the snow

David bought a fancy camera called a GoPro, which he strapped to his chest and later his pole.  It took everything in fish-eye and made for some fun runs and a bit f show-boating.

Off the slopes, the villages in Vail and Lionshead were a lot of fun and very pretty.

Mum and a moose
Polar bear snow sculpture

We spent some time in the outdoor hot tub getting better acquainted with very rich people from Chicago and Atlanta.  The resort and accommodation were very flash, and attracted a certain clientelle.  One who is happy to extend their holiday by a few days, come back to Vail when the snow gets better and might get invited to Australia or Vegas for conferences.  Meeting these people really made me want to have a job where I can have enough money to not stress over price tags.   I am thinking a uni lecturer would be a very cool job.  They seem to get a good amount of money and holidays.

Well, to wrap up: Vail was great, skiing with Mum and David is amazing and I want to go back already!

David’s skis on the chairlift
Me and Mum on the chairlift
Vail terrain – ice made it harder
David explored the terrain parks


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