I returned yesterday from my birthday trip to Loveland Basin with my son, and here are the promised report and pictures. I’ll post a few more pictures in a Facebook album later this week and add a link to it here.
I’m not an expert skier by any means. I make it to the slopes maybe once every three years or so now. I skied more when I was going to school in Colorado and when we lived in California. After a few warmups, I can usually handle the intermediate runs, though I’m backing off a bit now for safety’s sake, understanding that I’m not as young as I used to be. I ski a little slower, too, which gives me more time to appreciate the scenery when I’m not dodging 8-year-old speed demons, bombing down the hill at 80 miles per hour on my left and right.
Loveland sits astride the Continental Divide at one of the highest elevations of any ski resort in the Rockies, so they’re usually the first to open for the season. It’s about a 9-hour drive from our house, not bad when you’ve got company. About half the runs, and almost all the ones we cared about, were open for skiing. There was plenty of variety, and we never got bored.
I was pleased at how well my body held up, after all the angsting over my 50th birthday. I had enough endurance to ski the entire day, my control was good, and I even took a couple of tumbles without breaking anything. I was sore in the evening, but nothing I couldn’t handle, and it was fun. I actually felt stronger and more comfortable on day 2, which was a big morale boost.
We picked a good weekend. It wasn’t too cold, aside from occasional gusty wind and blowing snow. There was fresh powder on the mountain, and lift lines were very short. Roads were clear, though we departed for home with a moderate snowstorm nipping at our heels. Timing, as they say, is everything.
It was nice to get some “guy time” with my oldest son, who, at 24, isn’t a kid any more but still has enough childhood elan that he’s fun to watch. He’s still mastering the snowboard, but he gained a ton of confidence on this trip and was beating me to the bottom of the hill most of the time on the second day, carving plenty of sweet turns along the way. We talked a lot riding up the lifts, though the awesome beauty of pine-dotted mountains blanketed in snow often moved us to silent contemplation, just soaking it all in.
We took one of these trips a couple of years ago, when he was just starting to board, and there were a few moments of sheer perfection at the top of that mountain with him–those times when you realize you are in a gloriously beautiful place, doing something you love to do, in the company of someone you love dearly. All your little problems fade away in that instant, and you realize the simple fact of living is wonderful and so very, very right.
Those times are a precious gift from God, and I can count maybe a handful of such moments in my entire life. I added another to my collection this weekend.