Jun01

Colorado, Here We Come: Let’s Go Spring Skiing

Here’s the thing about Miami come spring. Actually, come the first hint of spring. It’s hot. And it gets hotter out of nowhere. Like today, in June, when its hard to tell the difference between the surface of the sun and Miami. Knowing this, when the opportunity to be a Seekender again for Hampton by Hilton arose, we opted to ditch the bike and bring along the whole crew. The thing about traveling is, it’s selfish to keep it to yourself. What’s beautiful about seeing the world is sharing it with the people you love. So instead of a Seekender adventure for two, ours became an adventure for five. One of which we’re hard-pressed to peg down in photos as he’s in the teenage years and raging against the social media machine. Rare sightings of the elusive Julien will make their way into this tale as its told, so keep an eye out for him. The others: Jorge, Milly and Jorgie and I, well, you’ll see for yourself the time we had and how awesome it was.

Colorado is the polar opposite of Miami. I know this because I’ve been there as a Seekender before, on our first adventure to Glenwood Springs. It was beautiful, magical, special in a way that I’ll let the stories I’ve told before describe. While on that trip I saw it in full bloom. But what I hadn’t experienced was what it’s probably best known for: skiing. As luck would have it, the opportunity for this trip came at the last moment for spring skiing. And while my whole crew, including the littlest of the bunch, Milly, had had at least one go down a mountain, it was something I’d never tried before. Would it be fun? Would I be good at it? The only way to find out was to try. So off to Silverthorne, Colorado we went to settle into our Hampton by Hilton. Once there, we realized the air was chillier than back home. But the sun kept it warm outside. Hot coco from the lobby station was in order as we lugged in our snowboarding gear.

Our hotel was just a hop, skip and a jump away from Vail. In 20 minutes we could be on the mountain. And in yet another 30 we could be in the springs of Glenwood Springs. The proximity was awesome.

After settling in, the next morning we hit the complementary breakfast—the kids all abuzz from making their own waffles and warmed ourselves by the lobby fireplace. And then it was off into the chilly Colorado morning that awaited the sun to warm its bones.

As we geared up at Vail, Milly and I bid farewell to the boys, who were black diamond bound, and headed off to our ski schools. Well, hers was skiing. Mine was snowboarding. A decision I made because I knew someday lessons would end and I’d be left with Jorge and the boys giving me instruction. And since none of them know how to ski, I figured the board would be the best bet for me in the long run. So off to school I went, dressed like a gothic version of the Stay Puff Marshmallow man. The gear wasn’t cute, but it wasn’t long before I understood it’s purpose. The lone ranger of my ski school, I was in for two days of private lessons, which meant there was nowhere to hide and all the attention was on me. And when it’s just you and you’re strapped to a board whizzing down a mountain, well, you learn things pretty quickly. Like falling. But it was all in good fun. The benefit of spring skiing this close to the end of the season is how empty the place is. It’s like a secret. A wonderful secret. After the sun rose high in the sky, the day became warm and the white mountains of snow made the sky’s brilliant blue pop in the most majestic way. In this environment, it’s hard not to realize how lucky I was to be in this snowy mountain paradise so close to the end of the season. It was winter and yet it wasn’t. My instructor, Lindsey, was filling my head with this and thats. And I was feeling like I was getting the hang of it. Turns out there are more similarities to snowboarding and yoga than you might realize. Maybe I would be good at this after all.

 

And then it happened. Ginger vs. the ski lift. I’d never been on a mountain before, which means I’ve never been on a ski lift before. So getting off of one wasn’t something that came naturally. Falling off of one and getting whacked in the back and then almost knocking myself out by standing up while still under it (thank god for helmets) unfortunately, did come more naturally. That happened more times than I’m happy to report back. Eventually, I caught on. But let’s just say it took awhile.

But it was fun. It was amazing, actually. Learning a new sport, trying something new with my body in an environment so different from the one back home was what this adventure was all about.

While the boys were up on the blacks doing what they did, Milly learned something new (and she’s pretty good at it, too) and so did I. On the back side of my 30s, nonetheless. I left feeling accomplished, proud. But after two days on the mountain things started to hurt, which is the side effect of falling down over and over and over again. So, with the hot springs just around the corner from our Silverthorne Hampton by Hilton, we suited up and headed to the warm mineral waters to give our muscles a vacation as well.

As we approached the Iron Mountain Hot Springs building it was wooden and looked lodge-like from the outside. It wasn’t until we reached the back that we saw a dozen pools, each with different temperatures, beckoning us. The temperatures ranged from 102 to 109 degrees. And while the air wasn’t cold per say, it still had a nip to it. Taking advantage of the opportunity to wear fury things on our heads, Milly and I donned fun hats and earmuffs and hit the water. It was warm. It was packed with minerals. It felt good. Really good after landing on my backside for the majority of the day. It was the perfect way to reconnect after a day of choosing our own adventures. We jumped from pool to pool to feel the different temperatures. We shoveled our feet under the rocks in the bottom of the tubs. We shivered when we got out. And when our fingers wrinkled like prunes, we headed home to our Hampton by Hilton in Silverthorne. Exhausted but happy, we curled up into the clean white-blanketed beds and waited to see what the next day would bring.

{What does it mean to be a Seekender? As an ambassador for Hampton by Hilton, I have the amazing job of finding adventures in and around its hotels during the course of a weekend getaway, which looks a lot like these videos below. Find out more here.}