Loveland: Thursday, March 12, 2010

Back to Loveland to break my three-week involuntary snowboard fast. Boy did I break it. With aplomb.

I took advantage of a STEAL, $15 lift tickets courtesy of the folks over at 95.7 The Party! This radio station has been hosting monthly Hooky Days on Thursdays, and I and two of my fellow snowsports enthusiasts, Jer and Geo, headed up to puff through the five inches of powder that was reported that morning.

Now here’s the beauty of America: Geo does not live in Colorado but has a five-mountain pass. On our way to pick up Jer, (who was waiting at the dinosaur parking lots in Morrison, just a mile down the road from Red Rocks), Geo revealed that he hadn’t printed out the necessary coupon to redeem for his $15 lift ticket. Armed with his fancy phone, we found a Kinkos and printed out the ticket for $1.12. A ten-minute detour, at most.

When we arrived at Loveland about an hour later, the parking lot was almost full of other $15 coupon holders. We rocked out to some James Brown as we geared up for a day on the hill.

Even though the parking lot was full and the snow conditions were excellent, the only line that day was the one to get lift tickets. I laughed as I heard complaining. For $15, you are not allowed to complain about standing in line for 10 minutes while you trade beer money for ski money.

We warmed up on the usual Chair 1, Geo on the board and Jer on her skis. We veered left toward the end of Mambo onto Chair 6, which is where the powder was hidden. We swished through the gambling runs: Keno, Blackjack, and Roulette. The snow right under Chair 6 at the top was untracked, and we went for it, audience be damned.

The powder was there, the light was flat, and the wind was unfortunately also present. The long lift ride up Chair 2 was uncomfortable and cold. But the two-mile easy-to-intermediate run down to the bottom warmed us up.

Not a lot of stopping that day.

Now, I’m fairly familiar with Loveland and find my way around without referring to a trail map – which I like, nay, need to do in unfamiliar territory. So Jer and I went out blind (Geo was out hucking off the Ridge at the top of Chair 9 – God Bless You, kid) to Dealer’s Choice. Dealer’s Choice was a powder dream, and I was flummoxed as to why. Why have so few people skied or boarded down this trail?

Because it flattens out. Way out. Like get off your board out.

So we earned beers. Coors was doing a special, in coordination with the lift ticket deal, for $2.50.

After 3.5 hours of non-stop powder (OK, some spots were icy, but I can count them on one hand), we called it a REALLY GOOD day.

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