Monday, March 12, 2012

This blog is temporarily closed. Please visit my other site: Women's Travel Examiner for recent ski travel stories.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Holidays at Colorado Resorts



No matter which resort you visit during the holidays, each one will be aglow with lights and festive decor, guaranteeing a sparkly and white Christmas. Santa sightings, fireworks displays and torchlight parades have been annual holiday events for years. Besides these and other special activities going on in December, here are some you may not know about. Visit websites for lodging deals. Photo: Crested Butte Mountain Resort celebrates New Year's Eve with a torchlight parade and fireworks. 
Dusty Demerson, courtesy of Crested Butte Mountain Resort.

Aspen/Snowmass—Among many holiday-themed events, the renowned Aspen Santa Fe Ballet performs The Nutcracker on the 17th and 18th at the Aspen District Theatre in Aspen. Over at Snowmass, you can drop last minute letters to Santa in his personal mailbox on the Snowmass Village Mall Dec. 6-24. 800-679-3147; aspensnowmass.com

Beaver Creek—A new tradition starts this season with Beaver Creek Loves Kids Winterfest on the 18th through Jan. 1. Interactive family activities and events will include a kids Winter Wonder Parade, disco skate nights, figure skating performances, and Animals of Winter Ice Menagerie. 800-953-0844; Beavercreek.com

Breckenridge—If you have a Santa suit and can run, join other jolly old fellows in a race down Main Street to benefit Adopt an Angel prior to the Lighting of Breckenridge that kicks off the town’s Victorian Christmas on Dec. 3.

If making snow forts is your forte, you should enter The Snowflake Challenge—a holiday snow sculpting competition for amateurs. Not to be confused with the Snow Sculpture Championships held at the end of January, this one runs from Dec. 9-16, with the snow art decorating downtown through Christmas.  800-251-2417; gobreck.com

Keystone—Every year Keystone’s Pastry Chef Ned Archibald adds a new feature to his Chocolate Village, the resort’s most popular holiday tradition at the Keystone Lodge & Spa. The amazing alpine village includes a moving gondola, a waterfall and a six-foot tall Christmas tree with presents—all made from 2,500 pounds of chocolate! It will be displayed from the 15th through Jan. 3. 877-204-7889; keystoneresort.com

Steamboat—Downtown’s main street closes down between 5 and 8 p.m. on the 10th to make strolling easy for The Joyous Jaunt, a tour of stores’ open houses and sampling of seasonal libations at pubs and restaurants. A light parade with entertainment, including a Fruit Cake toss, kicks off holiday cheer. 800-922-2722; steamboat.com

VailFamily Holidaze returns after a successful debut last season. From the 18th through Christmas Day, carolers and concerts will entertain, plus look for holiday giveaways, Santa’s workshop and lots more. On the 21st, 22nd and 23rd, champion skaters like two-time world silver medalist Patrick Chan will perform in Winter Solstice on Ice at Solaris Ice Rink outdoors in the heart of Vail Village. 800-805-2457; vail.com

Winter Park—Ski with Santa and make a memory your kids will never forget. The jolly old man will be around to take a run with kids every day during the week before Christmas. On Christmas Eve he’ll hand out presents to the little ones after skiing down in the torchlight parade. 303-316-1564; winterparkresort.com
Photo: Courtesy of Winter Park Resort

Monday, October 10, 2011

First for Colorado's ski season: Wolf Creek Ski Area

An early October snowfall allowed Wolf Creek Ski Area in southern Colorado to be the first in the state to open for the 2011-12 ski season. Typically the ski area that gets the most snow, Wolf Creek never has been among the first to open. It's earliest opening was Oct. 27, 2006. But now it has set a record, opening on Oct. 8 with a 35-inch snow depth at the summit. It will stay open through Columbus Day, then re-open for the weekend of the 15th and 16th. Conditions will likely dictate if it will stay open for the rest of the month.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Kim Kircher: The Next Fifteen Minutes—Strength from the Top of the Mountain

Kim Kircher's risky duties as a member of the ski patrol at Crystal Mountain in Washington would challenge any woman . . . or man. They are nothing compared to the challenges she faced when her husband John, the owner of Crystal, was near death's door from a congenital liver condition called primary schlerosing cholangitis.

In The Next Fifteen Minutes—Strength from the Top of the Mountain, Kim details her and John's ordeal in an intensely personal story. She compares how she dealt with the surprises and sadness of his illness with how she faced the dangers of her job on the mountain, complicated by her own disease of diabetes.

"Each visit to the clinic, every time a nurse drew blood in search of infection, every time Dr. Gores entered the room with a dour look on his face. . .I would turn toward the terrible thing and face it," she writes.

Recovering dead bodies, throwing bombs into avalanches, cutting through deep new snow on avalanche-prone terrain, suffering insulin shock—none of this was as difficult as watching her husband's battle with life.

"At least I could hold John's had, knowing that soon it may lose its warmth. I could mourn each passing heartbeat right alongside him, worrying over the countdown. At least I could fight with him, helping him gather strength, and if the end came, I would face it with him. I would, at least, have a chance to say goodbye."

Any woman or man who has nurtured a loved one through illness, anyone with diabetes, or anyone who loves skiing will devour this book. The gripping narrative goes from hospital room to the mountain and back, each memory told "in the next fifteen minutes."

Kim's book was just released by Behler Publications. It's a paperback, selling for $15.95. I highly recommend it. 








Monday, August 22, 2011

Battle of the Skiing Sexes

Ski hills are the perfect place to test compatibility, maybe better than online dating. Take a run together (athleticism), ride the chair (personality), eat lunch (coolness and cash). But those same hills can also test patience, can even lead to outright gender warfare.

A few years ago, I wrote this "He Says/She Says" piece with my colleague and ski pal John Naye from Seattle, Washington. All written in fun for snow bunnies everywhere, but still holds true for some couples today. . .

SHE SAYS:
I love to ski with men. I’ll take a ski date over an apr├Ęs-ski date any time. But, guys, if you want to ski with this downhill diva, I’ve got issues.

For starters, why do you think the forest is your private urinal? More than once I’ve taken cuts through the trees where I’ve run into a guy shakin’ his snake. And I feel like the intruder! Dude, it’s my forest too. I have the decency to wait until I get to the lodge. Really, my dog has better manners.

And speaking of manners: there’s no excuse for hawking up a luggie and thwacking it off the chairlift. Puh-leeze!

Don’t look like a dork. Zip up your jacket, cut off that collection of old lift tickets, and don’t even think about wearing jeans as ski pants. That is sooooo 70s!

Guys talk the talk, especially in the bar the night before. Usually the ones who brag the most turn out to ski with the grace and coordination of Chewbacca. And, of course, everything has got to be an unannounced contest: who can ski the fastest, the longest, the most runs, the biggest moguls, the steepest terrain, the deepest powder. And no matter how old you are, if you’re exhausted or even afraid, you never ever, ever admit it.

Another thing. I’m so tired of hearing, “Come on, you can handle this.” I’ll make that decision, thank you very much. If you want to get laid, don’t lead me astray.

Oh, and a bite of chocolate plus a squirt of Gatorade isn’t lunch. I want the full-on sit-down—your treat, of course. Besides marking the end of morning and the beginning of afternoon, lunch is an opportunity for a makeup check. Men don’t understand that we have to look cute at all times.

And where does it say that guys have to be the leaders? You think you own the mountain. You get off the lift, and zoom, you disappear. OK, so I may not know exactly where I am. But getting lost together can be romantic, n’est-ce pas? Why do you always rag me about it? Mountain scenery takes my breath away. If you want to do the same, stop occasionally and savor the moment. 

And, no, I do not want you to help me contribute to the panty tree.

Now, let’s go rip it up!

HE SAYS:
Ah, get over it, Claudia. If men didn't lead the snow parade, there wouldn't be enough ski patrollers to find all you tender-gender types lost out there on the mountain. When's the last time you actually saw a woman read and understand a trail map?

I love to ski with women too, but it's not unconditional love. Since when did whining become an Olympic sport? It's too cold, too hot, too steep, too foggy, too early, too late, too just about anything.

And how can there be "too much powder?" Why do women always want to have a leisurely breakfast on a powder day? Why am I the jerk if I want first tracks? You could happily meet me later. I know you’d find that trail map handy, then.

Having a little penis envy are we? I'll try to be discreet, but if my anatomy makes me a champion of yellow snow, then so be it. French men pee along the side of the road, so lighten up. Hell, you can even participate if you want.

One of the biggest things that bugs me about skiing with chicks is when I ask them 500 times if they want to try something a bit more aggressive, they keep saying yes. Then I take them to a blue run and all hell breaks loose, and I instantly go from Mr. Charm to Mr. Mean.

What happened to that women’s lib thing—you know, all that equal treatment under the law? Does the simple fact that I invited you to go skiing mean I get to pay for everything . . . your lift tickets, ski rental, meals, spa bills, everything? Then, once I have, the first thing I hear is, “That was an exhausting first run; I'm going to the lodge.  See you at four."

That’s $60 for a one-run lift ticket.

I don’t think women realize their ability. They may be the most technically sound skiers in the world, but will they push speed a little? No way. I mean, where is the sense of adventure? They decide to stop and chat halfway down a run, then pout about being left behind. Save the chatter for the ride. That’s what chairlifts are for.

And one more thing. Don’t ask me—don’t ever ask me—if you look fat in stretch pants!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Is Dating a Sport?

 I love this take on dating. . .written by Susannah.

The Essence of Bad Boys

You’ve heard of “Bad Boys”, right? You’ve probably even met some. Ah, you’ve dated one? Then you’ve got some scars in your heart to remember him by, don’t you. You say you were his girlfriend? No, sweetie, bad boys don’t have girlfriends; they have women, lots of women. Because women, all women, can spot a bad boy a mile away, and whatever hormone fragrance she puts out when she sees one is picked up by him immediately, and bam – she’s a target.

There he is – the bad boy – standing on the other side of the room. He may be wearing a black leather jacket or not. Even if he’s not, and say you’re a beautiful, smart and enchanting female who can have her pick of any guy in the room, you want him. And only him. And suddenly you’re not thinking about relationships or marriage or kids or contentment or happiness. In fact, you’re not thinking at all; you’re operating from something other than your human mind or human heart. You are operating from what psychologists call the Reptilian Brain, that lower part of our brain where our basic instincts dwell.

It is your basic instinct that is telling you that you want him and that you have to have him, and damned be the consequences. So why does your Reptilian Brian tell you to go get him? Because he has what you, a woman, wants and needs – intense masculine energy and great masculine genes. In order to keep the species going, it takes good masculine and good feminine genes. You’re saying, “Oh, OMG, this whole attraction thing is evolutionary?” Yep. In the animal world, the males have to compete with each other for the females. And bad boys, while they’re completely inept at being emotionally mature and responsible, definitely step up to this plate. Bad boy’s good masculine genes trigger your good feminine genes, and we all know where this going…

But, you say, what about those psychologists who tell us that being abused when we were children is the reason that bad boys are bad and that some girls are attracted to them? In terms of bad boys who are actually abusive and women who are drawn to being abused, yes, there is more than something to that. However, I’m talking about the essence of “Bad Boy” here; not psychopathic nor criminal behavior. I am talking about the energy and the essence of bad boys, including the energy and essence of all the bad boys out there who are not criminals nor have ever physically or verbally abused a woman.

This energy and essence is in his genes and he’s hooked into it. He’s got it. You may not consciously know what it is, but you know that he has it. It comes across in the way he dresses, the way he moves, the way he talks, the way he looks at you. He’s confident, he’s independent, and he lives by his own rules. Most of all, he manifests that intense masculine energy, and it doesn’t show up simply in how he presents himself to the world; it is seeping out of his pores. And, in order to keep the species going, your Reptilian Brain tells you that you absolutely must mate with this alpha gorilla. 

So, you do. And then what happens? Do your human mind and heart finally kick in, telling you that you’re so totally in love with him and that you can’t live without him that you need to embark on the project of changing him into a loving and caring husband and father? Some projects in life can be completed. This one can’t be. You can’t change him. You can’t turn him from an alpha stud preying on women into the Prince Charming you’ve always dreamed about. Prince Charming he most definitely is not.

Sounds trite, but it’s true – only he can change himself. But won’t your love change him into a caring, emotionally open guy who will pledge his undying love to you and take great care of your mutual children?  Nope. Because your love ain’t getting through to him, sweetie. He’s walled in, and his emotions are not coming out to play.

Can he change? Sure. But he’s the one who has to feel the need to change, and do all the work to change, and it’s probably going to come, with time and age, from the pain he feels from being emotionally isolated.

So, what do you do? Well, you can stay and get your heart broken, or - here comes the hard part - you leave. He’s going to dump you anyway, and doesn’t it give you some power over him to end it by your own initiative? Go home and cry, rant and rave to your girlfriends, get some therapy, start a charity, write a book, write ten songs about Bad Boys, watch all the James Dean and Marlon Brando movies you want. Just get him out of your system, chalk it all up to evolutionary influences, be happy that you’ve got feminine genes that can get triggered, and then remember your dream that you’ve had since you were a little girl about finding your perfect guy.

He’s out there and he’s waiting for you.

Copyright 2011 by Susannah

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Another Award for Lindsey Vonn

Last weekend in Bernese Oberland, Switzerland, Lindsey Vonn was honored with the 2011 Preis Herbert award, a prize given annually to any public figure who promotes the Alps through the media.  Lindsey is the first woman recipient in the award’s 10-year history. The 26-year-old ski racer is also the youngest person to ever receive the award as well as the first non-European.
 
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