Steamboat, Colorado

February 1-8, 2014

Steamboat, Colorado

Snow!  Snow! Snow!   I think that’s the best way to describe the Harford Ski Club’s trip to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Twenty-five club members made their way to Steamboat Springs by plane, bus, and in the case of one couple, automobile. It must be mentioned that U.S. Airways has really improved the group check-in process since last year, and entire group got checked in smoothly both in Philadelphia and Denver. A strong headwind held up our flight to Denver from Philadelphia by about 20 minutes. However everyone arrived safe and sound early Saturday evening, after loading up on groceries at King Sooper and adult beverages at Apple Jacks. On the bus trip Rick S. got most everyone to contribute to Super Bowl pool at $1 a box. With the gracious assistance of the Kutuk condominiums staff, everyone got settled in their respective condos, and lift tickets were distributed to all the skiers

Most folks headed out to local eateries. Along with our meals, we got a healthy serving of overconfidence from the local Denver Broncos fans.

Group at SteamboatSunday was a bright, beautiful day for skiing. Packed powder and some loose powder on the mountain, and much fun to be had. Unfortunately our one and only injury occurred when Jeff took a hard fall (with an assist from Ricky B.). Not to be deterred, Jeff soldiered on the rest of the week.

Without a dog in the fight, the Harford crowd was looking forward to an entertaining Super Bowl on Sunday evening, and we were off the slopes and tuned in by kickoff.  About thirty seconds later it was pretty clear that the Broncos had forgotten something on the plane, and turned in a horrible performance, leading to much wailing and gnashing of teeth among the locals. Apparently Coloradoans gnash their teeth on chicken wings, because there was not a wing to be had on Monday… The halftime pool was won by guess who? That’s right, Rick S. Can you say FIX! Even more suspiciously, the end of game pool was one by his friend and condo-mate Lee! Needless to say, the fix was in!

On Monday it snowed – a lot. White out conditions at times, but when you could see, the Champagne Powder™ made for terrific skiing! Whoops of joy echoed from the glades in Morningside Park to the steeps of Voo Doo.

We held our belated Welcome Party at the nearby Torian Plum on Monday evening. Pizza, garlic bread sticks and beer. Alas, no chicken wings. But a good time was had by all.

Tuesday was a repeat of Monday. Lots of blowing snow provided plenty of fresh powder for those that sought it out, although some elected to take the day off, or packed it in early. Can you imagine not skiing due to a simple thing like not being able to see where you are going?

skiing SteamboatRick S., Lee, Erik, and Pat fell in love with the tree skiing, and spent almost as much time in there as on the slopes. Of course, this was the bunny trees – Steve, Bob G., and Jeff were over in the big boy trees on Morningside having even more fun.

Bart managed to hook his unbuckled boot into Pat's boot while exiting the chairlift. It looked a bit like Olympic pairs skating as they descended the run off from the lift, and like a pair of champs, they "stuck the landing" and untangled the boots without a fall.

Tuesday evening about half the group piled into a van and went to Strawberry Hot Springs for a dip in the hot pools fed by the hot springs. Most of the group stuck to the 100 and 103 degree pools, but a few brave souls ventured into the 106 degree and even the 57 degree pools. Getting out and getting dressed on the snow covered walkways was a challenge, but everyone in this hearty bunch persevered.

Wednesday was sunny and cold. Many took to the opportunity to rest their tired legs and ventured to downtown Steamboat Springs via the excellent local (and free) bus system. There we found the kind of excellent Mexican food you don't get east of the Rockies. Meanwhile, the die-hards hit the slopes again, and reportedly had a great day of skiing.

We almost had our second injury when Marty ran over Linda's foot with his car while she was attempting to clear the windows of snow. But Linda is made of stern stuff and walked away unscathed.

Skiing the treesThe snow returned on Thursday and Friday, along with the limited visibility. But once again there was great powder skiing all across the mountain. Really, if you're skiing deep powder in the trees, you really don’t need to see beyond the next tree anyway! Steve and Bob G. did their good deed for the day by retrieving a lift operator's glove from under the South Peak chair lift. Skiing out from under the lift they sunk chest-deep in the powder – what a thrill!

Unfortunately all good things come to an end, and everyone had to pack up Friday evening in order to get our bags out for pick by 9 pm. Seemingly a few minutes later we were all waiting for the bus at 3:30 am, which arrived a few minutes late due to an accident on Colorado highway 40. Due to everyone’s cooperation we still managed to load the bus and leave ahead of the scheduled 4 am departure. A detour due to the accident caused us to cross three high passes instead of the usual two, but our intrepid bus driver [need name – John?] calmly piloted our bus through the snow and got us to Denver safely. After another smooth check-in, we boarded our respective flights and headed home with wonderful memories of Champagne Powder™ dancing in our heads.

Finally, I want to congratulate Mike Zullo on a lifetime of skiing. Mike reports he is hanging them up after this trip, having skied into the year he will turn 75. That's an amazing accomplishment that we should all be so lucky to achieve. Way to go Mike!

Steve Landry, Trip Leader
Rick Swinder, Asst. Trip Leader

Group shot

Billy Kidd statue and Steamboats Olympic Tourch