Telluride, Colorado

February 6-13, 2010

Harford Ski Club in Telluride 2010

Harford Ski Club’s first trip of the ski season was to Telluride, CO - now known by trip participants as “To-Hell-You-Ride”. Getting there and getting back proved more challenging than the mountain itself. But the time spent on the mountain & around town more than made up for the travel issues.

GETTING THERE: A gallant group of thirty set out during the infamous Blizzard of February 2010.

Originally scheduled for departure from BWI on Saturday, February 6th, we actually got started on February 4th.  And February 5th, February 6th & February 8th! Some from Baltimore, some from Dulles, some from Philadelphia, a beleaguered group of 10 from Newark, NJ  & one from Ohio. Thankfully, Dick Capone had always planned to fly from Ohio!  When the weather forecasts consistently indicated that we would not make it out on Saturday, a mass email went out. Everyone was asked if they could fly out on Friday instead, to beat the incoming blizzard. Our enthusiastic crowd replied with a resounding “yes” & through the valiant efforts of our tour operator, Doug, we were all rebooked for Friday at 5:30pm. As that time approached, the weather held off & planes continued to fly out, giving us a sense of hope. Little did we realize, that NO planes were flying IN. The Stipe family, Bill, Pat & Jack, was able to reschedule on their own & got out of Dulles on Friday. As time passed & nobody else arrived, Jack bewilderedly asked “where are all the other people”? Meanwhile, Dwight Fuller, who stated that he “really needed” his vacation took the bull by the horns & purchased a First Class ticket out on Friday morning. And the last to successfully defy the dastardly dump of snow was the Macielag family. John, living up to his hard-charging reputation, put Patty & Noah in the car & headed off to BWI on Thursday. They were able to successfully maneuver the waitlist process & got out that evening; adding an unexpected 2-day vacation in Salt Lake City to their itinerary.

Meanwhile, back on the east coast, Mike Zullo, Sharon Roche, Mary Nichols, Phyllis Sassone & Haven Frank packed up early on Friday & headed to a hotel near the Philly airport so they’d be all set for their rescheduled departure on Sunday. When Sunday rolled around, they checked out of their hotel & headed to ????? The Philly airport? Nooooooo! To a different hotel in Newark, NJ for their departure out of that airport on Monday. They were joined on Sunday by Rick Horne & Susan Lawrence, who had been camping out at her sister’s house. Jim Deitsch played chauffeur for Susanne & Peter Simson, who departed Harford County in the wee small hours of the morning in order to complete the group of ten in Newark. Mike, who has always been one of the club’s great “go-to” people, was named the Assistant to the Assistant Trip Leader, Newark Region. Nothing came with the title except the gratitude of the trip leader, Pat. Thank you, Mike!

Lunch in the sunIn Philly, Hanns & I settled in at their hotel to watch the Super Bowl. The silver lining to our scheduling/ rescheduling mess was that we were able to enjoy a genuine Philly cheese steak while watching the game. Nine more intrepid travelers, Bob Jones, Bob Bossoli, Lisa Caico, Ernst Leschke, Rich Capone, John Morrison, Sandy Maciver, Mick Curtis, & assistant leader Fran d’Amico, made their way to the Delta counter at Philly airport on Monday morning, joining the Vandreys. You don’t even want to know how disorganized that was; so let’s just skip ahead.

Our two groups arrived in Salt Lake City & reunited for the trip to Montrose. The only thing missing from the reunion was Hanns’ suitcase. It finally began to feel like a vacation.  Telluride Express whisked us off to Telluride where we checked in to the condos without incident. Dwight, who was awarded the title of Assistant to the Assistant Trip Leader in charge of Lift Tickets (another job with no benefit other than a sincere Thank You), met us at the bus & we handed out the passes. After a restless night without his Speed Racer pajamas, Hanns was relieved to see his suitcase being delivered to his door at 6:00am the next morning. Well, it looked like his suitcase & had his clothes inside, but the tag said it belonged to Z Breidenbaugh. So I guess she was at least there with us in spirit.

Last, but not least, to arrive in Telluride where Myong & Erik Parker. They were dropped off at 12:15am, and, unfortunately, in front of the wrong condos. Not realizing this, I tried without success to explain to them how to find the entrance to our condo. When it was finally determined where they were, the only simple solution was for Hanns & I to get dressed & go guide them home. Thank you, Myong & Erik, for being light packers!

THE WEEK IN TELLURIDE: Oh how we love this mountain!

It has breath-taking views from the top (as if we weren’t already oxygen deprived), steep & deep bowls, fabulous blue groomers, the Enchanted Forest & almost anything else you might want. Lift lines were virtually non-existent and the lifts were swift and reliable. Well, there was that one lift, Plunge lift, which was a bit slower than others. But several of us agreed with Bob Bossoli that it was good to have the extra time for your “thigh burn” to recover from the black diamond runs which it serviced. And first time visitors quickly discovered that Telluride color-coding of trails is relative to their mountain. Remarks such as “they call that a blue run?” were common. Many of us made the Prospect Bowl our main ski area. With the infinite choices of groomed runs versus woods and powder, you may have started & ended in the same spots, but the path you skied in between was never the same twice. Lisa & Ernie found an adventurous route through one of the gates in this area & they took Dwight and me with them on the second run. Down through the deep powder and into a continually narrowing gorge where all the runs from the Gold Hill Chutes converged. Having successfully ducked the tree branches, stayed out of the stream & maneuvered the series of bumps at the bottom of the chute, I can say it was fun. Do it again? Might be pushing my luck. But, thanks for sharing the adventure with us. Mick Curtis, Sandy MacIver, Myong & Erik Parker spent a day snowmobiling. Mick reports the following: “What a wonderful location for skiing and adventure. I thought it was interesting that on our snowmobile trip to Dunton (remote mining town nearby), we were told that the term basket case came from Telluride…it referred to injured miners who were so severely injured they had to be lowered from mountain tops to the town in a basket…hence..basket case….later used in many ways, often to indicate severe mental/physical damage…often  the result of being a to hell you ride  ski trip leader. Dick Capone had the most expensive trip by far.  Here’s his tongue-in-cheek report: “Home OK skis were lost and arrived today. Great mountain if you can afford the trip from Montrose. I was charged $1,166 in error!!!! (editorial note: That is actually the amount the entire group was supposed to pay.)Heading for the slopes Did 123,000 feet vertical in 6 days, which isn’t bad. Rich and I were hoping to break our record of eating 13 donuts at Baked in Telluride but that went up in flames.” Fran, we all discovered, likes to push the envelope. Okay for him, but he took the rest of us with him!  Fran reports: “Second run of the day... so let's follow Fran down this mogul run. It doesn't look so bad. 10 turns later... Oh s&@t! This run isn't what I signed up for. What did you get us into! Dwight wants payback. Fran you owe me a beer. But we all get down - eventually - and no one gets hurt. Maybe we shouldn't follow Fran again ;-)”. Lunch on the mountain has its own reputation for being expensive, but “Alpino Vino” took that to new heights (pun intended). The food was very good, but the $10 price tag on a bottle of water, $21 for a glass of wine  combined with the $24 hit for a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup put it straight into the category of “been there, done that” for most of us.

The “Good Sport” award goes to Sharon Roche & Mary Nichols.  Seems most of their challenges occurred back at the condo. We aren’t sure why, but the nice folks at Cimarron Lodge didn’t seem to understand that Sharon had a bit of a problem getting in and out of her bed. Could it be because she had a torn meniscus, was walking with a cane and her mattress & box spring were on the floor? Mary offered to trade beds with her, but her bed was on wheels (which didn’t lock) and it scooted all over the room. Every time Mary went to the bathroom during the night, she had to come back & relocate her bed & pillows. They finally got the bed frame to Sharon after she put in a personal appearance at the desk. And to show how bad they felt about the situation, they even offered her a bed on wheels so she & Mary could have races.

We all enjoyed the restaurants & shops in Telluride. If you wanted to enjoy “Baked in Telluride” though, you had to do it on Tuesday as it burned to the ground that night. It was a significant loss for the town & people, who were all quite upset about it. Fortunately for us, we had already decided to cancel our Pizza Party due to our shortened stay - we were going to have our pizzas delivered by “Baked in Telluride”. Another popular spot was the Telluride Brew Pub. Ernie & Fran invented their own new drink – the Hot & Dirty Martini, featuring both an olive & a peppercini. How was it guys?

Still eatingThe only injury report I received was from John Macielag, who stated that he hurt his ankle when he “crashed into a tree snowboarding on Happy Thought on day 2. Sucked it up and Tele'd the rest of the week”. Actually, I did manage to get through the ski week without crashing, but took a hard fall on my derriere when I tried to pull my suitcase off the back of the truck on the icy driveway at 3:30 am Sunday. Better later than sooner.

GETTING HOME:Well, what can I say?

Stood in line too long at Montrose. We are all blaming this on Phyllis. After the computer printed out her boarding pass for the second leg of the trip instead of Montrose to Atlanta, the system was all mucked up. Eventually we did all get checked in, passed through a pretty short security line & finally onto the late arriving plane. Another 2-hour delay in Atlanta while we awaited the arrival of a fresh flight crew saw us all arriving home in the wee hours of the morning. A few of the group elected to stay overnight in Newark before finally heading back to Harford County. The main thing is that we all arrived home safely.

THANKS TO EVERYONE: My sincere thanks to all of you for your patience and support during the trip – especially the travel portions. I always knew that we have a terrific group of people in Harford Ski Club, and this just reinforced my fondness for all of you. I believe this was the first time that our club has had to delay a trip departure due to snow in Maryland. I sincerely hope it is also the last!

Pat Vandrey
Harford Ski Club, Inc
Trip Leader, Telluride CO 2010