After leaving Korea our first stop was Colorado for two weeks skiing. We flew into Denver, Colorado, hired a car and for some reason we ended up with a GMC Yokon. It was unnecessarily huge but more on that later. We stayed the first night in the Microtel Hotel and Suites, then it was on to Silverthorn where we rented an apartment through VBRO (Vacation Rental By Owner). It was a well set up two bedroom apartment with two single beds in the second room and a queen in the master suite, this was one of the reasons that I had chosen that particular apartment as most 2 bed apartments has a queen bed in both rooms. The apartment was equipped with the basics such as salt, pepper, oil and toilet paper. Overall we were very satisfied with the apartment.
On the way to Silverthorn we stopped at Loveland Ski area to pick up our passes, we ended up getting weekday season passes for the adults and season passes for the children, the four passes cost a bit less than $1300, which was more than $500 less than the passes that we could have got to ski any of the Vale Resorts ski areas, this felt good value to me. One of the good things was that I only had a weekday pass, this forced me to have a break from skiing on the weekends. On the weekends we explored the local area which we would not have done otherwise.
Silverthorn is at over 9000 feet in altitude, for the first couple of days all of my family and I suffered a bit with altitude sickness, dehydration and sun/wind burn, nothing too debilitating but not 100%. We tried to stay hydrated but it was such a massive change in circumstances it was very difficult.
I thought that Loveland was a great resort, it had a real local and family feel. Compared to Breckinridge it was a very basic resort, with most of the lifts being three seat lifts. None of the lifts had safety bars!! And there were only two places on the slopes that you can buy food and drink, the whole place was very under commercialised. All the staff were very friendly and helpful.
One thing that was a bit of a blip on our experience was that my wife’s helmet, gloves and goggles vanished form the ski hire shop while we were delivering the children to the ski lessons. We were most perplexed as the helmet is bright yellow and the gloves and goggles were not exactly new, and we could not work out why any one would steel them. We duly reported that they had gone missing to the resort, the staff were wonderful, the lifties kept an eye out for the helmet and the hire shop leant my wife replacements for the day for free, this made the bitter taste of loosing the gear far less. Three days later our faith in humanity was restored as when my wife received a phone call from a person who had been tiding up after a group of students that he had been looking after and had accidently put them in one of his gear bags.
We were staying in Silverthorn over Easter, as is our family tradition we planned to have an Easter egg hunt for our children. What we do is buy small Easter eggs and hide them round the house and garden then, when the children get up (usually far too early) we send them off looking for the eggs, this usually keeps them occupied for a good half an hour.
Below the balcony on our apartment there was a lovely snow covered slope, we decided that it was a good opportunity for a snowy Easter egg hunt. So on Easter morning we got up early and threw the eggs off the balcony on to the slope below, and returned to bed, we hoped that we could have cup of coffee watching the children search for eggs later in the morning. An hour or so later the Children were up, we convinced them to get their snow gear on and go searching for the eggs.
We got up made coffee and looked over the balcony, there were no children in sight but there was a Fox!! It was quartering the slope looking for something, it stopped and picked it up, it was an Easter egg! The fox trotted off and returned a couple of minutes later and continued searching and picked up another Easter egg, we yelled at it to scare it away but it was unperturbed by our noise and trotted off ignoring us. At this stage I realised that I could not see any eggs in the snow. Alarmed I threw my snow gear on, found the children and we all searched for any remaining Easter eggs, there were none, the fox had collected the lot!!! The children were inconsolable (my wife was not much better) and being a Sunday the shops were not open so there were no Easter eggs for any one (except the fox) BAD DADDY!!!!!!!
An oversized car
I like a big car, with a big motor, I used to think that too big was impossible, then we were upgraded to a GMC Yukon XL it was huge! I knew we needed a large car as we had 3 months worth of gear that required 7 suitcases, but when I had loaded the back of the Yukon we had just covered the floor of the boot and had not even needed to stack anything two high. One of the issues, other than its ridiculously bad fuel consumption was that when any small item was put in the boot and it slid up to the backs of the rear seats it was impossible to get out without climbing fully into the back of the vehicle. Not that the size was all bad, the skis lay flat in the back!!!!
One of the highlights of my stay was catching up with my translator (from the time I was in Korea) and her husband. We went for lunch, then a walk in the reserve overlooking the Dillon reservoir. It was great to see them, the last time I had seen them was in Seoul at their wedding six months before.
After two great weeks and my first Oxford exam looming it was time to keep moving and we were on to Florida.