If you’re lucky enough to be in the mountains, you’re lucky enough!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

White Christmas!

Well, in Colorado Springs - Not so much!  Dry as a bone, with forecast for 50 and sun on Christmas.  We have had highs between 15 degrees and 60 degrees and everywhere in between!  But we had other plans.  We were headed for the mountains to get in another cross country ski session.  The shores of Lake Dillon would be our destination - the Frisco Nordic Center is one of our all-time favorites.  With 45k of groomed trails, mostly intermediate, it gives us a lot of room to roam!
On the road - Wilkerson Pass looking over South Park to the Sawatch Range
 Blue River - bottom of Hoosier Pass

We had brilliant blue skies the whole day - hardly a cloud touched the sky, even in the mountains - BONUS.  Driving along Blue River after coming off Hoosier Pass brought back memories of Christmas Vacation - the classic scene with the rednecks playing bumper tag with the Griswolds was shot along this highway.  Actually, most of the outdoor parts of that movie were filmed in and around Breckenridge, CO, which we drove through to get to Frisco!
Cheesy pic of the Nordic center sign stolen borrowed from the net
 Frisco Nordic Center - wish they had a nicer backdrop, eh?

We arrived at Frisco and found the conditions to be exactly what we hoped for - lots of good snow and mid-20's temperatures.  Combine that with bright, sunny skies and it is a great mix for an outstanding XC Ski day!  Our mountains have been getting great snow, it simply has not made it down to the Front Range where we live - so we'll go to the snow to play and come home to dry trails ;-)  Plus, we are getting in some altitude training.  This would be our sixth training day above 8500' in the past month - and it does help.  Frisco Nordic sits at 9100 feet, which helps with the snow conditions.  The Nordic center had previously been densely forested so we weren't sure what to expect as the Mountain Pine Beetle kill has stripped most of the lodgepoles from the ski area since we were last there.  Turns out it was still a beautiful setting, despite the deforestation, as there were grand views that we've not had before.
 Getting started on the Freeway near the lodge

When we went skiing a few weeks back, we had a bit of a glitch with our gear and just decided to rent equipment at Snow Mountain Ranch.  This time, we brought our own equipment and felt much better on the snow - always good to have familiar kit when you hit the track!  We took a few minutes to ski a starter loop near the lodge to gauge the conditions, get a feel for the skis and then headed out onto the trail system.  Simply put, the snow is stellar right now - prime conditions all day and, with the temps never getting above 30, the sun never had a chance to degrade the surface.  Yet the sun is so strong up high, we quickly warmed and headed to the truck for a lighter outer layer before getting too far out.
 Great views on Crown Point
 Heading out M'Rezy with breathtaking views
 Crown Point - stopped for a breather!
 Looking out over Frisco, Colorado
Heading in after an awesome day

We had a splendid day out on the snow - what a great way to spend Christmas!  We ran out of leg and upper body endurance before we ran out of sunshine, unfortunately!  We were able to get in about 20 km before we pooped out and it was quite a great workout.  Since my folks' flight was one of over 500 cancelled out of Atlanta due to a whopping 1.5" of snow (WHAT???), we had a wide open schedule.  Consequently, we decided to head into Breckenridge for dinner at Mi Casa, one of our favorite Mexican restaurants.  It is amazing what an appetite skiing builds - we were ravenous!  We had an amazing day and are glad we were able to capitalize on the great conditions for a wonderful ski/play day on Christmas!  We are looking forward to a few more ski days this season!

Happy Trails to everyone this week!

"Shoes" - K Fischer Revolution Skate
S Rossignol Venture AR
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