Skiing is nostalgic and now undeniably, just like riding a bike. I learned how to ski with my dads belt tied around my waist as he held it out in front of him, guiding me down the mountain between his two skis. My family and I spent numerous weekends and school breaks during the winter at places like Stowe, Okemo, Stratton, Killington, Waterville Valley, Sugarloaf. And every Wednesday in Elementary school, my brother and I were bused up to Berkshire East in an after school program.
How did I get so lucky to have an athletic mom and dad who enjoyed culturing us with so many things when we were kids?! Grateful is an understatement, but little did I know, they were holding out on us! They didn’t tell us there was such a thing as skiing in fresh powder out West. A place like Vail gets snow, sometimes sixteen days in a row. In the North East, we weren’t accustomed to those conditions because it didn’t snow nearly as much and the snow makers simply couldn’t produce anywhere close to that. Anyone I speak to who regularly hits the slopes out West, scoffs at the the icy conditions I was subjected to my whole life. Once you experience the unreal conditions in Colorado, you will be turned into a skiing/snowboarding snob and will never go back to such “poor conditions” you once knew. So I decied to finally look at ski rentals Vail had to offer me, and now I know why.
From the rumors I’ve heard over the years, skiing out West is certainly different than New England skiing. We have ice, they have powder. For the first time ever, I was able to take a very quick break from my freelance grind to experience Colorado skiing – what everyone in New England dreams about. I packed my camera, tripod and a backpack with the intention to take it to the top of the mountain and stop along the way as I skied down to capture my outfits and the views. I had imagined taking my skis off to climb in the woods to capture a few great shots. Instead, I decided to really take a break, which is something super hard for me to do but so very, very important. It was time to listen to my body.
Since becoming a freelancer, the one thing I absolutely miss most is traveling and exploring the world. I’m just over a year in and was afforded an opportunity to take my first trip. I planned on it being a working trip (of course) but once I arrived, it felt imperative and absolutely necessary to just be in the moment and enjoy the experience. So, I left my camera in my carry on bag which I shoved in the corner of the closet, and didn’t look back. It was a bit unusual for me to only use my iPhone to document my travels, my camera otherwise is always in my hand. Seeing as though I constantly work and grind in the pursuit of fulfilling my dreams, I often forget how important self care is but it’s always really special to have good friends there to remind you. This was so good for my soul.
I stayed at the Sonnenalp, a five star luxury hotel situated in the Village at the base of the mountain, making it easy to get on and off the slopes. Reminiscent of a true European Village, you can walk out the door for a stroll downtown where you’ll find boutique clothing stores and ski/snowboarding shops. Also know for it’s culinary scene, there are too many restaurants and bars to list, making this is the perfect village to kick back after a full day on the mountain. Being at 8,100 feet above sea level and 11,570 at the top of the mountain, I excessively drank copious amounts of water to avoid mountain sickness. There was a morning or two I felt shaky, but guzzled down some more water and felt fine.
Vail, which most people don’t know was only founded in 1962. A very new town and a very little town, just having a total area of about 4.5 miles. It’s surrounded by the White River National Forest and has stunning, stunning views everywhere you look. The entire town is essentially considered “ski in, ski out,” thanks to its free public transportation system. You can get to anywhere in the Vail area without having to get into a car!
I sort of relaxed (yay!), I skied until the lifts shut down, I ate ridiculously delicious food and also experienced my very first annual US Burton Open (slope style and half pipe finals). The weekend was packed with aprés ski fun and I got to do my most favorite thing – listen to live music each night from Twiddle, Gramatik and Lizzo each night!
It was hard to stop smiling because I was in awe of how stunning our country is. This trip was one for the books and I highly recommend going out there for a weekend to hit the slopes and for the breathtaking views, you only ever see in the movies.
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