Sunday, November 4, 2012

Exploring the high Rockies

First snow fall in Avon, October, 2012

 So its been a little over two weeks since I've been in Colorado, and in this time we have done a wee bit of exploring in our new home high within the Rocky Mountains. This place is unlike anywhere I have ever been before, and we live right in the middle of the ritziest, most expensive and exclusive ski resort towns in Colorado, or maybe all of America! 

Upon coming out here, I was very nervous about the idea of living in the mountains, especially after our year of summer! I was afraid of the cold and even more afraid of the snow! Luckily its hasn't been nearly as cold or snowy as I thought it might be. But once we did get some snow about a week ago, to my surprise I was really excited about it! We woke up in the morning to a blanket of snow over everything, and we had a very spectacular view of the snow covered pine trees covering the mountains right behind our house. 

With work off for the day for Thomas, a sensible decision from his superiors, we decided to take a drive through the mountains with our roommate Chris! This was my first excursion out of Avon to see the surrounding mountain towns, and it did not disappoint. Chris was on a mission to visit a tiny ski manufacture that opened just 3 years ago to try and persuade them to sponsor him. Chris being a leading telemark skier of the region, he had good grounds to persuade. We took some back roads winding through the mountains for about an hour until we got to the Meier Ski Shop. We spent nearly 3 hours at this tiny shop, got to talk to the husband and wife owners and was shown the process from start to finish of how to construct skis! Thomas is now fixated on the idea of having his own ski/snowboard/surf shop/brew pub now! Chris must have impressed them, because he walked out with a sponsorship and 3 new pairs of skis! Lucky! 

On Chris' new skis
Thomas + Amy in Aspen


Chris being a good guy and an enthusiastic tour guide, decided to take us a further half hour out to Aspen! I was so excited to see Aspen, but it wasn't a good day to be there. It started snowing again right as we got into town, so we got some lunch, took some photos, and decided to make the possibly unwise decision of going over the frighteningly high Independence Pass for our journey home. It proved to be about the scariest experience of my life, with ice and snow covering the skinny, windy, often one lane road that went up over 12,000 ft! I tried not to look down, and did some deep breathing in the back seat, and was very happy when we got back to a normal 8,000 ft. 

Driving Independence Pass
Whiteout at the top of the pass
We also have had the chance to check out our local mountains. The mountain resort in Avon is called Beaver Creek, and it is one of the most gorgeous mountain resorts I've ever seen. Most people in Avon either work or ski or both up here as its just a short bus ride from the bottom of the mountain. Tucked away up there so you can't even see the village until about the final minute of the ride! Completely dead in the off season and under ongoing construction, I felt a bit weird walking around, but some stores were open and I opted to get a coffee and sit on one of the couches with a fire pit in front the ice skating rink positioned in the center of the village! I hope to work up here during the season!

Beaver Creek

We also went out to Vail with some friends, just a 10 min drive East from Avon. Vail is probably the second most famous mountain town in Colorado after Aspen, and to be honest, far more spectacular. Aspen was more a typical town with a few touristy shops thrown in, whereas Vail is more like what Switzerland at Epcot in Disney World would look like. You're not allowed to park your car in Vail, and instead you can walk through the numerous pedestrian malls over cobblestone bridges and look in awe at the Swiss/Austrian style hotels, restaurants and gawk over the snow capped mountains in the background. 

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