Thursday, February 24, 2011

Skiing in Colorado with Dandy Dan and G d’B February 2011

I was back in Botswana when I was contacted by Dandy Dan, you may remember Dandy Dan he convinced me to do the Half Ironman with him September 2010, then at the last minute he bailed on me.

Dandy Dan had been reading about my Skiing Adventures and figured I could use some ski lessons. Dandy Dan is a ski instructor in Alaska. (Yep, Heli-Skiing) Dandy Dan offered up some free lessons. How could I turn down free?

We decided to meet in Colorado, since it was half way between Alaska and Botswana, clearly Dandy Dan did the measuring.

I had only been back in my village in Botswana for a few days and I already needed to get back to the United States. Fortunately for me with all the unrest in Northern Africa (yes, most of the turmoil that the media is reporting on in the Middle East is actually in Northern Africa, I guess the Middle East sells more papers) the United States is still offering free flights for U.S. Citizens from Africa back home. I am no longer a U.S. Citizen but still have a passport (though no longer valid), knowing the U.S. Bureaucracy I am sure it will work. I was right.

G d’B from my trip to France had been keeping up with my travels. You may remember G d’B;

G d'B - is a great guy, always having fun has never found an activity he does not like golf, disc golf, softball, cards, music, biking, rafting, skiing, hiking, camping, etc. He always wants to hang with family and friends. G d'B lives in New England and has been married to an Unknown Women for 25 years they have 2 adult children.

Coincidentally I got a text from G d’B seeing if I was up for some skiing about the same time Dandy Dan had contacted me. G d’B had no problem meeting us in Colorado, like I said G d’B is always up for a good time.

We all met at the Denver airport the charter flight the United States Government provided was all First Class it appeared they used the same charter company that the senate and congress uses for their travel junkets, so they provided the same service for us.

My brother and sister in-law provided lodging, what great people.

Day one we skied in Winter Park. "A" my nephew asked to join us but we quickly found out he was just meeting his new girl friend Rita and needed a ride to the mountain, So much for our tour guide. What was more shocking then “A” blowing us off, was that he blew us off for a snow boarder. Yes, Rita is a snow boarder.

Dandy Dan suggested I ski on day one and he observe me and then on day 2 he would start the lessons.

It was a great day of skiing about 45 degrees warmer then when I was in Colorado a few weeks before. As usually after skiing we stopped at the Dairy King for some great soft serve Ice Cream.

Day 2 we headed to Copper Mountain Resort. "A" joined us and promised to be our tour guide; he was an awesome tour guide. Between Dandy Dan and "A" teaching me some new techniques my skiing had some nice improvements. "A" video taped one of my runs (see below). G d’B had a GPS with him which recorded all his vital statistics. His max seep was 45 miles per hour. G d’B is a very good skier but not risky, 45 miles per hour was very controlled. We covered over 40 miles of trails and descended over 5 miles.

What a great day, there was one incident, I was down hill from "A" and he was making a B-Line to me. My guess he was topping 60 miles per hour, unlike G d’B "A" is a risky skier and is not always in control. As "A" approached me, a 6'5" 250lb beginner skier (“X”) cut right in front of "A". "A" did all he could not to crash directly into Skier “X” avoiding full contact "A" crossed over the front of Skier “X’s” skis "A" did a 180, continued skiing, though backward and came to a stop just a few feet from me. Skier "X" did a very dramatic fall, landed with a loud thump and squeal. G d’B and Dandy Dan caught up to us. As Skier "X" yelled, “I broke my shoulder!” a young lady called for the ski patrol. We were not sure whose fault the incident was until Dandy Dan explained it is always the up hill skier’s responsibility to watch out for down hill skiers. G d’B went on to explain that since “A” skied over the front of skiers "X's" skis at the time of impact “A” must have been the down hill skier. With this rational and the ski patrol showing up, and Skier "X" starting to yell at “A” we decided it was time to ski on.

On the drive home we had another mishap. G d’B was all pumped up between getting his statistics and speed from his GPS and “A’s” wreck, he was driving home like he was in the Indy 500. I-70 is one of the steepest and windy interstates in the country. A little ice and some extra sped and a car going 80 miles per hour is all of a sudden a stationary vehicle on its side. No worries we all climbed out called Budget Rent a Car and about an hour later a new vehicle showed up. G d’B had the intuition to get the max insurance on the rental car.

Day three “A” is back at school. We are a little tired so instead of heading right out to ski we went and did a quick tour of Red Rocks Amphitheater you may remember when I was in Colorado back in September, 2010 Margarite and I made this same visit. Dandy Dan and G d’B were very much impressed.

We hit the slopes at 1:30 PM much to our surprise there was wanted posters of "A" all over the resort. Apparently Mr. "X" had passed sometime the previous night and "A" was wanted for MURDER.

Some how they must of picked "A" up on one of the video surveillance cameras. My guess is as long as "A" gets a new ski jacket and helmet he will never be found.

Another great day of skiing then dinner at Little Bear a famous bar in Evergreen with live music (see video below), where both Willy Nelson and the Grateful Dead use to hang out at. A childhood friend of Dandy Dan’s joined us. Kevin is a fugitive and has been on the lam for the last 40 years.

Now I need to figure out how to get back to Botswana




Skiing Video

Band Video

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Skiing Colorado for Big Ed's Birthday

I got a call from Big Ed, Margarite’s brother. It seems his wife Joanna is over in England, though I know the truth. Joanna is an ex-KGB agent who after the cold war joined the CIA. For the last few months she has been stationed in Egypt helping the United States over throw the current Egyptian regime.

So back to Big Ed you may remember last year Big Ed introduced me to down hill skiing, it is his birthday and he wanted to see if wanted to head to Colorado and hit the slopes. I had been planning to head back home to Botswana, but skiing sounded good. Plus it would give me a chance to visit my brother’s family.

When we arrived at the Denver airport it was zero degrees Fahrenheit. By the time we got to my brothers it was minus 10 degrees when we woke in the morning up it was minus 28 degrees.

What does one wear skiing at minus 28 degrees? The good news was the predicted temperature by the time we would get to the slopes would be minus 15 with a high of minus 10. So we did not need to dress for minus 28 but only minus 15.

Good thing I had winter running gear running gear keeps you warm but allows your sweat to wick. Is it possible to sweat in this kind of cold?

I wore three pairs of running pants, plus ski pants for a total of 4 pair of paints. As far as shirts I lost track after I put on my 6th shirt. I was very fortunate that Testa Rossa (see France Trip)got me this real cool running shirt that had extra long sleeves that acted almost like gloves. Covering my head I had a ski cap then a face mask, then a full face mask, plus a neck cover, topped with an insulated ski helmet. My biggest concern would be my toes and fingers. Fortunately my brother had a full supply of toe and hand warmers. These are chemical pouches that get warm once exposed to air. My sister in law Sue had recommended two warmers per foot. Knowing I was no girly girl I went with one.

So skiing with me was Big Ed, “A” my nephew. His school was closed for they day due to weather (to COLD). To cold to go to school but not to cold to ski, to quote “A”, "It is never to cold for a real man to ski!"

The skiing was great, the resort was empty maybe 10 other skiers at a resort that can hold thousands. Just prior to lunch we all started having some pain/numbness in our fingers and toes to we took an early lunch break. I guess I am a girly girl after all. After lunch I went with 2 toe warmers per foot.

We skied at Copper Mountain Resort.

Day two of skiing was just as cold, “A” was off from school again, but claimed he had to study for a calculus test. We all knew it was just to cold for him. We skied at Winterpark Resort. I like Winterpark better I think it is the wide open views. While you are skiing everywhere you look you see snow covered mountains.

We ran into some chicks from “A's” high school, they said there was no calculus test, and “A” was just being a girly girl. No lie that is what they told us. To top it all off we later learned “A” had gotten frostbite on Tuesday, what a wimp.

Today we were prepared with plenty hand and feet warmers and had no issues with our fingers or toes. What a great day of skiing.

Day 3 our last day, we hit Winterpark again, “A” had school it had warmed up to zero degrees. The wind had picked up compared to the last two days, so riding the chair lifts was a little cold. When we skied actually got warm. Today was Big Ed's birthday so we did what ever runs he wanted. Big Ed has a higher skiing level then me so today was a challenge for me, my skiing really improved.

We had dinner at Rio Del Sol a great Mexican restaurant in Evergreen, Colorado.

You may wonder why only there is only one picture from this trip. In order to take pictures I need two things a functioning camera and functioning fingers. With temptress below I do not think either would work.

Heading back home (Botswana)