breck – final thoughts

One the bus ride back to the airport I had a lot of time to reflect on trip and just how I experience travel in general….and here’s my main takeaway

I think of traveling and automatically think I have to go to the most exotic, far out place, where no one else has been before. But after some thought I realized travel at a fundamental level is just about going places. It doesn’t matter where that place is as long as you go. It’s the competitive Aries in me that makes me think otherwise.

So in 2019 I am vowing to slow down and really appreciate all the places I am able to travel. Bigs trips or small, new places or those well known. To know that all travel is a privilege I am so lucky to have.

At the time of my trip to Breckenridge, I was reading the book “Year of less” by Cait Flanders. A book I’d been wanting to read for some time.

Something she mentioned in the book really hit home with me in regards to travel.

“It’s far too easy to take your surrounds for granted, and I am blessed to live in one of the most beautiful parts of this continent.” -Cait Flanders

And right now those words really ring true.

xx

michelle

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day 4

Day 4, our last day skiing, was by far the best day in terms of weather. The sun was out, which meant clear skis and warmer temps.

We started the morning similar to day 3 by skiing a lot of peak 7. But, headed back towards peak 8 once the lines started getting to long.

As we were getting towards the end of the day, or at least the end of the skiing portion of the day, my dad and I started to consider going up to the top of peak 8.

I told my dad that if I was going to go up I would only go once. The top of peak 8 is all black diamonds/double blacks. Like mentioned I am not the best skier but if I am feeling pretty good I can handle a couple of blacks.

My dad decided he’d go up once by himself to see how it was and then we could decide if we both wanted to go back up there (Side note: my dad and my sister are very good skiers especially compared to me, so shout out to them for being awesome).

While my dad went to check out the top my uncle and I skied another run in the meantime. After meeting back up and going back and forth on whether or not I should try it out we finally just decided to do it. It was the last day and would be pretty much the last run of the day so it would be now or never.

We headed over to the lift that takes you up, this lift was a bit different (not your typical ski lift). It was a t-bar where you essentially have to lean back on the bar while it drags you up the mountain, yes your feet/skis are on the ground.

It was an uncomfortable ride up to say the least. And to add to it we got stopped twice for unknown reasons making it even more difficult to stay on the t-bar itself.

Eventually…we made it to the top! Now it was time to get down…and I was definitely nervous. I just started to focus on my breathing and let the muscle memory do the work. And before I knew it the run was over and I had done it.

In that whole experience I learned to trust myself. That I can do it, that my body knows what to do. How to protect me, how to get me down safely but to also have a little bit of fun in doing so.

For me, it was a reminder that it’s not about being the best skier but just getting out there. And I’ve realized I am more than happy with that.

xx

michelle

the t-bar…

successfully survived the t-bar…

half way down

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day 3

We started day 3 by deciding to get some runs on peak 7 in.

Peak 7 is by far my favorite in terms of run. It’s full of long rolling blues that are just fun to ski and that’s what I enjoy most.

The only not so great thing about peak 7 is the chairlift situation. There is only one lift to the top so it gets really crowded by mid to late morning. So it’s definitely best to ski first thing in the morning before the lift queue gets too backed up.

After spending most of the morning on peak 7 we did a few runs to get back down to the base and called it a pretty early day. But, not before we enjoyed a beer or two at apres ski.

Now based on our original itinerary this was supposed to be the day that we headed back home but because of our change in plans we didn’t have to say goodbye so soon.

We spent the afternoon relaxing and then headed to an early dinner.

xx

michelle

p.s.

I know I have been very slow to post but sometime life gets in the way… 😦

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the view from apres…

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day 2

Day 2 we woke up to clear skies and sore thighs. Ha.

Our plan for the day was to head over to peak 6 where you can ski the blues above the tree line. The lifts weren’t open right away so we did a few runs on peak 8 before finally heading over.

Not going to lie the way up to the top was pretty intimidating as you are riding the lift above the tree line. You start to feel like you are going to fall off a cliff. I am not one to normally be afraid of heights but I was definitely shaking. Think we all were to some extent.

Once at the top the views were breathtaking. I have never experienced anything like it before. You really feel like you are on top of the world but also that you could fall off at any moment.

For the first run we took the “easier” way down. Which don’t let the name fool you it was still pretty intense at the top. But once you hit the tree line it’s pretty smooth sailing. All in all it was exhilarating in the best way possible. So much so that we headed back up for a second go.

The second run was a bit more difficult but somehow still managed to pull it off and was able to do it better than some. We watched a guy totally wipe out on the way down.

After that I think we were all on a bit of a high having conquered peak 6. I was so glad we just totally went for it without thinking about it too much. I know if I had I probably would have talked myself out of it.

We skied a bit more before calling it a day, hitting the hot tubs an early dinner and then bed. The mountains can really tire you out especially being from the Midwestern plains.

xx

michelle

just off the chair lift at the top of peak 6…

snippet of the first run down peak 6…

view from second run…

snippet of the second run down…

the very happy face of success…

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day 1

We woke up Monday morning to find it snowing, looks like we’d be skiing in the fresh powder or “pow pow” as my brother in law put it.

With my new ski jacket (thanks Santa) and goggles I certainly felt the part and was eager to get out there.

Coming off the lift and heading to our first run was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Skiing in the fresh untouched powder…gliding across the surface feeling light as air. It was pretty damn magical and I think we’d all agree.

The skiing itself came back pretty naturally. I am certainly not the best but after a few runs I was feeling pretty comfortable.

After a fairly long first day on the slopes we grabbed some beer and hit the hot tub (my dad and uncle have a set routine that the rest of us are advised to abide too).

From there it was off to dinner. But dinner was soon interrupted as we got news that my dad and I’s original  flight back had been cancelled. This was due to the forecasted extreme negative temps that Chicago was set to and did experience on Wednesday.

The earliest available flight we could get was Friday evening. While this initially seems not great it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. After rearranging our work schedules we were able to stay and ski an extra day. Lucky for us our uncle was staying till Friday anyways so we had a place to stay. While stressful for an hour or so we sorted everything and started gearing up for day 2.

xx

michelle

 

 

 

breckenridge – a brief intro

On the ride back to the airport I started thinking, should I write about my ski trip? I was unsure but decided why not? It’s a trip nonetheless I might as well.

This would be my first trip out west to ski since early 2014. To say I was a bit nervous about my abilities on the mountain would be an understatement. After making excuses to not go on the trip the past couple years this time I had no excuse. It was time to face the Rockies once again.

Our travel out there was near perfect. By midday we had everything sorted and were ready to hit the slopes first thing Monday morning. After so much anticipating I was there and it was happening.

xx

michelle

Final thoughts

Costa Rica has taught me that a simple life can be a good life. You don’t need a lot to be happy.

So in 2019 I really want to focus on the things that make me happy, bring me joy and spend less time on the negative.

To spend less time focusing on what others have that I don’t.

As an Aries it’s hard to think that life isn’t a competition. I am constantly reminding myself to appreciate all I have – the family, the friends, the love that fills me up and propels me forward. That that is really special and I am so lucky.

This trip couldn’t have come at the more perfect time. I hope to someday visit Costa Rica again and I can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store.

“most importantly love

like it’s the only thing you know how

at the end of the day all this

means nothing

this page

where you’re sitting

your degree

your job

the money

nothing even matters

except love and human connection

who you loved

and how deeply you loved them

how you touched the people around you

and how much you gave them”

-rupi kaur

 

xx
michelle