Even though Jim no longer skis and I was still recovering from a horseback riding accident that kept me off the slopes as well, we decided to proceed with this already-scheduled trip. We enjoyed a relaxing week in the Colorado mountains and caught up with our ski club friends off the slopes. It was a good decision and we had a great time.
I must say that TRUE friends would have honored my frustration by moaning about cold, icy, white-out conditions on the slopes instead of sighing about the fresh powder and sunshine. Oh well, I'm glad they had great skiing. Really, I am.
My Christmas present was a travel-sized fiddle. I brought it along so that I could continue practicing during the few hours of down-time. Eventually I played a few tunes for one of the club gatherings. My second-ever solo performance.
There are a couple of ways to follow us on our trip. I've tried to make the narrative a complete summary, but I've used many links to other web sites to provide additional details and sometimes pictures. You can either stick with the basic narrative or explore the various links. At the time this album was created the links were all valid, but the WWW is in constant flux and that can change. If you encounter broken links, please send us some email.
The Mountain Chalet isn't the Ritz by any stretch, but it has been host to our annual club trips for many years. The accommodations are adequate, the location smack dab on the slopes can't be beat, and the staff pretty much lets us have the run of the place. Plus a hot breakfast and soup lunch are included. Not to mention two evening receptions in addition to the club activities.
This year we even weathered the weekend invasion of a "Greek Ski Club," which turned out to be a collection of fraternities and sororities from a Texas University. Things got off to a rocky start when the busload arrived after what must have been a rollicking rolling party with freely flowing beer. We were amused (?) by the stern lecture the young folks received at check-in about hefty fines assessed for infractions such as vomiting in the hallways!
They turned out to be nice kids.
Our room overlooked the slopes and the pool. I captured this shot of PVSers relaxing after a day of powder. L-R: Dorian, Kathy, Bonnie, Sharon & Barry. Kathy and Barry Lake were our more-than-capable trip leaders and we're thrilled that they have already signed up to do again next year.
This is NOT the maximum number of PVSers that can fit into that pool, by the way. We're a friendly bunch.
The Snowmass Village Mall was built in the 1980 time-frame and is very much of its time. The ambitious expansion at the base of the slopes was caught in the 2008 recession, but is starting to gain traction now.
That's OK, the mall has all the essential services and is convenient and easy to navigate.
One of the main attractions is this unassuming-looking little restaurant on the mall. It is owned by a fellow Mississippi ex-pat who escaped to the mountains years ago. I've often wondered, where he got the "Ski Mississippi" poster with the skier schussing through the cotton field.
This was our first stop when we got to Snowmass, but we were late in the lunch hour. I was disappointed to miss the special of the day: venison ragout with forest mushrooms. We were quietly entertained during lunch by overhearing senior Snowmass Corporation staff at the next table discussing how to rally community spirit among the hoteliers in order to improve the Snowmass experience.
Two years ago when Jim & I hosted our 40th anniversary party at the Mountain Chalet, we engaged The Stew Pot to cater it. Yum!
More than one day of our journey Jim and I rode the bus to Aspen. It is convenient, and best of all, free! We had investigated spending a day in Glenwood Springs as well, but never got around to it.
There are charming residential neighborhoods in Aspen, but the downtown has been mostly redeveloped with condos and so-so hotels. There are a couple of shopping streets, but the offerings are out-of-our-range up-scale.
We had a notion to make the round of the famous Aspen consignment shops. The best of them is the Aspen Thrift Shop located on the corner. The fire museum dog next door, "R. Hero," was also an attraction.
A flaw in shopping for worn-once designer togs in the Aspen thrift shops is that the social set that supplies the goodies usually wears a size 3 or smaller. As they say: You can never be too rich or too thin!
Some friends, however, have snagged some pretty nifty finds.
Another whimsical piece of yard art.
We visited the week of the Aspen Wintersköl celebration. Although we didn't make it down for any of the events, we did get to see some "before and after" snow sculptures.
An "after" image.
One evening our friend Jannes Gibson organized an expedition to Basalt, Colorado, for a gallery opening. We braved the snow showers and hopped a bus to visit this charming town. Unlike Aspen it has retained much of its home-town ambiance.
Jannes, on the right, has a long association with Toklat. Her parents started visiting Aspen during the 40s and knew the founders well. The article at the link gives the history of the family and their operation.
The gallery was jammed with artists, tourists, and locals. We all had fascinating conversations with the participants and the opportunity to buy unique local artworks.
After the gallery we adjourned to Heather's Savory Pies for a delicious meal.
L-R: Jannes, Bonnie, Marianne, ME, Dave & Carolyn.
The bus then whisked us back to Snowmass where we settled in for an evening of games and conviviality.
When I realized that I wouldn't be skiing on this trip, I began scouting around for other things to do. One great find was a Sunday evening concert at Aspen's Wheeler Opera House by the bluegrass band the Earls of Leicester.. At first glance I thought it was a garden-variety tribute band honoring Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs until I saw the band membership, which included my fave Jerry Douglas, and their Grammy win.
Jim and I got tickets right away and by the night of the concert there were at least seven of us who attended. It was a terrific concert and a lovely venue.
Jerry and his dobro. Oh yeah, the other guys were good too.
It was a great trip and we thank Kathy and Barry for putting it together for us all. I'm looking forward to next year when I can get back on the slopes!
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