Copper is absolutely beautiful! And wow, what an incredible weekend….in so many ways. Friday night Scarlett and I packed up the car, stopped at Safeway for $100 worth of snacks for everyone for the weekend, and then drove out to Patricks house where we hung out and watched Archer while waiting for Andrew to show up. Andrew pulled up and we transferred our luggage to his SUV and hit the road.
The drive out to Copper was not bad at all, but we left pretty late (9:30pmish). Such a beautiful drive. Mountains on either side. When we left Boulder there wasn’t any snow on the ground. Driving up to Copper you could see the gradual introduction of snow. It took us about an hour and a half to get there. We parked at the Cirque and made our way up to the rented condo. Geoff and Carissa were already there with my niece and nephew.
Today was the big day! Time to hit the slopes for some ski lessons! I woke up and drank my coffee in nervous anticipation for what the day would bring. The last time I had been on the slopes was well over 10 years ago and it was for snowboarding. I had only gone snowboarding twice and on the second day I had a pretty bad fall while trying to get off the lift that left me getting skied down the mountain with ankle problems I would have to contend with for years. So as you can imagine, I was pretty petrified of the lift.
|Myself, Scarlett and my niece, Sophia
My class was scheduled to start at 10am so I made my way over to the Treehouse School to get my rental equipment at around 9:10am. Good thing I left early. It took me a whole 50 minutes to get registered, get my rental equipment sized up and on my body and then to make my way out to the training area. Just a side note – walking in ski boots is incredibly difficult. There I said it!
The lessons were a lot of fun. My group of 7 included one guy from Scotland, Michael, who would spend the entire class time falling on his ass so much that he had to get his own personal instruction. I felt really badly for him. Then there were 4 people from Austria, and a nice lady from Denver named Mary. For half the class time my instructor Barry kept calling me Amber which kept confusing the hell out of me.
|My sister and I
Anyway we got to do all kinds of interesting things in class. We learned how to snap into our skis…how to get out of them…how to scoot along in just one ski. We learned the wedge (which would become my most highly used moved) and how to turn uphill to stop. It was a lot of fun. During the lessons I didn’t fall at all. I didn’t fall on the bunny hill either. Made all my runs almost perfectly except that I was fast. Really fast. All I ever heard from my instructor was “Amber! Slow down!”.
Our class did very well. Well, except for Michael, but he was taken away on his own halfway through the class. So our class did so well that we got to do the lift during the very first class. I guess this doesn’t usually happen? Either that or they just lie to everyone…lol. THE LIFT. The horror! The horror! I was so scared of the lift. I was casually doing breathing exercises and light meditation while standing in line for lift. I didn’t do so badly though. I did fall, but it really wasn’t a big deal. And I fell more because of nerves than anything else. As we approached the drop off point and I prepared to push off, everything the instructor had told us about the lift went right out the window. I did not push off and I did not lean forward. No, instead I did this really awkward drop off where the lift actually pushed me off and I leaned back and completely lost it. That was my very first fall of the day and it was at the end of the 2-hour course. Not bad.
Going down the slope I worked on all kinds of things all at once. I worked on the wedge. I worked on turning uphill to stop (which almost always ended with me on the ground). I worked on making the Big C. I worked on making the little c (which I’m not so good at). I worked on making the Capital J. Every time I would go flying past the instructor and hear, “Amber! Slow down!”. By about halfway down the slope he was finally learning my name and it turned to, “Amanda! Slow down!”. Oh my gosh I fell so many time. If there was one thing I mastered, it was falling. The class ended at the bottom of the slope and I went to lunch with my instructor and Mary. Both Mary and I had also paid for the afternoon class so we were sticking around.
The afternoon class was all about the slopes. I think we made 3 runs total. This time the class was even smaller, it was just Mary, myself, and the instructor. Mary was an interesting person. She was that personality type where she had to know everything and was incredibly nervous throughout the whole thing. She kept making her way back to Barry asking if there was anything else he could tell her. Any tips? She couldn’t stop…why? LOL! She was a hoot to learn with. The 3 of us rode the lift together during all three runs. Mary and I mastered the lift. Other than that very first time, I did not fall while getting off the lift at all during the rest of the weekend. So much easier on skis!
|Myself, Mary and the instructor, Barry
After the second class Mary and Barry took off and I decided I wanted to do a run alone. I had spent the whole day racing past everyone, falling on my ass, and then waiting around for the next time the instructor would tell us to do something. I just wanted some me time. Unobserved and free. For whatever reason, doing everything alone was so much easier for me. The solo runs I did down the slope were great. Don’t get me wrong, I still fell on my ass, but it was not as often and I was learning much faster. I put my headphones in with some really good trance music and just set off down the slope.
Right around 4pm I quit the slopes, which was good because that was the time when they started shutting down the lifts anyway. I renewed my rental equipment for Sunday so I could just take them back to the condo and not have to go through all the lines again in the morning. Wow, skiing is a very expensive sport. I really need to get my own equipment and next time purchase a season pass really early in the year. If you get them at the right time, the Copper season pass is only about $380, but to just get a lift pass is $100 a day if you want to just pay as you go…and rentals are $50/day.
I was so beat at the end of all this. By the time I was back a the condo I was ready to just pass out. I could barely keep my eyes open. All I wanted was a good meal and a nice warm bed. We had a heck of a time getting a warm meal. Just some advise about Copper, if you want to eat at a nice place, make a reservation a day in advance. Every place we went to inside the Village was booked. We ended up waiting a while to get into JJ’s which had mediocre food at best. We originally wanted to go to CBs which looked really nice but they were booked solid for the next 2.5 hours.
I woke up so sore! My neck was sore, my body was sore. I felt like someone had beat me with a bag of oranges. Oh my goodness! Today my sister wanted to head out with me to the slopes. She didn’t want to do the one I had been practicing on yesterday, but said she would keep me to the greens (beginner slopes). Overnight we got 9 inches of powder. Geoff warned me that skiing today was going to be a different experience than yesterday. I didn’t know how right he was. Carissa and I headed out with Scarlett, Sophia and Marc. Scarlett worked on getting Marc dropped off at ski school while Carissa, myself and Sophia jumped a shuttle to Center Village to take her to daycare. Scarlett met up with us there as well. She was going to try snowshoeing. She wasn’t doing skiing this weekend and instead had spent all day Saturday in Breckenridge with Sophia. Today she was kid-free and going to finally try to snow shoe!
Carissa and I headed up the lift for Coppertone Trail. Wow, what a different day. Today was overcast and snowing constantly. It was also a LOT colder than it was yesterday. We got to the top of the trail and while Carissa was working on getting clipped into her snowboard, I stood there and looked around. It was so cloudy and gray that you could barely see the other mountains. It was almost surreal. I was terrified. This was a new trail and it looked a lot more complicated than the ones I was trained on yesterday. There were a lot more people as well. Also there were a bunch of turnoffs for this trail so you really had to pay attention otherwise you could end up on a blue trail and that would be a bit too advanced for me at this point.
We started down the mountain and Geoff was right, every time I tried to turn I ate it. I fell so many times I was starting to feel sorry for Carissa. She would stop and sit on her knees looking up at me. I think just having her there was making me nervous enough that I was falling more. After about the 5th fall I told her to go on without me. That it would be better if she just let me get a handle of the mountain on my own for the first run and then we can do the other runs together. So she took off and I was on my own again. Alone I was doing much better. I was doing my turns and my cuts. In the flatter areas I was doing really really well. When I would fall it was usually because I hit a steeper area and was going faster than comfortable so I would freeze up and make bad choices. The falls weren’t bad tho. Well, except one. I did have one fall where I bounced the back of my head off the ground so hard that I actually had to lay there for a few minutes to get my bearings back. All and all I was doing well though.
Im about halfway down the trail (this is a really long trail by the way) when I saw Carissa on the side of the trail trying to wave me down. So I skied up to her and she told me Geoff was in an accident and that he likely had a broken collarbone. Oh no! So now we were trying to make our way down the slopes together again. I was trying to get there as fast as I could which led to more wipeouts but I still did pretty decent.
Have you ever walked in ski boots? It really sucks. It’s even worse when you’re trying to get somewhere fast. Carissa had on Snowboarding boots which are 1000x easier to walk in. So our little adventure went like this: Carissa would be walking trying to figure out where she needed to go. She would get about 10 ft in front of me and then realize how far behind I am and stop. She would wait until I was about 3 ft away and start walking again. Repeat. This went on from the first First Aide station we went to, to the second one, and then finally, the clinic in Center Village.
Geoff hadn’t arrived at the clinic yet, they were still skiing his butt down the mountain so Carissa and I took a seat. I was in the middle of texting Scarlett when the power went out. Dammit. Geoff was delivered but they had no way of knowing what was wrong. No power meant no x-rays. They had him on a bunch of pain meds so at least he wasn’t in massive amounts of pain. Turns out Andrew and him were doing little jumps and during one of them Geoff wiped out and Andrew did the jump right behind him and landed right on top of him. They have a video of it online. It can be found here:
From the looks of things, Geoff definitely didn’t have a broken collar bone, but there was something really badly hurt. He couldn’t fee his upper arm and he had no control of it. Even today we’re not sure what is wrong with it. He has an MRI scheduled for Friday.
So the power is out which means there are lots of people stuck up on lifts. The entire resort was out. I talked with my sister and asked her if she needed Scarlett and I to go and grab the kids. Obviously nobody was skiing anymore – that was done, hopefully Geoff would be leaving to go somewhere, either the hospital or home. She sent us on our way to go grab Marc from the ski school in East Village.
We get to the ski school and it turns out Marc is stuck at the top of one of the mountains. Apparently he lost his skis on the way up the lift and of course, with the power out, he couldn’t get back down. So we had to wait for him to get picked up and brought back down. Power was still out. I brought my rental equipment back and Scarlett and I went to the cafeteria for some of the worst fries and chili I have ever had.
|Scarlett and I in the cafeteria
We finally retrieved Marc, Carissa managed to grab Sophia from daycare, and Scarlett and I loaded up Geoff’s S5 and drove the kids home with us. Geoff and Carissa rode with Andrew and Patrick since they were driving a very large SUV that would be much more comfortable. Once back in town, I took the kids to Murphy’s. Scarlett had gone home to greet her son Michael who had arrived in town from Jacksonville while we were away and ended up bringing both him and Elizabeth back to Murphy’s grill to join us.