Cheers to Ski Season 2023

Vail Pre-Season | Whistler | Canyons | Guys Whistler | Guys Vail

Vail - January 13th-14th-15th

13,614ft - 20,242ft - 8,340ft (42,196 total)

Josh and Sam had a conference, and there was some extra space, so Charlie and I got to fly out and get some Vail days.  A ton of snow meant the Back Bowls were open and available – a first for Charlie and Liam.  Being young athletes, they attacked them and were able to ski top to bottom without a break, unlike the dads.

We also got two nights in Vail.  One night was where Charlie decided this was going to be the season of the onesie, although at $2000+ that would have to wait for another trip.  

We got into Miller and Lux for steak night.  Liam, Josh, and I split a 54oz Wagyu ribeye, which was a delicious, and I had table side Caesar.  Charlie only wanted a 6oz steak, and they only had Wagyu, but for some reason as nice as it was it came doused in sauce.  After asking for a table cloth to wipe it down (why didn’t they take it back?), luckily it wasn’t cooked quite right so she sent it back, got a new steak and everyone was happy.

Two full days of skiing, plus a bonus half day before we caught late flights home was a great start to the season. 

Special Guests: Charlie, Liam, Josh, Sam

Whistler - January 27th-28th-29th

14,052ft - 14,987ft - 14,643ft (43,682 total)

Our trip to visit the Woodwards in Canada almost didn’t happen, after an early morning flight out of Detroit got delayed, and then delayed, and finally pushed to the next day.  It wasn’t quite Canada, but a couple of pizzas at the Romulus Sheraton compliments of Delta were our entertainment for the night.  Neither was renting a car from Seattle and driving through traffic to Whistler, but we got there…with the newly minted ski Onesie for Charlie.

The first day was a great day on Whistler Mountain.  On my first trip several years ago, I had taken a bad spill on what we now call ‘Kens Rock‘.  Well somewhere below Kens Rock, we ducked into some trees.  Charlie thought she was following Brandon, but she went astray and went passed a few ‘Warning: Creek” signs.  I caught up to her and she was hugging a hill just above some water freaking out.  With some teamwork, we got ourselves and our gear out of ‘Charlies Creek‘ and met up with our crew. 

Later that day we also learned one of Charlie’s secrets.  Erin was sharing a Christmas story involving Santa, and she stopped mid sentence and realized she sharing the lift with a kid.  Charlie finally admits that she doesn’t believe in Santa and hasn’t for awhile.  The cat was out of the bag, and later that night at Sidecut, Amy and I had a lot of questions like ‘Did you just want to watch us stress out about the Elf?”.

The next day on Blackcomb was colder than Charlie’s new onesie could handle, but we did get up to Crystal Hut for some delicious waffles, and did Peak 2 Peak to get back to the warmth.  We got to check out Barefoot Bistro for Nitro Martinis and Nitro dessert, which was awesome.

The last day we were taking a red eye home because of missed flights, but it was single digits.  Brandon and I decided to put an extra layer on and give it a shot anyway.  Without big lifts lines, we discovered a pretty nice run from the top of Whistler Gondola to the base, and were able to shoot down the run in about 10 minutes so we could enjoy 20 minutes of warmth in the Gondola going back up.  Not a bad way to crank out some vertical, and a good trick to remember for trip two.

A long drive back to Seattle, where we didn’t have enough gas to make back to the US.  It was interesting trying to figure out how many gallons we needed to get to the airport (since we took the gas option), then convert that to liters, and then convert Canadian dollars to US to finally arrive at the amount of pre paid gas we should buy to get us back.  We made back to Seattle with just enough time and then SkyClub and back home.

Special Guests: Amy, Charlie, Brandon, Erin, Dagney

Park City / Canyons - February 26th, 27th, 28th

16,269ft / 13,030ft / 20,321ft (49620 total)

Family Trip back to Canyons!  Park City was packed this weekend with a couple of events going on, so our annual sojourns to Park City proper and the Montage didn’t happen.  Plus there was a super dump of snow the days before, so getting into and out of Park City the first night meant hour long waits for rides and walking through calf deep snow.  Good thing we decided to eat local in the Canyons area.  

The conditions were great, and seeing how Liam and Charlie feed off of each other skiing is something else.  They’ve been doing this for several years now and they seem like they stay around each others level, and neither will back down off of a challenge from the other.  Added bonus this year was being able to send them in early to lunch so that Josh and I could get in a bonus powder run, then coming in to find that they scored a table and already had food.  The Woodwards 2023 ski tour had moved from Whistler to Canyons at this point, and the Mays were staying and skiing with them, so that night we all got together and ordered dinner in and got to enjoy good wine, good friends, and good times.

Amy got in on the action the next day, so we hovered around the Mellow Moose while she was out.  After that, we took off towards some tree runs with Brandon and Erin.  Charlie wanted to duck into some trees, and Josh decided to follow her in, so I bowed out and groomed it down.  After 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, I started to worry a bit.  Eventually, heres comes Charlie worn out but intact.  At that point, we hadn’t done a double black yet, and Canyons has the 9990 run.  Iassumed Charlie was worn out and gave her every opportunity to run it in for the day, but she wanted to tackle the tough stuff.  We went up there and she nailed it!  We even helped get a ski and pole down the hill from another skier that  crashed hard.  After that it was time for dinner at Dos Olas, which was awesome as well.

The last day got slushy with all the warm weather, but we still got a bunch of runs in then capped the weekend off with dinner fireside at Ruth’s Chris before going back home.

Special Guests: Amy, Charlie, Josh, Liam, Rebes, Alexis, Brandon, Erin, Dagney, Mike, Rana

Whistler Guys Trip - March 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th

30,950ft22,752ft17,367ft19,249ft17,524ft (107,842 total)

The rest of the guys were flying out Monday early, and for a cheaper flight I flew out to Seattle Sunday night and was able to drive up and hit the slopes Monday morning while they were still getting here.  After figuring out the run that would get me the most vertical for my time, I ran up and down the Whistler Gondola trying to max out on my vert for the day.  I changed it up once or twice hitting the peak, but other than that I raced to the bottom and rested going back up.  I kept going until Epic gave me 30K, even though at that point Garmin was gracious enough to give me 34k.  It was a good throwback to the days of putting your boots on in the parking lot and just skiing, packing a snack so I didn’t even need a lunch break.

The rest of the week was a steady mix of skiing, sunny days, beer lunches and Apres, mixed with a bit of fresh powder every day.  I finally got over my nerves and dropped into the Whistler glacier, and hiked up to Blackcomb Glacier twice.  A trip to the Bearfoot Ice Bar, many Steak dinners, hot tub time, and a late night trip to a club for employee night wore us out.  Rinse and Repeat, we tried to give Whistler our all.  We even included one of the guys who couldn’t make it this year by printing his face on some signs and bringing them with us on the mountain – next year Dave!

Special Guests: Josh, Dan, Jacob, Sam, Greg, Prior

Vail / Beaver Creek - April 1st, 2nd, 3rd

23,166ft / 30,330ft / 20,454ft (73,950 total)

What Ski Season would be complete without a Mays/Woodward/Toy ski trip.  Brandon was still at Beaver Creek, so after taking a red-eye from Cabo Spring Break, I turned around and flew to Denver and made it with minor difficulty to our home away from home – the Westin Avon.

Luckily, we drove through some snow at the Vail Pass, which meant for our first day it was time to drive to Vail and hit the trees.  Erin had signed us up for a Costume Skivenger Hut, so we also came prepared with capes and eye masks.  We had to visit a lot of places on the mountain, including Lovers Leap.  It was the afternoon and I was ready to find the easiest drop in, but Mays was ready to go, so he dropped in and almost immediately dropped a ski and a pole and rolled half way down the bowl.  I had to then drop in where he did carefully and grab his stuff and not fall down myself, which was one of my tougher moments of 2023.  After all of that, it was off to Hooked to eat two whole fish prepared a dozen different ways.

No new snow for our second day meant there was a lot of groomed areas back at Vail, including tracks on the front side, back side, and back bowls.  Sunny, warm, speed groomers in the Back Bowls was different, but a very fun day that wasn’t going to be over until we hit 30,000 again. Cocktails, a Dagney walk, then back to Vail for a German Dinner at Almresi.

More Sun, less snow sent us back to Beaver Creek for our third day.  An hour in, the snow softened up, so we found the 5-6 runs that were steep and groomed, and turned Day 3 into Race Day.  For some reason, whether it was my skis, my watch, or my nerves, no matter how fast I *thought* I went, what music I jammed to, or run we were on, my speed pegged out at 50mph.  After finding slushy snow mid mountain, and having reached the 300,000 milestone, Bloody Marys and capping the season at the Ritz-Carleton seemed appropriate.  That night, we all finished our season with dinner at Matsuhisa, games at XXX, and late night snacks back at the Westin.

Special Guests: Mays, Brandon, Erin, Dagney

What a Great Season – Can’t Wait for 2024

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