Western Travel Plans 15-16: Targeting the “odd-lots” of SD, WY & UT
Last of the UT “freshies”?
My modus operandi is to plan a yearly Eastern and Western ski adventure and then hope and pray for good conditions. Ideally my plans are “great circles routes” centered around a gateway or “hub city” that string several resort/areas into one continuous, challenging excursion.
Two circles: my western plans are below but my Eastern circle (15-16) is outlined on another post so .
In the weeks preceding the 15-17 ski season opening, a western “Boys Behaving Badly” tour has emerged on the drawing board. It’s been done before in prior years with very favorable reviews. My sons along with the grandchildren enjoy an early visit to Denver in an effort to hopefully grab the December snow drops we fully anticipate in the CO Rockies.
It trip is designed to take advantage of historically low pre-Christmas airfares, sparsely attended resorts along with low season lift rates. We hope to tune our bodies up, get our ski legs on nad generslly act as boys will in the absence of parents and spouses.
No “girls” allowed so we can live “out of the trunks”, eat junk food, keep it low-budget, emit animalistic by-products at will, and (dare I admit?) teach both the newer in-law “”boys” as well as the next generation of men the best of the above. Oh yea … plus we always test, learn and adopt a few new “tricks” along the way!
My well-employed, career-centric kids will fly into Denver, while I intend to drive. Driving not only saves money but also increases our freedom and flexibility. Having our own car is especially helpful for arrivals and departure. I have the luxury of straying on to extend my adventures. And lastly I hope to schedule stops at a few “freshies” along the way.
I’m targeting South Dakota and SE Wyoming if possible. South Dakota has but a single 1K – Terry Peak in the historic Black Hills that sets the Wyoming border. South Dakota bridges the Midwest to the mountains of the West. But the Black Hills take their stand independent of the Rockies as though a hint of what lies to the west. Badlands National Park is a fascinating stretch of eroded mud hills, where early homesteaders found the water “too thick to drink and too thin to plow.” Iconic Mount Rushmore National Memorial, is a “must see” for every red-blooded American citizen or tourist.
Wyoming offers a couple offerings on the front range not too far north of Denver. Meadowlark Ski Lodge claims a vertical of exactly 1K! I have to go there to prove it true! And Snowy Range Ski & Recreation might be super accurate and honest in it’s 990 foot declaration. Hey, I’ve gotta go there just to acknowledge forthright honesty! And It’s only a few hours north of Denver.
The Nashville “the boys” will head back home for Christmas celebrations. Then return with the whole family for a second week in the Rockies. Erik is like that. He loves to ski and he doesn’t mind driving. (I think it’s a genetic curse inherited from “yours truly”.)
I’m thinking, why not stay in Denver. He is employed with Nissan NA which annually shuts down for the one week between the holidays. As he accurately observes, “The kids can rot in front of their computers or they can go crazy in the mountains.” It makes the decision a “no-brainer”.
But now I have a decision, or better yet, an opportunity. Why not stay out west and tie up with the entire TN crew to ski with them? And in between I have Kji, Kinsey and the two tots to enjoy the festival time after I visit a few other areas. Why not taste the high peaks of the western Wyoming? Or visit the last “freshie” mountains on my UT bucket list?
I have skied most of the numerous slopes of Utah, but there are still three in the northeast corner which I long to ski: Powder Mountain, Beaver Mountain and Cherry Peak. Utah has dry fluffy powder and after these visits, I can cross off UT from bucket list of twenty-two “lower 48” states that house 1k mountains.
Ah, so many mountains and now lots of free time! Come, Ski With Me!