For my first trip of 2015 I booked a Colorado snowboarding trip over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend with some old buddies. I managed to book the flights nearly four months ago thanks to Southwest’s generous cancellation policies. They allow you to cancel and rebook flights up to 24 hours prior to flight, granted you don’t get your money back directly, the difference does become a travel voucher which is good for use within one year. With this is in mind, I was able to rebook the flights later on and ended up saving an additional $25 which I will use when I head back to Colorado later this summer. The actual flights themselves went without a hitch and got window seats both ways. I bought the early bird add-on for the return flight because I knew I would be stuck in the middle of the mountains with limited coverage in order to check-in within 24 hours to secure a decent boarding position.
Upon landing my buddies were waiting for me at the Denver airport and it was great to see them all together in the first time in years. We then headed straight to the mountains to our hotel the Holiday Inn Summit County-Frisco. Check in was painfully slow as the worker seemed somewhat incompetent, which was further proved when we requested additionally blankets and pillows. We waited nearly two hours and required an additional call back to the front desk in order to receive them. The room itself was okay, standard Holiday Inn fare, a little too cozy with two double beds instead of queens, and the fridge was broken causing all of our drinks to freeze. The location was main the reason for the hotel selection and was booked using points, 25000 points per night. Not the greatest redemption at about 0.7 cpp, but I needed the flexibility to cancel easily just in case the trip didn’t pan out. The view from the room was spectacular as seen in the picture above.
First day of snowboarding started later than usual as we spent all night catching up but we did make it to the slopes at Keystone. The weather was nearly perfect the whole weekend, sunny and about 30, the only thing missing was some fresh powder. We headed to the back peak at Keystone and hit some nice tree runs, The Grizz and Pika. The Grizz sort of being my nickname, Griz, was an amazing run with a natural half-pipe on the end. Just beware that it bottoms out at the end of the natural half-pipe and I had to unstrap and hoof up through the snow for a little bit. Overall Keystone was a great resort, if you get to the back peak there are some great runs. After a great afternoon of boarding we got some great Chinese food at Bamboo Garden in Silverthorne. Back at the hotel we took a dip in the hot tub and pool. It was busy, but the facilities weren’t bad at all for a Holiday Inn. The front desk was much more on top of it too, with extra towels and toiletries being brought right away.
The next day we spent a full day of snowboarding at Copper Mountain, one of my favorite mountains. Being the holiday weekend it was extremely busy at the base of the mountain and we didn’t get too much boarding in the morning. After a lunch break at the Center Village the crowds started too thin out a little bit and we hit a ton of runs off of the Superbee lift. Superbee for any advanced skier or boarding is truly amazing at 2293 vertical feet off of just one lift. My favorite run combination by far is to do Oh No to the black diamond Rosi’s Run. It is a truly great cruiser with a lot of up and downs near the top and a good steep pitch near the bottom. Did this run more than a couple times that day until the lifts closed. By the time the lifts closed the Seattle Seahawks game was in the last ten minutes and we managed to enjoy a couple drinks and watch Seattle pull off the comeback with the mountain in the backdrop. After watching the exciting finish we headed out back towards Denver and manged to get stuck in the usual ski traffic. My friend recommended a pizza place, Beau Jo’s, for some unique Colorado styled pizza. Basically the pizza was lighter version of Chicago style with a dessert like crust that you put honey on. The food was delicious but once again the service was pretty sub-par. We called ahead to put our name in and upon arriving they gave us a pager to let us know our table was ready. While waiting for nearly an hour at the restaurant we thought something was wrong and talked to the hostess and they said they had a tried paging us multiple times…. our pager never went off and we were waiting right in front of her, anyway they took off $25 off the tab but that was still unacceptable. A general theme was lackluster service throughout the whole weekend, I don’t know if it was because of the holiday weekend or Colorado’s new law with a certain substance….
The final day was spent just relaxing but we did go out to Colorado Springs where a couple of my friends live. They took me to a barbecue place, Rudy’s Country Store and BBQ, which did live up to everything my friends boasted about. The beef brisket and the chocolate pudding are highly recommended. Before heading to the airport we took one last detour before with a drive through the Garden of the Gods, and it was beautiful. At the Denver airport it was relatively busy and I managed to skip the massive line to check bags on Southwest by using curbside drop off. It didn’t seem like many people knew that it was an option so it was really quick. The flight was uneventful and made it back to Indianapolis around midnight. Overall it was great weekend in the mountains and I manged to finally get some serious snowboarding in after missing it for a couple of years.