I’m not a morning person and I don’t drink coffee, but I was up and ready to go at 5:00 a.m. My friend Monica and I were heading for the slopes, but not just any ski area. We were going to Vail. Loading our snow gear and locking our ski’s on the rack attached to my friends VW Beetle, we were ready to go.
For us Denverites, Vail had an alluring association with the rich and famous, and for one day, we were going to pay through the nose to rub shoulders with them. We gave ourselves three and one-half hours to get there and the roads looked good.  Just a few days earlier, Vail had received several feet of snow. Think of it — fresh powder. The lifts opened at 9:00 so we had plenty of time.
Leaving Denver behind with the mountains straight ahead was euphoric. At this time on a Saturday morning, the traffic consisted of elated skiers like ourselves. I watched them pass and wondered where they were headed.
I-70 took us through the most beautiful country. The mountains covered in snow slid past my window and the road whispered under our tires. Before we reached the Eisenhower Tunnel, one exit took skiers to Winter Park, Loveland or Berthoud Pass ski areas, but we sailed right past. “Not today,” I said to myself. The Eisenhower Tunnel is an enigma. It could be snowing with visibility down to just a few feet on the east slope, but leaving the tunnel on the west slope the sun could be blinding.
We passed through Silverthorne, which was the exit for Keystone ski area. I loved Keystone, but not today. We passed Copper Mtn. and the only thing standing in our way was Vail Pass. It’s steep on both sides so depending on the road conditions it can be treacherous. Today it was a piece of cake. The snowplows’ had done their job.
We reached Vail and made our way to purchase our lift tickets. The lines were crazy, but we didn’t care. We had arrived.  We grabbed our gear and with map in hand, we decided which lift we wanted to take. The sun was rising over the mountain peaks and not a cloud in the sky. It was going to be a fantastic day, with temperatures in the high 30’s.
We spent the whole day on the upper slopes, both the front and the back bowls. The fresh powder was everything we expected, and to top off our experience we made our way to Wildwood, which felt like we were on top of the world. Here for the first and only time I experience a hot, spiced wine toddy. It definitely warmed the body. Lunch was nothing special, but the view was spectacular.
By early afternoon, the clouds had crept in and we decided to beat the weather. The last run of the day is the most dangerous for this is when accidents can happen. I was tired. The fresh powder was great, but I had expended a lot of energy skiing through it. We took an easy trail down to the base of the slope and we leisurely traversed the wide run.
Putting the skis back on the rack of the car, we both turned to look back at the tiny dark dots negotiating their way down the slopes.  It had been a good day and a memory maker.  I didn’t feel any richer or more famous, but I was a happy skier looking forward to the next slope adventure.

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