It didn’t seem like it at first, but Mother Nature offered up a much appreciated gift for me yesterday.
I flew into Grand Junction, Colorado, yesterday afternoon, prepared for a week of hiking, crawling around in gold mines and standup paddle boarding on local rivers for some stories I’m working on. Then a late season snowstorm rolled in, stranding me for a few hours on the side of Interstate 70 near Vail. The pass had closed due to a pileup, and I couldn’t get through to Breckenridge, where I planned to stay the first two nights of my trip.
When I sent up a distress flair (via a phone call), officials in Breck quickly lined up a hotel for me in Vail (and two of my FaceBook friends with roots in the area offered lodging, too), but just as I was headed there, the interstate re-opened. I don’t have much experience driving in snow, so I went slow and made it just fine.
And I’m glad I did. I woke up this morning to about 10 inches of fresh powder. My Breckenridge friend knows how much I love to ski. She delivered a bag of ski clothes and gear, and I headed to the mountain in time to get in line as the lifts opened.
Skiing, in late May? Two days ago I was cooling my heels in the San Marcos River, complaining (a little) about the heat.
This year, Breckenridge stays open through Memorial Day weekend. It’s been a stellar season, with more than 440 inches of snow. It was due, too. Last year wasn’t nearly as good.
What a morning. I skied Breckenridge earlier this season, and spent a week in the Banff area skiing Lake Louise, Mount Norquay and Sunshine Village this year too. But today’s conditions were the best – powder midway up my calves, hardly anybody to get in my way, and miles of soft, white icing ready to track up.
It’s still snowing now, at 5 p.m. Big, fat flakes are soaring sideways through the air, piling up on my borrowed knit hat and slipping down the collar of my shirt. I couldn’t be happier.
It wasn’t the agenda I had planned, but it worked out to be even better.
Thanks, Mother Nature, for the snowy gift.