Monday, November 8, 2010

Lovin' the high

After spending a few weeks above 10,000 feet, I've been enlightened...probably due to oxygen deprivation. There literally is. no. air. In addition, nights have dropped to 8 degreesF and walking to the library entails more layers than a river trip down the Kenai in Alaska. That said, Leadville is an amazing town; it oozes history and activities abound!
Mountain vernacular is sheer hilarity in itself . "Puking Pow", "Rip the gnar" and "Whoa dude, steezy shades." are phrases I have either heard or created in my head because they actually could exist. The learning curve is huge and though I've surpassed the pants drooping, long tee wearing, lingo-slinging phase I've heard is rampant on the slopes, I'd like to keep up with the times.

This should be fairly easy as my paid gig for the winter is pretty sweet and the location really couldn't be more awe-inspiring. That's right folks, I have realized my dream of working in a Yurt. Yes, one of those round houses right out of Mongolia (minus the Yak skin walls) will be my destination to serve people delectable delicacies. Said clients will either ski, snow-shoe or, should disabilities reign, be snow-machined the mile to the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse, part of the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center, located at the base of Ski Cooper, Leadville's closest mountain (natural snow). I'm pretty excited and can't wait to utilize their 25K of trails and my pass to the area mountains!

Interestingly enough, my first encounter with "shredding" wasn't on skis or a snowboard but my mountain bike. 50-yards from my house is the trailhead to the Mineral Belt Trail. A 12-mile, winding, climbing paved path that goes through some of the oldest mining claims in the area. This is where I run into the lack of oxygen problem. My roommates, Rocky, and I did it at a leisurely pace and the views were made only more spectacular by my tunnel vision. Around mile-8 we hit a gulch and trekked a fair bit through snow. Next purchase? Studded bike tires. A great time for sure and can't wait until enough snow flies to turn it into a x-country path....though I'll have to work up to the whole twelves miles on foot. Nothing screams fun like an uncontrolled downhill on wily nordic skis.

As of late, it's been exploring the town and gearing up for work in the snow. Brooke and Mike blew in from Kansas (having come from Alaska to DC and eventually back up to the good ol'
AK) for a night. Great times! Always fun to see Alaskan friends out of Alaska, makes me believe I really do live and work up there.
This was the last day of sock-less weather before some snow and colder temps hit. All in all it's been a fabulous two weeks and am really looking forward to a winter with great friends, food, and rippin' some gnar!