Saturday, March 25, 2017



      As far back as I can remember, I've loved skiing, even to the point that I dropped out of the conventional workforce when I was young to spend a winter skiing and working in Aspen, Colorado—before the rich and famous moved in.

     This leads to why I am writing about this now when I'm clearly over-the-hill and haven't skied for five years. I'm not even sure if the passion is still there, or if I can still get down the mountain in one piece. Then if I were to ski, there is the effort required to pack up the clothing and the old ski equipment, drag it to the airport, and hope that it is all still functioning. I was beginning to think that maybe I'm getting too content (I won't say old) to get up the energy and effort a ski trip requires.

     However, the lingering memory of floating down a mountain, surrounded by the elements, nature, and snow-filled trees prevailed. Other special memories were the times I spent with my son on the mountains where he snowboarded while I skied. He always shared my love of gliding down the mountain.

     Despite some hesitation, I still needed to ski this season and the perfect trip would be to Colorado with my son, Ben. I decided to ask him if he would like to join me for a few days of skiing and he agreed. He chose four days at the end of February, and I made the arrangements. We both arrived early on the Tuesday morning after Presidents' Day at the Denver International Airport, rented a car, and headed up for an afternoon of skiing at Loveland Ski Resort—75 miles west of Denver.
     We got on the mountain that afternoon. The snow was light and fluffy; the temperature was about 20 degrees (I've always been a fair weather skier); there were no lines at the chairlift; and the slopes were wide open. I still experienced that same thrill of skiing down a mountain. It was a joy to see Ben snowboard down ahead of me; eventually taking off for the more difficult runs, just like it use to be. We skied until the lifts closed at 4 p.m. As we drove off, I recall telling Ben that just this one afternoon of skiing made the entire trip worthwhile.

     We continued driving another 12 miles west to the Dillon Inn, where we had booked a room for a few nights, with just enough time to head next door to the award-winning Dillon Dam Brewery (100 Little Dam St.) for happy hour.

Day two would have been a perfect ski day at Arapahoe Basin as planned, however, it wasn't meant to be. I woke up nauseous, with stomach and back pain that kept getting worse. I thought it might be altitude sickness, but it turned out to be more serious. Ben brought me to the emergency room in nearby Frisco, where I spent the day.
They ran tests and finally, before sending me home with just had a bad case of flu, they did a CT scan and discovered a small kidney stone. The doctor was confident that it would pass in a couple of days, and I was released about 5 p.m. with the appropriate medicines. I was lucky. The stone passed that evening, and I felt much better. My son said that he enjoyed his day walking around the old scenic mining town of Frisco—anything is better than a hospital. 

     The next day I felt fine, and thought, what a difference a day makes. We went back to Loveland. I skied at my usual casual pace and enjoyed every moment of it. It's hard to describe that sensation of freedom you get from flying down the slopes and connecting with the elements. It was a great day. Snow was in the forecast, so we headed back to Denver for our last night.

     We didn't get in as much skiing as we had hoped, but I still smile when I think about my four days in Colorado with Ben.

     When planning the trip, I searched for senior lift ticket rates at the various ski areas in Colorado. The best deals were:
-Loveland Ski Resort – age 70+ unlimited season pass $89,
age 60-69 $50 full day.
-Arapahoe Basin – age 70+ walk up window rate $30 full day,
age 60-69 $82.
-Sunlight in Glenwood Springs – age 65-79 $45 full day,
age 80+ Free.
-Aspen – 70+ $479 senior season pass.

  The worst deal for seniors: Vail Associate properties: (Vail, Breckenridge, Keystone, Beaver Creek) -65+ a $10 discount off full day ticket. Full days at Vail are $179 if purchased online the night before. They do not give the walk up window rate on their website—which means it's more than $179.

Friday, March 10, 2017

My Vintage Journeys: LIFE'S A TRIP! 2017 TRAVEL & ADVENTURE S...

My Vintage Journeys: LIFE'S A TRIP! 2017 TRAVEL & ADVENTURE S...:       The 4 th Annual San Diego Travel & Adventure Show , held in March 2017, was the place to go for inspiration, insight, ...


      The 4th Annual San Diego Travel & Adventure Show, held in March 2017, was the place to go for inspiration, insight, and expert information. With over 140 exhibits, four travel stages, and a global beats music stage, deciding where to spend your time will be the challenge. I usually grab a coffee and sit at one of the travel theaters to enjoy and learn from the most popular travel gurus around. They share their travel expertise in an entertaining way. I always leave with new ideas and inspiration to keep on traveling. 
      One of the most popular speakers is Phil Keoghan, Host/Co-Executive Producer of the Amazing Race and author of No Opportunity Wasted—a book that aims to inspire people to break through their boundaries, challenge themselves and live a fuller life.
        He always has something new and exciting going on, and this year it was his new documentary Le Ride. In order to produce the film, Phil and his friend Ben Cornell, actually road the 1928 Tour de France route on 1928 bicycles with no gears. The two men biked an average of 150 miles per day. The film is a tribute to the first English-speaking cycling team of four, an underfunded and untested team from New Zealand and Australia that finished in 28th place. The 3,338 mile tour was the toughest in history with only 25% of the participants finishing the race. The film is slated to be screened at the Palm Springs American Documentary Film Festival, March 31-April 5, 2017. It is currently showing in New Zealand and will be in the US later this year. Phil's best quote: “Focus on what's right, not wrong.”
       Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter, producer and CBS news travel editor, Peter Greenberg, flies 400,000 miles a year. He is not shy about speaking up when the airlines, hotels, and others treat the public unfairly. As usual he had a lot to say about what's going on in the industry. Most importantly, he emphasized that it is a good time to be traveling, and it should be a global buyers' market through the end of the year. The value of the US dollar has improved, making it more expensive for those overseas to travel.
      Because 2016 was a boom year for travel, more start-up airlines offered cheap flights from cities like San Diego that are not major hubs. He mentioned Edelweiss Airlines, WOW Airlines, and Norwegian Shuttle. The big consideration here is that you check the costs for extras like checked luggage and carry on bags.
      One of my favorite travel bloggers is Johnny Jet, whom I have been following for at least a dozen years. He always has great tips on his website for finding cheap flights. He shared a story about his first job out of college, when he was a college recruiter and needed to travel a lot for work. He began learning all the tricks to finding the cheapest airfares, which he then shared with his fellow recruiters. Eventually, this evolved into a blog that allowed him to travel and write full time.
      Another great reason for attending the travel show is to meet travel planners and locals from countries that you might be traveling to. That's why we headed over to meet Robert Hill, owner of Downunderguru, who was an exhibitor. He also gave an informative presentation: “What's on Down Under: Travel Worthy Events in Australia and New Zealand in 2017-18.” Fortunately, we found out that the 2017 Rugby League World Cup takes place in New Zealand at the same time we will be there. This will make travel bookings more difficult. I started early making my hotel bookings, but this bit of information will make me even more diligent.
       Oh, yes, there were camel rides available to everyone this year at the travel show. I'm still bit a irritated that I didn't take advantage of the ride because the lines were long.

Related Posts: