Arapaho Basin and Back Home Again.

December 29th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

[Day 3-4 – Sunday-Monday, 12/21-22/2008] – Arapaho Basin

The two full days of snowboarding is now a complete blur. Of the many times I fell down and couldn’t get up again, looking up once in a while at the view was breathtaking. I think if I didn’t fall down as much as I did, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the view while resting my thighs. It was a little embarrassing to have kids fly by me right after I fall and eat snow. This trip was the most tiring trip I ever took. The thin air, cold, and physical demand on my body is something I really need to get used to if I go again.

Injuries. Other than the bruised butt and broken confidence, I think I sprained my wrist. I was going down a green run and there was a really wide turn. I was going a little fast and not really good at turning yet. There was a little hill/bump everyone was going around, but since Joseph’s teaching skills were really sub-par, I couldn’t turn. I made about two feet of air and at first I thought was really cool, but then reality slapped me in the face and I had absolutely no idea how to land. C’mon, I still had trouble getting off the freaking lifts without falling! I kind of landed ok, but ended up falling back, catching myself with my hands, but I hurt my wrist. Maybe it was the thin air that cut off signals to be brain that it was hurting because I didn’t notice the pain until I got back in Houston. Anyway, still no broken bones, whoot!

I like food, a lot. We ate at a bunch of places in the Keystone area:
Legends Cafe – Pizza (half pepperoni, half mushroom)
Given the fact that we were hungry as hell, this place is awesome. It sits right at the bottom of the runs and right next to the parking lot. After a good morning of snowboarding, this is the place to go. They have a wide variety of foods,

Marcello’s at Town Center in Dillon – Spicy Tomato Basil, Italian Sausage, and Tiramisu
We wanted to drive Frisco, but got really hungry and ended up at Dillon. The food was ridiculously awesome and the spicy tomato basil was the best I have ever had ever in my life. I even told our waiter to compliment the chef on it. The entree was a good follow up and the desserts were great too. Joseph, Vik and I split our desserts so we could try them all, YUM! Highly, highly recommended.

Black Mountain Lodge – Kobe Beef Burger
This is another restaurant at Arapaho Basin and sits at the top of the Exhibition Lift. It has a great view, but the food wasn’t as good. The burger was a bit dry and the not as flavorful. I don’t recommend the Kobe Beef burger, but there was the Elk Soup or something I wanted to try. Maybe next time.

After all our snowboarding adventures, we got well rested. Surprisingly, I was only sore after the second day. On the last day, I wasn’t or tired. YAY!

[Day 5 – Tuesday, 12/23/2008] – Denver, Colorado

The drive back to Denver was much less scary that the trip up the mountain. There wasn’t any snow and the weather turned out to be great. We checked back in the Hyatt and walked around Denver again. We had lunch at some sushi place and a bottle of sake, YUM!

We were all looking forward to our reservations at the Rodizio Grill, $32.00 for a Brazilian food fest! It was just like Fogo de Chao, but much cheaper and just as good. We met up with an old Houston acquiantance and his sister. Afterward, we all (six of us) crammed ourselves in a BMW and the guys were dropped off at some bar.

Awww... It was our last night in Colorado, so we started the drinking. Vodka+Sprite, three wise men (no so wise to get after all), some crazy ass drink the bartender got us (we had to use two straws and it ended with a coffee aftertaste), and I got a complimentary drink to end the night. We were walking toward the free shuttle that took us back to our hotel. Someone said, “we can walk, it’s right there.” Our drunk asses listened and walked down about ten cold and windy blocks to get back in the Hyatt. Damn that person whoever said it was “right there.” Sohel’s sober mind could have knocked some sense into us, but he was “sick” and couldn’t think straight. Whatever, damn him too. Hahaha…

Two Advils, bunch of water and I was out for the night.

[Day 6 – Wednesday, 12/24/2008] – Denver, Colorado

Luckily, I drank enough water to wake up with a minimal headache. We got all our stuff together and threw it in the back of the Pacifica. For some reason, Sohel carried his backpack with him. I have absolutely no idea why…

We made our last round hitting all the Denver places we wanted to visit with time as our enemy and Sohel as its ally. Remember how he booked a flight later than us to get to Denver? Well, guess when his flight was to get back to Houston? Two hours earlier than us. It’s freaking holiday season and getting to the gate would take longer than normal. We had to drive him up to the airport early to make sure he makes his flight, cutting out two hours of our time in Denver.

Denver Mint. Bang, Bang. I Want This For My Room. The Brown Palace, Amazing. No Meaning without a Reading.

After we dropped him off, we return the Pacifica. Sohel left his two-dollar straw hat in the trunk and we have to return it to him. Man, this kid causes so much trouble, haha. We ended up throwing his cowboy hat away since he didn’t want to walk 200 yards to pick it up. Lazy. Anyway, we hopped in the plane and got back to Houston and the heat and the humidity.

Lessons learned from the trip:
1) Work out six months before snowboarding, focusing on legs.
2) Everyone should book the same damn flight.
3) NEVER take snowboarding lessons from Joseph.
4) Zicam works as indicated on the bottle.
5) When Vik sleeps, he makes kicks and screams like a spoiled brat.

Houston – Denver – Keystone.

December 26th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

[Day 1 – Friday, 12/19/2008] – Houston, Texas to Denver, Colorado

Waiting... After an awesome sushi dinner with a few old friends and a brief night at Sammy’s, I went home to pack. I had flight at 6:30 AM and I had to make sure we (college buddies and I) made it to the airport on time. I almost passed out on the couch when Vikram and Joseph knocked at the door. It was only 3:30 AM or something, but we decided to get to the airport early rather than waiting at my house and potentially passing out. They just had a late night at their company party and I was just out for a random night.

Where is Sohel? As usual, he made it difficult and decided to take a later flight than us. We even gave him all of our flight information way right when we all booked out tickets to make sure we were all on the same flights. Vik, Joseph, and I took the same round-trip Frontier flight, while Sohel took Continental. Not just that, but he also just got back from his three week trip to Mecca. From a barren desert to snow, that is one crazy fool.

After arriving, we get all of our stuff and head over to the rental car place and pick up our four-wheel drive Chrysler Pacifica. By this time, Sohel landed and we had to go back around and pick him up. We tried stopping in the pickup area, but a cop started heading over toward us to make us move. Since we couldn’t stop and wait, we had to make a few of rounds around the airport. Joseph was driving and we really slow, ten mph and next thing you know, a cop pulls us over. He was really nice and let us go, but all this could have been avoided if Sohel would have just booked the same flight as all of us in the first place.

Larimer Square.
Blue Bear.
Canadian Beer...EH?
We drove in town and found Denver Diner for breakfast and it was damn good! Our hotel wasn’t far away, so we checked in and walked around the area. We had no idea where were were going, but we found Larimer Square and this big blue bear. I still don’t know why there’s a big blue bear in the middle of the city peeking into the civic center, but it is really cool. Larimer Square was fully of independent shops and wired up with lights up and down the entire strip.

The Coors Brewery was the next thing on our agenda, and we took off. It wasn’t a far drive and was a really fun thing to do. We all got three free beers and oh yeah, a tour of the brewery. I never knew Molson was part of the Coors family until that day. If you’re ever in Denver, I highly recommend this tour. Be sure to bring a polarized lens because everything cool is seen through a glass window. I should have bought one.

For dinner, we took a free shuttle from the hotel area to LODO (Lower Downtown?) to find some good food. Going from restaurant to restaurant, we kept going into these really pretentious places that all required reservations or long waits. We finally ended up at the Wynkoop. Good food, but I ended up with a stomach ache after three beers on an empty stomach from the brewery, BOO!

[Day 2 – Saturday, 12/20/2008] – Denver, Colorado to Keystone, Colorado

Frozen Waterfall.
Yeah, That's Fahrenheit.
Arapaho Basin
Today was the first day for snowboarding and I had no idea what to expect. I’ve never gone snowboarding or skiing in my entire life. The last time I saw snow before this was in Houston a few weeks ago. The last time it snowed in Houston was a few years ago. I’ve only encountered real snow in December 2001 when I went to Paris, so I’m totally a fish out of water. The drive through the mountains was crazy scary stuff. There was a point where we couldn’t even see the hood our vehicle, much less the road. The temperature hit a whopping negative three degrees Fahrenheit (-19.444 Celcius!).

We dropped off all our stuff at the Inn of Arapaho and went back to the Arapaho Basin. After unpacking our luggage, we did hit the bunny hill back at the Arapaho Basin. No lessons, nothing. Just straight to learning from Joseph, which is by the way NOT a good idea whatsoever. We fell so many times, I lost count. The only thing I did learn is how to fall down softly. I was completely shamed by the kids half my height soaring down the hill avoiding fallen first-timers. After getting back to the hotel to rest and heal, we tried to find the jacuzzi and sauna, but ended with failure. They were missing a part, so it was closed.

We wanted to find a place to eat, so we debated for a while and ended up right across the street at the Goat Tavern where they had $1.00 draught beer and really good barbecue. We played Candyland (my first time ever) and made some rules. If you land on your color, you drink. If you land on someone else’s color and they tell you to drink, you drink.

Sohel was sick, so he stayed at the Inn and we brought him some food. What a baby.

While back at the hotel, we were flipping around and found a really interesting news highlight: “Continental Flight 1404 (Denver to Houston) plane skids off runway while taking off.” It’s good to hear that absolutely no one was killed and only 38 were taken to the hospital.

So another night sleep and we were ready for another day of pain and suffering, but well worth it all.

Where am I?

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