Sunday, March 13, 2016

Ski Keystone - by Lily

Keystone has three mountains for skiing, Dercum Mountain (11640'), North Peak (11660') and Outback (11980'), and only one green trail from the top of a mountain was called Schoolmarm at Dercum. Despite the fact that the slopes at Keystone are steeper and longer than most trails we skied on before, we felt at ease with whatever trails we were on at Keystone, green, blue, even black!

First day at the ski resort, we were surprised by no lines at the rental house and lifts. With our spring break ahead of most other schools I guess we had this advantage J The first trip downhill was an easy one, we took our friend and her son via Peru Express lift to get to the half way of Schoolmarm - the sun was shining, the sky was blue with scattered white clouds, and the crowd was thin. It was a perfect time for us to ski down this trail with beginners. Afterwards, we separated by skill levels.

Schoolmarm trail at Keystone

Nicholas, Anthony, Allan and I took the Peru Express up again to ski down via Schoolmarm and turned to Dercum Dash to get to the base of the Summit Express lift, which brought us to the summit of Dercum Mountain.  We skied together for a few runs on blue trails, Frenchman, Bachelor, Flying Dutchman ....before we separated again.  Allan and I cruised down blue trails from the mountain top non-stop, without the usual pausing at each "slow" sign. Flying down the mountain was exciting and frequently adrenaline pumping.  With years of skiing experience under our belts, our confidence level had a qualitative gain this year. 

Nicholas and Anthony were skiing buddies for the first two days

flying down a slope - 1 - see the splash
flying down a slope - 2
flying down a slope - 3

On the second day we had gorgeous weather. We decided to explore the terrain. 

We went up Dercum Mountain Summit and took the blue trail of Mozart, at the back side of Dercum Mountain, down toward the base of North Peak.  Mozart trail is steeper than those on the front side but we waltzed through it at high speed! Mozart led us to the Santiago Express, which lifted us to the summit of North Peak

On North Peak - looking east

On North Peak  - looking north
Taking Spillway trail down, we reached Outback express at the foot of Outback - the tallest mountain at the ski resort. The view at the summit of Outback is different from the other summits, and we were much closer to the surrounding Rockies.

trail signs at Outback
Dillon Reservoir in the valley

Most of the lifts here have the trail map on the bar of the chairs, making it convenient to plan out our trails. We took the lift up, planned our route on the chair, and flew down the mountain to catch the next lift.  Within hours we had skied all the blue trails here J

As we were wondering what else to do on day 3, Nicholas led us to try some black trails. Pika trail at the back mountain looked short enough on the map, but when we got there we realized it was through the trees. We decided to give it a try with Nicholas leading the way gingerly maneuvering through the moguls and between the trees. After some slow pace moving down, we got out of the woods and enjoyed our speed downhill on blue.

entering moguls in the woods

skiing on moguls in the woods for the first time
Perhaps Oh, Bob trail would be better since it’s in open space. Little Anthony had no concept of fear and led the way down first. I was busy taking photos and was left way behind. Looking at the bumpy road ahead of me, I wasn’t sure how I was going down. Luckily Nicholas was waiting for me ahead and coached me on how to turn and maneuver through the moguls. After a few falls, I was very happy to see that Nicholas was waiting for me at the escape exit J

The boys were on the moguls and I  took pictures of them and my shadow
Escape from Oh Bob

In the afternoon, Allan and I skied by ourselves again, we waltzed through the easier trails interchanging blue and green until our legs were burning.

taking a break
taking a break

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Spring is coming

It is a sunny and warm morning, blue sky with scattered thin white clouds. I went out to try to capture the early spring. Peach trees, pear tress ....started to bloom after a couple weeks of  10F+ above normal temperature. Some other trees also start budding. But the best indicator that spring at this time is coming is that of bird's  ... northern mocking bird, american robin, blue jay, sparrows, house finches ....mating calls as well as flocks of birds flying around.

Blooming peach flowers
yellow flowers squeezing out of a fence  
A bush growing over a fence
Blooming peach tree in front a neighbor's house
a house finch taking off from a gutter
A northern mocking bird on top of a tree calling
callery pear tree is a very common tree in our neighborhood
an american robin in front of rice middle school

Past posts on Spring

Spring flowers around the block
Spring time stories
Picnic and Jogging at Arbor Hills
Mt Magazine
Glimpse of Lake Ouachita