In February we shut up shop for two weeks to visit friends in Aspen, Colorado. This was the first time we have holidayed in the States and weren’t sure how we would find it. We had a great time and everyone was so friendly and helpful. Denise is a ski instructor during the winter months and she was able to kit me out totally and Stu with everything bar boots. On the days that Denise was able to get off work and ski with us it was like having your own private instructor and it certainly built my confidence up, I felt that I had actually conquered skiing by the end of the holiday ,skiing the slopes rather than fighting my way down.
Dick is a professional bird watcher and tour guide so on the couple of days we did not ski we went out armed with cameras, binoculars and telescope. The first day after we arrived,Tuesday, we had decided not to ski but to aclimatise and get over the journey, Dick took us up into the hills above their house pointing out different landmarks and birds. The Thursday forecast was for 70 mile an hour winds and snow storms so we decided against venturing out to ski that day,(a wise move as all the ski lifts were shut and only the lower slopes open). Instead Dick took us on a road trip down the valley, we had a brilliant day spotting a Golden Eagle feeding on a coyote carcass along with three Bald Eagles waiting to get in on the action, some Elk and a live coyote, the coyote was a lot bigger than we had imagined, more like a wolf!
The above pictures of a Bald Eagle were taken with my phone camera through Dicks telescope. We weren’t able to get photos of the Golden Eagle, they are much too timid if we had got out of the car it would have flown off even though it was probably 1000 meters away. Luckily for us the Bald Eagles were still on the carcass when we came back past a good couple of hours later, then we were able to get out of the car and set up the ‘scope.
Thursday had been a great day wildlife spotting and admiring the fantastic landscape and down the valley the weather had not been too bad and the good news was that the ski fields got a good dumping of snow ready for us to return to on Friday.
We skiied every day for the rest of the trip,on the Sunday Denise had the day off and she took us skiing to Aspen Mountain and Aspen Highlands, just so we can say we’ve done it and incase we preferred them to Snowmass. I personally perferred Snowmass its slopes were so wide, beautifully groomed and virtually empty of people! No queuing for the lifts like in European resorts. Stuart and I would go in with Denise when she went to work or we would get the bus in and out, we would ski all day and although I was tired at the end of the day my legs never ached like last year when we were in La Tania, I’m hoping that is because I cracked it and am no longer fighting the slopes. Denise has a hot tub in the back garden and I took advantage of this in the evenings which probably also helped the legs.
All good things must come to an end and so unfortunately did our first trip to Colorado, although hopefully it won’t be our last. Flying in and out of Aspen airport is an experience, the mountains are pretty close and its a case of gaining altitude quickly and turning before you meet the mountain head on, but what beautiful views to end our holiday on.