I last left my Steamboat Springs trip with just a few more skiing stories to recount. I'm picking up at the third day on the mountain, where my husband and I planned to be there first thing and ski, just the two of us, until we'd had our fill.
We really did ski a ton this day -- 16.8 miles total, according to the app that was tracking us. We started up in the "Wally World" section of the resort, but even then we were taking new trails over old ones. We went to the "Morningside" (back) of the mountain a couple of times, though it turned out the snow wasn't as good back there. When we returned to the front, we tried harder blue trails toward the west side of the mountain that pushed me and helped cement my slowly improving skills.
I learned that my rating of the trails often didn't line up with the resort's. Frying Pan was a short run than you could see was riddled with moguls. But it was marked blue, so it seemed like a way to maybe learn some new skills. I struggled all the way down, falling a couple of times -- though my husband said at the bottom (perhaps just to make me feel better) that it had felt more like a black run to him. Then there was Two O'Clock, a "blue/black" trail I took hoping to take another step forward. It turned out to be much easier than several of the pure blue runs we'd done that day.
I also learned that when I get tired while skiing, I unravel quite quickly and thoroughly. When we reached the point where we knew it was time to call it a day, we were still a couple of lifts and trails from being able to get back to main path down. Yet even though I'd done fine on similar trails all day (and in one or two cases, the exact same trails), I was falling, tiring myself more to get up, falling more from being tired... a vicious cycle that made the last hour or so of skiing a bit of a rough ride. When we finally did get back to the center of the mountain, exhaustion (and poor snow conditions on the lower half of the trails) pushed us to ride the gondola down to end the day.
Still, this was overall the confidence-building day I'd been hoping for. It was the first day I was willing to just sort of go wherever and not plan obsessively in advance what paths would be easy enough for me to get back out. I got a wide range of challenges and a wider range of scenery. Finally, I felt like I could say "I can ski" without having to tack on "badly" or "barely" or some such. And it was a blast.