We arrived at Hancock Airport Sunday morning February 12, at 4:30 a.m. for our 6:00 a.m. flight to start our trip to Steamboat. Things got off to a scary start when the line to check luggage got backed up and the counter agents said they were going to cut check in off at 5:15. Eventually we all got our bags checked, and departed on time. The weather cooperated and we arrived in Denver on time for our 4 hour bus ride to Steamboat. There was a movie to watch on the bus that got many different reviews… any hoo moving right along.
After a long trip all 53 of us, including travelers from California, Illinois, Tennessee, Maryland, North Carolina, and Ontario Canada, arrived in Steamboat at 6:00 p.m. ready to party and ski/snowboard. Later we met for a cheese and wine party that included a special “surprise” guest to meet. A few of us noticed a new person that started to mingle around and ended up at the bar to speak with a few of us. A few moments later we were all introduced to Nelson Carmichael, an Olympic bronze medalist in 1988 and 1992 Freestyle mogul. A few of us thought he looked a bit too young to win at that years mentioned. But to our surprise he is actually 51 yrs old. Skiing is a great sport and keeps you young and vibrant! After welcoming us to Steamboat Mr. Carmichael spent time talking, signing autographs, and posing for pictures with everyone.
After a good nights rest, we were ready for Steamboat. What a week we had! We had a full week of skiing on some great trailswith a wide variety of greens, blues and blacks. There was something for everyone. Unfortunately, we had to trade champagne powder for Blue Bird days. We had beautiful sunshine and ideal temperatures for skiing every day.
On Monday, more than a half the group took advantage of the Mountain Masters Tour for skiers and boarders over the age of fifty. The all-day tour provided an opportunity for us to become familiar with the mountain.
With almost 3,000 acres of skiing, 165 trails and 16 lifts, we needed all the help we could get.
On Tuesday, the trip leaders arranged for a Mountain Round -up (Poker Run) organized by the Steamboat staff. Envelops with playing cards were located at five locations on the mountain. Participants had to go the five locations on the mountain and retrieve an envelope with the playing card. A prizes were awarded for the first, second, third best and the worst poker hand.
Happy hours and more. Our Trip leaders didn’t let us get bored. They arranged for après ski activities every evening.
For those who dared, a clothing optional after dark, trip to Strawberry Park Hot Springs was held on Tuesday evening. The ride to and from was exciting. The unpaved road had pot holes that could swallow a Volkswagen Beetle. We may have driven over a couple. Thank goodness the driver knew his route well and got us to the top of the mountain where the springs were located. With flashlights and headlamps we made our way to the water’s edge and quickly got undressed and into the water. Some of us had our suits on underneath our clothes. Each of the pools had a slightly different temperature; some relaxed in the pool that was about 103 degrees others spent time in the 106 degree pool. It was very relaxing after a day of skiing and felt good on the tired muscles. Then there were a few adventurous ones that wanted to go into the cold water on the other side. That was quite a shock to your system but worth doing. Your legs tingled when you got back into the hot springs. The stars were bright and you could see the Milky Way. Oh yes, everyone in our group wore a bathing suit, we think - it was dark.
On Wednesday, on the BC Ski Way trail, a few from the group encountered a moose on the side of the trail just munching on the trees and whatever he could reach. He didn’t seem too interested in the skiers that were about to pass by.
The Wednesday evening Retro party, held at party central, was sensational! The camaraderie among our club members, without doubt, outshines any other club I have been a member of. The fun and creativity abounded among us! When our assistant trip leader came riding in on his green dinosaur, wearing a white cowboy hat, we knew we were at the right party! Without doubt, he won the Funniest Costume medal for the night. The zaniest costume by far was one of our former club presidents, he figured out how to wear the OSC red Steamboat bandana in a most inconspicuous place; however, it didn’t take long before everyone discovered the hiding place! I think he won the Scariest Costume medal! Linda Vanderhoof won the Most Creative Use of the OSC Steamboat Bandana, she made a cute boutonniere by folding it in an artistic manner, very clever! Diane Clark was the Most Fashion Challenged person of the evening by showing up in a stylish, chic-flowered dress and snappy hat, she was the height of fashion for sure! Virginia Lee was awarded Best Racer Imitation, check out her hat, good for her! The Best Retro costume was awarded to Cheryl Bloomer, she wore a tie-dyed shirt that had Guns N’ Roses stamped on it, a black mini-skirt and red/white/blue knit boots. The era of the 60’s was obviously evident! This was truly a party to be remembered!
On their day off from skiing, many of the group enjoyed browsing the quirky downtown area of Steamboat Springs. A couple people even went on an all-day guided snowmobile adventure. Another enjoyed a guided snowshoe tour followed by a gourmet lunch at the Hazie’s Restaurant in the Thunderhead Lodge
Thursday was Sunset Happy Hour at the Thunderhead Lodge at the top of the gondola. The sunset did not fail to impress us.
Friday our group took the gondola up to the Thunderhead Lodge for a Western BBQ. A great dinner followed by dancing to a live band. It was amazing how the Steamboat staff transformed the cafeteria for an evening of fine food and entertainment.
On Saturday there was a sighting of a dinosaur on the mountain.
Unfortunately, all good trips must end. On Saturday, after a great day of skiing and boarding we needed to clean out our condos. The leaders bought pizzas and salads and everyone contributed their leftovers for one more party.
To keep the excitement going the trip leaders presented trophies for:
Most daily vertical skiing or boarding: Tom Hotaling,Peter Davis,Gary Prestianni
- Gary P (personal best) 47,000' in one day (chairlift assist...... No helicopter) Way to go Gary!
Iron legs, for the most vertical skiing or boarding for the trip: Gary Prestianni
Ladies vertical: Laura Powers ,Peggy Hotaling
Most improved: James Root
Bark Eater, for a close encounter with a tree: John Sonne
Greatest Horizontal, for the person spending the most time lying down: Rod and Linda Ward
Greatest Yard Sale: Cheryl Bloomer
Raccoon Look Alike: Larry Howard
Horses Ass, person who does or says the most embarrassing, bone headed thing: Scott Powers
Party Animal: Susan Fisk
On Sunday morning we boarded the bus to return home. After a three-hour trip back to Denver, we boarded our plane to Atlanta then on to Syracuse. Again the weather cooperated and we arrived on time in Syracuse at 11:30 p.m., exhausted but content after a great week in Steamboat CO.
Everyone can’t wait till next winter to see where we will be heading next!
Thanks to Cheryl Bloomer and Kathy See for contributing to the article.
Steve Davis and Eric Ludewig