Skication: Breckenridge

We got back last week from a long weekend in Breckenridge, CO. We LOVE Colorado- I think everyone does. This was our 5th trip together, so obviously we’re into it ☺ (See Steamboat Springs ski trip, here.) It’s just so nice to actually be in cold weather for once. And see snow! Winter was nonexistent here in Houston, so it was refreshing. 

This trip was with Dan’s family- 2 parents, 2 sisters, 3 cute/crazy kiddos. We stayed in a condo right at the base of Peak 9. So convenient! And lots of snow right outside for the littles to play in. Sledding with them was beyond adorable. And seeing them on skis, even if that only lasted for a grand total of 20 minutes over 2 days. Ha. It was super relaxed, skiing during the day, hot tubing when we got back, then eating dinner on Main street most nights. The town is very charming, with Victorian houses, cute shops, and lots of twinkle lights. We also got to stop by a friend’s new shop in Breck- Woodland. It was filled with such a great selection of home decor/gift items.

FOOD & DRINK: One of my absolute favorite things about skiing is having a warm drink at the base of the mountain. This trip, it was at The Maggie and it delivered. Giampietro’s was SO worth the wait- I think there were only 6 or 7 tables in the whole place, so it took a little while. But I do have to say that it was the best calzone I’ve ever had. Empire Burger was also super tasty and kid friendly. Plus, Dan and I had to stop by Breckenridge Brewery for a couple beers. The wait at the bar was 4 people deep. I don’t know that we ever would have been served if not for a couple of kindly locals who knew the bartender and ordered for us! We also had a drink at Downstairs at Eric’s, which had a ton of awesome gaming systems. 

SKI REPORT: I skied THREE blacks! I may not have enjoyed it in the moment, but I felt super accomplished once I had finished the run. There should be an award for the slowest person down, and I should be the recipient. But at least I made it! I have an extremely patient and nice husband and father-in-law. Oh and I’m really into moguls- who would have thought that one? Unfortunately, Kim broke her shoulder Friday morning after hitting a patch of ice. Such a huge bummer.

Thanks to Dan’s fam for such a great trip! We need to work on the group picture thing!

Great American Beer Fest

A few weeks ago, we were able to attend the Great American Beer Fest, thus fulfilling one one of Dan’s dreams. He’s been wanting to go for years and when he was able to score tickets, we were off to Denver with his dad and sister. Personally, I’d never pass up a chance to visit Denver because I love it so much. But the unlimited beer was a perk 🙂

The fest is held in Denver’s Convention Center, downtown, and there were almost 400 breweries in attendance. They had the booths divvied up by region, and had other activities going on as well, like a silent disco and karaoke. We had a blast chatting with brewers, checking out the booths of some of our favorite Texas breweries, and trying hundreds of different beers over 2 nights. Dan listens to a brewing podcast called “Brew Strong” regularly and got to try the guy from the podcast’s beer and meet his wife 🙂 Several booths even tapped special casks at certain points, so were able to try beer would never be able to get at home. Don’t worry, you are given a small glass and the pours are tiny! On the second night, Dan wore his Karbach shirt and was congratulated over and over again on their win for their Oktoberfest. So funny to hear him continuously say, “Oh it’s just a shirt, I don’t brew for them.”

Other than the fest, we drove out to Mt. Evams and climbed up to the peak, which I believe is the highest in Colorado? The air was thin, but it felt amazing. Plus the drive the out was just gorgeous. The yellow leaves were amazing, and something we don’t see much of in Houston. The best part was all the wild life! Definitely wasn’t expecting that. And since I forgot a sweatshirt, I had an excuse to run over to REI and finally buy a patagonia pullover 😀

We also got to have brunch at Root Down, which I’ve eaten at too many times considering I don’t live in Denver. Ugh, it’s just the best. They have a place in the airport, so we had it for dinner too!! We had plenty of time before our Sunday night flight, so we were able to check out the Denver Botanical Gardens, which were AMAZING! I would visit all the time if I lived there. It’s in such a cute neighborhood and every section is so well planned. Mini adventures around every corner.

It was such a fun and easy going trip. Now that Dan has been once, I have a feeling we will be going every year. I’m okay with that 🙂

And out of the cold…

We are back in Houston and were welcomed with the most lovely, fog/mist/humidity combination. It creeped up to 75 and I’m SO NOT READY for the heat. Dallas just got snow! Not fair Houston. Not. Fair.

Colorado, on the other hand, was just perfection. Even if we did have to drive through a bit of a snow storm from Denver > Steamboat Springs. The boys decided to upgrade us (for safety purposes) to a Tahoe and I’m so relieved they did. And now we all want Tahoes ASAP. For a group that doesn’t particularly care about cars, this says something. After a fairly grueling drive through the snow/ice (thanks Tim!!), we made it in around midnight. We rented a ski in/out condo through airbnb.com that was really comfortable and just the right spot to relax after a day on the slopes.

DAY 1: Learn to ski (again)

We rented our equipment at One Stop Ski Shop in downtown Steamboat and they were great- plus the 2 cute dogs didn’t hurt. Courtney and I made our way to ski school while the boys took on the black slopes. Since I had attempted skiing before and Dan had given me a good base, I wasn’t technically a beginner, so Courtney and I split up into different levels. I spent the day with a super sweet woman from Venezuela (where she has trouble finding milk and toilet paper at the store due to the political climate at the moment) and our instructor, Mike. He really helped me to understand the basics of skiing- especially where to put my weight and how to easily turn the skis. By the end of the day I was feeling confident.

That night we made some quick shopping trips to stock up for the weekend. LOTS of Powerade to prevent altitude sickness. In CO, the grocery store only sells 3.2 beer, so we had to run to the liquor store for REAL beer and wine. After shopping, we were too tired to cook so we went into town to dine at Mahogany Ridge. Man, it was packed! They brew their own beer and have a huge menu with lots of options. Great feel to the place and good food. The beer wasn’t my favorite, but it was refreshing and hit the spot.

The place we stayed (Storm Meadows) had the quickest, most efficient, *free* shuttle service I’ve ever seen and were always only a few minutes away after we placed a call. I would love to have that service here in Houston too 😀 We ended our first day with Battle of the Sexes (which continued on for the next couple of days). Turns out we are fairly evenly matched couples. Also, Dan makes a killer fire.

DAY 2: Practice makes perfect

It took me a while to warm up without the instructor, but eventually I was attempting to tackle some of the easier blues. I only cried twice and only had to be helped by a ski ambassador once. Thanks for being so patient, Dan! Our kids will be so lucky to have you as a teacher. Such an awesome strength that I’m continually striving for (and continually not succeeding).

We were all pretty sore, so we drove out to Strawberry Park Hot Springs that evening. Once again, thank goodness for the Tahoe. It was a pretty drive out there but as we got closer, it turned into a icy dirt road. So, so worth the drive. One of the coolest things ever and something I would highlyyy recommend. It’s so neat to be sitting in steaming hot springs in the middle of the mountains. Though I was pretty nervous about being in a swimsuit when the temperature was in the teens. It was a mad dash to de-cloth and re-cloth before and after. Sidenote: clothing optional at night (but I only saw one butt so I was safe). The boys actually jumped into the freezing part of the springs but there was no way we were joining them.

it was snowing a little bit.

Post springs bathroom selfie in my comfy vintage sweater. And ibuprofen. Lots of ibuprofen.

Chicken enchilada casserole for dinner and more battling of the sexes were the perfect end to a fantastic day.

DAY 3: Mastering Skiing

Double black diamonds for everyone!!

JK. Not sure those are ever in my future. But I was having a blast on the greens and blues. By the end of the ski day I didn’t want to get off the slopes! We were just about the last ones down. We even had ski patrol following us for a bit to make sure we were heading down. I then had the most delicious drink, the “snuggler” at Slopeside, and felt very happy (and relieved) that I had finally learned how to ski. Now the goal is to remember that feeling next year when I’m once again intimidated.

That night we gorged ourselves on Italian food at Mazzola’s (so charming and cozy in a basement-like setting) and lamented the fact that the ski trip was almost over.

DAY 4: Sad to leave

On our final morning, I ate the largest cinnamon roll I’d ever seen (we all shared) and a plate of biscuits and gravy. Thank you Winona’s, you were delicious. We also walked around downtown a bit and spent some time in the cutest bookstore, Off the Beaten Path (a tip from Jessica).

After the drive back to Denver we had a little time to kill before heading to the airport so we ended up at Great Divide Brewery, one of our favorites from our tour of Denver breweries last summer. I loved the seasonal belgian tripel, Orabelle, which we hadn’t gotten to try.

Our only good group picture… and of course it was captured exactly when the guy said cheese so I have a ridiculously goofy grin on my face. Cool.

Then it was back to the real world! This week has been so short. Basically just scrambling to catch on work and laundry before leaving town again! Cheers to Steamboat Springs and Tim & Courtney for putting up with us on the trip!

And apologies for the crazy long post… You now get a cute Barley pic.

Happy face after we got back!

Into the Cold

We are off to Steamboat Springs, CO! Below freezing temps and lots of snow, here we come. Hopefully taking ski school the first day will set me on the right track and I won’t end up crying on top of the mountain. Wish me luck!

 Packing cold weather clothes takes up a lot more space. How do northerners do this??

p.s. I almost cried saying bye to Barley… I become more of a sap every single day. I can only imagine what children will do to me.