Getting humbled, one way or another

Prodigious Powder, Season 2 February 5, 2012

Filed under: Skiing — sarahallen24 @ 7:56 pm
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This is the second season of my campaign to replace the word “epic” with the word “prodigious” in ski/snowboard vernacular. The e-word has been growing in popularity the last few years to where now, just about anything can be “EPIC.” Forget that its actual intent is to describe things of heroic or grand scale.

Odysseus is allowed to use this word.

Joe Schmo is not allowed to use this word when talking about a burrito.

While powder days are some of the most fun moments in life, still….not epic. Unless you have a powder day that lasts for 10 years, requires the survival of several massive avalanches and jumping crevasses that have monsters that try to snatch you and drag you in. All while trying to save an entire mountain town from total annihilation. I suppose that would be pretty epic.

Prodigious is a much better fit. Especially this season since it refers to abnormal happenings. With storms less frequent than typical, a powder day is prodigious indeed. Here are some pictures from a few I’ve been blessed to enjoy recently.

A foot of new snow at Snowmass

Ann Driggers in afternoon pow at Snowmass

My pal Carrie enjoying the trees and boulders at Powderhorn

This wasn’t a powder day, but the other night a few of us hiked up Powderhorn under a nearly full moon and enjoyed some night skiing.


Home for Christmas January 6, 2012

Filed under: Skiing,Uncategorized — sarahallen24 @ 7:59 pm

For the first time in years, I got to spend Christmas in Sheridan with my family! The new job enabled me to take off for 11 days to hang out with family, ski and ride crash snowmobiles.

We’ll get to that.

But first, check out the awesome Christmas sunrises from my Mom’s back door

And God finished the day off with an evening show as well.

My Stepdad & Mom have the Honda dealership in Sheridan. They also have all the fun powersport toys. The day after Christmas, my stepdad put me on a fancy new snowmobile from the shop and we buzzed around the Big Horns.

I’ve only snowmobiled a few times and they were in high school. So I watched him and tried to follow what he did, jumping one side to the other to turn and keep it on the trail. Besides a couple dumps here and there, it was going well. Then, on our way back on Red Grade road, I was trying to keep up…I had just glanced at my speedometer and I was going 30 into this curve. Why? I have no idea. You would never take a corner in a car at 30. Duh Sarah. Well it turned out to be even sharper than I thought. I quickly realized it probably wasn’t going to work out. I tried to put my weight on the right side but it was too late…the thing was going over. So I let go and slide on my head then hip across the road and into the snow. Thank God there wasn’t a barbwire fence there. The shiny new snowmobile completely rolled and ended up upside down.


My Dad, brother and I took Kiaya, my 6 year old niece, skiing for the first time. She did amazingly well! No issues standing, turning and no fear of the chairlift.

In fact she was all about speed. Better get your skis on dad!

Ski Meadowlark is definitely the smallest ski area I’ve ever skied, but it has great views of the Cloud Peak Wilderness Area. There’s also a big log lodge with giant fireplace. I would guess there were only about 50 people there. It was honestly my most fun ski day yet this season!

Allow me one more sunset shot. This one on the way home from skiing.

This was the first time in 7 years that our entire Allen/Weber family was together for Christmas. A complete family photo was almost an endangered species, so we saved it.

And now to end it with one random picture. One of the buffalo that live in Sheridan.


Goodbye Powderhorn June 14, 2011

Filed under: Skiing,Uncategorized — sarahallen24 @ 5:33 pm

These last 6 years at Powderhorn have been incredibly fun, educational and yes, even frustrating. I’ll miss the ability to drop everything on a powder day. I’ll miss all the people. I’ll miss early morning radio shows with Mary Britt’s breakfast burritos. I’ll miss wearing ski boots and Chacos at work. I may even miss snow reporting. I just won’t miss people complaining to me that it hasn’t snowed enough. And I probably won’t miss the smell of my office in March…neither will my coworkers.

It’s time to move on to new challenges, but as I clean out my files, here are some random pictures of the last 6 years at PH…

Sometimes marketing gets confused with modeling

This is STILL my favorite crash picture (Leah on her teles)

Yes? Can we help you?

Ski Patrol to the rescue

Probably shouldn’t let the marketing girl drive a snowcat…especially at 2am.


Sometimes we had to use our specialized highly technical snow measuring instruments

This is Lil. She’s in her 90s, is legally blind, and still skis more than a lot of people. We love Lil.


For the stressful days…

The Marketing/IT department dummy launching at the first ever Dummy Jump

I have to include one of Kate, because in all her years at Powderhorn, she never made the brochure. Mostly because she wears stuff like this.

And finally my last day skiing as an employee; a perfect powder day with a champagne toast, great people and an amazing view.

Love you guys!


I Heart Antelope Butte April 25, 2011

Filed under: Skiing — sarahallen24 @ 5:02 pm
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I’m visiting my family up in Sheridan, WY. This is where I grew up and learned to ski, bike, hike, etc. Somehow I missed the whole horse riding thing.

We had a great little ski area called Antelope Butte. Unfortunately the place closed down around 2005 and doesn’t have extremely high hopes of opening again. We had a blast at this place. I can still ski every little section of it in my head.

My brother and I went up and hiked it the other day. I hadn’t skied here since it was open. It was awesome seeing everything again. Of course I remember the lift being higher and the runs longer. I didn’t think I’d grown up that much…sheesh I topped out in middle school. Anyways, there are 4 main runs among the tons of other little off shoots. We called them A, B, C and D. They have acutal names but this highly technical alphabetical naming system stuck.

Gabe and I hiked up C

I reaaaaaally wanted to swipe this sign

The lift is in pretty rough shape. And buried! They’ve had a sweet amount of snow this winter.

What else was in rough shape? Gabe’s skis. He plopped these ancient artifacts down at the top and it was my first glimpse at the condition of his skis.

The poor guy had gotten so desperate to ski that he and some buddies skied the face of the mountain in “marginal” conditions. Turns out he could have skipped the snowshoes and skinned up…without needing skins.

On the headwall on B

Great snow, great runs, great place. I wish it could come back from the dead. I know a big pack of Allens that would be first in line!


The Final Powderhorn Day April 4, 2011

Filed under: Skiing — sarahallen24 @ 11:46 pm

It came and went, very fast as usual. Yesterday was the last day of the Powderhorn ski season. That means it was my last day doing the snow report…hallelujah!

We planned a fun-filled day with BBQ and beer on the deck and the Pond Skim. All of which are perfect for nice spring skiing weather. Like all events we’ve planned this season, the weather didn’t comply with our plan. But today, the weather’s refusal to cooperate made the day 10x better. When I arrived there was at least 6″ of fresh snow. It kept dumping…all day. Powder on the last day? Fine by me!

Carrie and Leah on our first run

Mudslide has been my favorite run this season. Perfect to finish off with!

Carrie and I did neon ski outfits last year. This year we opted for the tuxedos from the classic movie Dumb & Dumber

We did one run in these getups. It may have been the coldest run I’ve ever done.

We closed the day out with the Pond Skim…well Slush Skim more like it. Trudy couldn’t quite figure out the lobster fence here….she really wanted to get through.

As we drove down out of the clouds, the valley was drying out. The perfect end to a great day that didn’t go according to plan.


14 Reasons Why the Grand Valley is an Outdoor Paradise March 31, 2011

Filed under: Biking,Hiking/Backpacking,Skiing,Uncategorized — sarahallen24 @ 5:42 pm
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This is a rough draft of a little project I’m working on…

For outdoor lovers, the Grand Valley seems to be overlooked in Colorado for places like Boulder or Ft. Collins. But I would argue that we have some of the best and most diverse outdoor adventures for any activity. And, perhaps most importantly, we don’t have to fight traffic to get out there!

1. Not too big, not too small….juuuuuuust right. The 2010 census puts Mesa County at 146,723.

2. World class biking between the Lunch Loop trails, 18 Road, Rabbit Valley, and Kokopelli system. The new Lunch Loop Bike Park has been so successful that another is being constructed at the Kokopelli system. Enough dirt for everyone!

3. Use your legs instead of wheels? Those trail systems are perfect for runners.

4. Skinny tires enjoy the road riding through orchards, vineyards, over the Colorado National Monument, or over the world’s largest flat-topped mountain. Take your pick.

5. Taking a hike after work is a perfect way to blow off steam. Mt. Garfield, Liberty Cap, Serpent’s Trail or Devil’s Canyon are just a few that are hikeable almost year-round.

6. That brings me to the next point: Very little winter driving in the valley. We all own the ‘all wheel drive’ but it rarely gets use on our commutes.

7. Skiing and snowboarding is just 45 minutes away. The Grand Mesa can act like The Grand Snowfence at times and force the clouds to drop copious amounts of snow. Powderhorn offers uncrowded slopes with sweet aspen glades. Or kick out into the backcountry throughout the mesa.

8. Multi-sport days? All the time! Go skiing in the morning then _________ in the afternoon. Fill in the blank with any of these: biking, climbing, hiking, running, golfing.

9. The Grand Valley has water. Between the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers you can do whatever floats your boat. (See what I did there?)

10. There’s rock too. All the climbing and bouldering you can get your chalky little hands on.

11. Incredible backpacking routes are within a couple hours drive: Grand Mesa, San Juan Mountains and Elk Mountains.

12.  This is canyon country. Canyoneers enjoy exploration in Dominguez Canyon, Escalante Canyon, The Colorado National Monument and McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area.

13. Post-playtime food and bevies in all directions: Hot Tomato of Fruita, Palisade Cafe of Palisade and Suehiro’s of Grand Junction just to name a few.

14. And finally, local beer and wine is flowing all over the valley! There are 18 wineries/tasting rooms, 3 breweries and our Peach Street Distillers crafts the perfect vodka.


Prodigious Powder March 28, 2011

Filed under: Skiing — sarahallen24 @ 10:56 pm
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Note: we’re using the word ‘prodigious’ now rather than ‘epic.’ It’s a grassroots effort.

Yesterday was indeed a prodigious powder day at Aspen Highlands. 3,000 vertical feet of terrain with a foot of fresh snow certainly earns the prodigious title. Emily, Ann and I planned to ski as many laps as possible in Highlands Bowl. I predicted that would be a whopping two laps for me because I never really go hiking for turns. Also, I’ve had just a handful of actual full days of skiing this season. A great thing about working at a ski resort is that you get to ski often, however it’s three runs at a time. So my endurance is…well…not very enduring.

On the hike

Thankfully Ann knows all the good stashes and our first run looked like this…

And our next run looked like this…

And the next run? Yep, light and fluffy!

All together I made three laps in the bowl and realized my need for some endurance training. At least I surpassed my prediction!

 It was such a blast to ski terrain that’s longer and steeper than my usual. Here’s Ann about to drop into our last run.

With my legs wobbling we closed out the bowl and headed down for a relaxing/self-medicating margarita. It may be one of my last full days of skiing for the season and it was a great one!