snowflake

Frasier Hill Adventure

A few years ago we went to Frasier Hill, up in Winter Park, and we discovered that inner-tubing can be a lot of fun, especially down a huge hill that's icy with packed snow and actual rope lifts to do the hard part of hauling oneself and the tube back up the hill.

John planned it in detail. The battle plan included going the night before, getting to Fraiser Hill by 10 am, when the place opened, tubing as much as we could before the skiers quit skiing, and then going home once we were completely exhausted.



We left as soon as Jet got home from school, and did the Friday night drive through Boulder and then up into the mountains over Golden. We stopped at a cafe along the way and had a solid dinner. Jet had grilled cheese with bacon, John got chile rellenos, and I managed to have fried chicken drizzled with honey and mashed potatoes with gravy. We then drove the rest of the way to Winter Park in the dark.

Jet has had a sudden and complete liking for Monty Python's Holy Grail and he giggled his way through the Black Knight. He still doesn't much like the Killer Rabbit, but a lot of the other things he really enjoyed. He's also reading the second Oz book, and enjoying it nearly as much as the first one.

I mostly slept on the way there, and on the way back. *laughs*

Bunk Beds
And on that first night we actually went past Fraiser and ended up at Snowy Mountain Ranch. It's a YMCA facility, with lots of lodging, plenty of things to do, and a whole Nordic track all around the site We arrived in the dead of night and found out that there was four bars of reception for our cell phones, which is far better than what we even have at home.

That was pretty funny.

The big lodge was good and warm and the rooms big enough to sleep six, with two sets of double bunk beds and one queen sized bed. The rooms were cozy and warm and well-lighted, and we had a great time just setting up shop and playing Monty Python Fluxx until it was bed time.

Snowy Mountain
I actually slept pretty good for being at altitude in a dry, well-heated hotel room, and was up by 8 am to take advantage of the breakfast that came with the room, there was a nice buffet with plenty of fruit and a pot of Cream of Wheat, which I haven't had for years next to a pan of Cinnamon roasted apples. That made for a good breakfast, and I enjoyed it along with the view out the windows. Snow Mountain is the center piece for the ranch, but the mountain is covered with beetle-killed pines. There's an infestation out here that's killing most of the mature pine trees, and leaving a bunch of kindling dry wood.

The live wood out here is drier than most kiln dried wood in the rest of the world. So seeing the mountain like that was kind of foreboding. Still, the aspens are starting to move into the kill zones, and a lot of the dead wood can be taken for paper, firewood, and other things that aren't structural.

After breakfast we went to the room and packed up to go. There was supposed to be a sledding hill that we could use as part of the price of the room, and we went to go find it. It turned out that there was a Nordic race on the Ranch that day, and they were taking the whole area that usually had the sledding. The parking director didn't even allow us to park where the hill was, so we decided to not worry about it, and drove around the Ranch just to see what was there.

View from the camp
There were cabins, mountains, a putt-putt golf course, a swimming pool, archery range, and various yurts, camping areas and more lodges, cafeterias, and a whole equestrian area complete with hayrides, sleigh rides, and wagons. There was a lot there, and probably more available in the summer as well.

John's been thinking about having a family reunion out here in the Rockies during the "off" season of the summer, when folks aren't thinking of coming here for the skiing. It's kind of cool, and the facilities are very nice, and probably less expensive in the summer than in the winter. Though we don't exactly know. There's are just so many things offered as well, and the common areas would be nice for the whole of his family and all his cousins.

From there we headed back to Frasier Hill. We'd been here back when Jet was much smaller and had to ride on one of us to be in a tube at all. So we only went on the "easy" lift on the lower side of the hill, where you had to sit in the tube in order to get towed. They only opened the more dangerous "Fuzzy" lift when they had enough people. The Fuzzy lift didn't allow doubles, either, and was a "on your stomach" only lift, as the cable was far lower and they didn't want people's heads to be tangled up in the mess.



We didn't get too tangled up. *laughs* We got ninety minutes of tubing in and going down that lovely, tremendously icy and bumpy slope was great fun, and then we'd drag the tubes to the lifts, help the operators get them attached, and then ride the tube up. Then we'd go down again. Over and over and in ones as well as threes and using the handles to the tube to attach ourselves.

When we started there were nearly no people, and certainly no wait at the bottom of the lifts. By the time we were done, there were no more tubes in the shack at all, and there was an hour-long wait for the people that arrived wondering when they could tube. Best of all, when we left, the lift lines were long enough to make Jet frustrated with having to stand longer than slide.

So John's plan to get there as soon as it opened had worked and produced the benefits we wanted, i.e. tubing until we dropped. *laughs* There was one point when Jet was slogging along and the safety guy at the bottom of the hill laughed and asked if we'd worn him out. "Not yet!" Jet said, and started walking faster again.

It was fun and exhausting in all the good ways, and going at it for ninety minutes straight was wonderful, but we were all ready to turn our tubes in when it was time.

We went into Winter Park proper for our lunch, found at a smoke house in the middle of the ritziest of shopping areas, but it was good food and plenty of it, and John and Jet chowed down on ribs while I had a pulled pork sandwich that was tender, juicy, and covered in coleslaw the way I like it and waffle fries on the side.

Completely stuffed with food, it was no surprise that I fell asleep on the way down the mountain.

Woke up when we stopped to see if Jet's hexbugs were at the restaurant we stopped at on the way up, but there was no sign of them. Jet said that he'd put them into his pockets, the pockets of his shorts, but he couldn't find them when we searched the hotel room and every pocket he had. So Jet was kind of saddened to think about having lost all his hexbugs.

Luckily, when we did reach home, he found them in a pocket of the oft-maligned shorts. So he had them all along. That was nice, as it was his whole set of bugs.

Once home we unpacked, got things put away, and relaxed. I was sore all over, though ibuprofen was very useful for all of that. Dinner wasn't much more than miso soup for me, and a big plate of buttered spaghetti for Jet. Simple fare that fit well after all the eating we'd done earlier.

So we're happy and home, and the whole thing was a lovely adventure.
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