Mountain #6 of #EpicRace -- Beaver Creek

Friday, November 29, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving (a day late)! We hope everyone had a fantastic day! We spent the day with Jess' parents, Peggy and Paul, and brother, Jon, at Beaver Creek checking off Mountain #6 in our #EpicRace challenge. The snow was great and it was another beautiful blue sky day! We had a blast zipping around the mountain with no lines, hardly any people, and only losing Jon once. We of course had to visit the mountain top Nordic Center for Dave to get his "Nordic" fill in for the day. My parents also surprised us with a new GoPro as an early Christmas present, so we had try it out! Unfortunately none of the videos turned out very interesting as I need to learn to ski closer to people and things versus just cruising down the middle of the run.

Once we finished skiing, it was back to Vail to quickly shower and start making the Thanksgiving classic, Green Bean Casserole for our big extended family dinner. If you're in need of a delicious recipe, I highly recommend this recipe from 100 Days of Real Food. It turned out amazing and was really easy to make, and didn't rely on any processed food from a can! We were also able to make it gluten free pretty easily so the whole family could enjoy it.

Okay, on to the requirements we checked off for the photo/video challenge at Beaver Creek.

1) Feel what it's like to be a World Class Female Racer -- Capture a photo at the start of the Women's Downhill Course.

At the top of the Raptor (Women's) Downhill Course.

2) Take in the Gore Range -- Capture a photo/video at the top of Chair #6 looking North-East at the Gore Range.

3) Visit America's only mountain top Nordic center -- Capture a photo/video at the entrance to McCoy Park. 

And that's all for us from Beaver Creek! Happy Thanksgiving!

Mountain #5 of #EpicRace -- Breckenridge

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Busy day of work!
Well today was our first true, pure blue sky day and it was actually quite warm! We headed to Breckenridge for mountain #5 of our #EpicRace adventure, and what an adventure it was! When we arrived we were bummed to find the only free parking lot was WAY at the end of town and you'd have to wait for a shuttle. Instead we decided to be big spenders and pay the $5 to park right at the Gondola instead.

What a long Gondola ride! It has 2 stops before you reach the base village of the mountain! The lifts at the base were somewhat crowded, so we quickly made our way over to a lift that was completely empty and allowed for very long runs. We did a couple laps there before exploring more of the mountain. The snow was quite good and we even found some powder! Dave even managed to take some quick breaks to handle some work emails in between the runs. It was another fun day on this crazy ski tour of a honeymoon!

For the photo/video challenge at Breckenridge, we decided to complete the following items:

1) On/around the Gold Runner Coaster on Peak 8

2) In front of Ski Hill Grill on Peak 8

3) At the viewer's outlook on Ski Hill Road... and this is where things got interesting...


Credit to Dave for the awesome video editing! Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow! Hard to believe we only have 2 resorts left in Colorado before we head off again! Whooo!

Mountain #4 of #EpicRace -- Eldora

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Today we decided to conquer Eldora as we continue our #EpicRace challenge in Colorado.  It was about a 2 hour drive to the ski hill from Vail, however, it's a fairly short drive from Denver/Boulder. You can even see the plains of Colorado from the hill which was kind of a cool view and reminded me of skiing Heavenly and looking into the Carson Valley. The weather was awesome with our first blue sky day of the trip. It was a pretty quiet day on the mountain with only one lift running, 2 runs open and a wide open parking lot, but the snow was actually really great! We had a blast zipping down the slopes run after run, but quickly ran out of new terrain to try.

For this photo/video challenge at Eldora, we decided to complete the following items:

1) Indian Peaks Lodge

2) Jolly Jug (It's the name of a run that unfortunately wasn't open. Actually none of the runs for a check-in were open so we used the sign instead.)

3) Nordic Center (We're working on stepping up our video editing game a bit... let us know which version you like more by leaving a comment!)

Jess' Video

Dave's Video

All in all, it was another great morning on the slopes! 3 Colorado resorts down, 3 more to go before we head off to Park City, Utah!

Mountain #3 of #EpicRace -- Keystone

Monday, November 25, 2013

We started our 2nd day in Colorado by heading to Keystone Resort and checking out their slopes for the day. The Village looks so cute and I would love to have more time to explore the next time we come back. I also loved that they had little wagons to help carry all of your skis/gear to the slopes from the parking lot. I saw so many families with little kids piled in the wagons with all the skis -- what an easy way to get kids in ski boots from point A to point B without it taking hours! We decided to get all of our checkpoints done first so we were "free" for the rest of the day so we could hang out with Eric from the Vail Resorts video team and Kaylin Richardson, 2x Olympic athlete!

Kaylin is our age and competed in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin as well as the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. She's also had several US National Championships and competed in the World Cup. Kaylin's competed and held titles in the Downhill, Slalom, and Combined. Her current "home" mountain is The Canyons in Park City, Utah which Dave and I are excited to ski on Saturday. She's even in the Warren Miller films "Flow State" and "Ticket to Ride." To say she's an amazing skier is an understatement.

We met Kaylin and Eric at the top of the River Run Gondola for some filming for a new episode of the EpicRace video series. Both Kaylin and Eric were really nice and fun to hang out with. Plus, skiing with a professional skier definitely makes you ski faster and better than you normally do! Getting to ski with Kaylin was definitely one of the highlights of the EpicRace so far. We skied with them for about 2 hours while we shot some footage of us all skiing and we did an interview sitting in the snow. We had an absolute blast and can't wait to meet up with them again along the way. Hopefully we can show them around our home mountain of Heavenly when we get back to Tahoe!

Just another day of filming in the snow!

On to the actual requirements of the race... For the photo/video challenge at Keystone, I decided to complete the following items.  Dave and I did our own today to save a bit of time transferring files back and forth between our phones to get the items uploaded before we met up with Eric and Kaylin.

1) Take a photo/video that has one of Keystone's two gondolas (River Run or Outpost) in the background.

Outpost Gondola in the background.
2) Enjoy the sights and sounds of Keystone from the Keytop Overlook Deck on Dercum Mountain.

3) Head to the top of Mozart Trail and take a photo/video with North Peak in the backdrop.

Once again, another resort I can't wait to come back and really explore.  We're trying to pace ourselves since we have 9 straight days of skiing and don't want to burn out by overdoing it just yet. So for now, just hitting up half days so we can work in the afternoon, and making mental notes of all the places I can't wait to come back to in January!

Mountain #2 of #EpicRace -- Arapahoe Basin

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Today we decided to kick off our week of Colorado skiing at Arapahoe Basin.  It was our first day of the season on skis and the 2nd mountain of the race. Because of the elevation of the resort, the snow was actually quite nice! They've actually been open for a month already! A-Basin is still "old school" and you have to actually pull your pass out to have it scanned instead of the fancy RFID tag readers so unfortunately we didn't have any vertical feet logged today in our EpicMix.  A-Basin was completely socked in with clouds and the light was really flat so there wasn't much to see, but I would LOVE to come back on a clear blue sky day as I'm sure the view of the Continental Divide would be pretty spectacular.

For the photo/video challenge at Arapahoe Basin, we decided to complete the following items:

1) The deck of Snow Plume Refuge and Patrol Headquarters.

2) Anywhere along the Cornice Run towards the East Wall.

3) Standing on the Black Mountain Lodge deck under the Continental Divide.

There was such a gorgeous view even with the clouds, I can only imagine how stunning it is on a clear day! We'll definitely be back!

Before we left, we tried to visit one more stop on the list -- the new 6th Alley Bar & Grille.  As you can see, that didn't quite work out!

It was a fun day exploring a new resort and the snow was way better than we were expecting! Nice to stretch our ski legs a bit as well!  Looking forward to exploring a new resort tomorrow!

Tahoe to Colorado

It was a long day of driving yesterday as we headed from Tahoe to Vail, Colorado.  We drove Hwy 50, the "Loneliest Highway" and it sure does live up to it's name.  We encountered pretty much every type of weather possible, from sun, wind, snow, whiteouts, fog, and pouring rain.  Luckily it was uneventful though and took us exactly 14 hours to make the trip. Plus Dave was a trooper and drove the entire time while I stayed awake (except for a quick 20min nap) and kept him company.

We kept ourselves busy by Googling some of the following items:

* How long would it take via train to get from Reno to Denver?  -- Answer: 25+ hours

* What is the US Navy Centroid Facility? -- Answer: Still unknown... not much on google about this.

* Is this a new wind farm off Hwy 50? -- Answer: Yes, the Spring Valley Wind Farm was not there when we last drove this route 2 years ago.

We also learned a very important lesson about having enough music actually loaded on to our phones to "survive" the periods without cell service.  We're so used to just streaming our music or listening to internet radio that when we hit a dead spot for service, and there were quite a few of them, we were left with a very quiet car. Or, if we were able to find a radio station that came in, we'd give that a listen and learned quite a bit about gardening from a 2hr Garden Show on an AM station.

We were greeted in Vail with some homemade tortilla soup courtesy of my awesome mom, Peggy.  Nothing quite like having a hot home cooked meal after a long day of driving!

Here are some photos of the scenery along the drive. Even though Hwy 50 is so remote and lonely, it does have some pretty stunning views where you can see for miles and miles...


More fun news...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

In fun news this morning, Episode #1 of the Epic Race video series with Olympian Kaylin Richardson came out yesterday, and it features yours truly! We did the interview over Skype earlier in the week and are hoping to meet up with the video team in person at some point along the way.  Enjoy!

Day 1 of #EpicRace -- Northstar

Friday, November 22, 2013

Well Day 1 is finally checked off our list! Even though we weren't able to ski any of the Tahoe resorts just yet since they're all still currently closed due to lack of snow or wind, we still had a great first day.  We headed up to Northstar Resort since they had some fun and easily accessible to-do items on the official photo/video checklist including:

1) Taste any of the six signature Bloody Mary's at one of Northstar's six signature dining locations including Tavern 6330'. 

This task was awesome.  We had a delicious lunch (thanks Velma!) and even met up with some other competitors including a pair from Denver and a group from Hawaii! It is really fun getting to meet all of the other racers and hear their stories as well.

2) Enjoy s'mores at 3pm by the ice rink in the Village at Northstar while you warm up by the fire. 

How did they know that one of my (Jess') FAVORITE things are s'mores!? Lots of fun and tasty too!

3) Go Ice Staking in the Village at Northstar at the idyllic 9,000-square-foot ice rink.

After the effects of the Bloody Marys sinking in, we were quick to say "let's do it!" and get out on the ice, despite the risk of falling.  Luckily we survived without incident and had a great time zipping around the ice for a bit.

And with that, Day 1 of the #EpicRace is officially complete!

An early start...

We had a bit of an early start this morning and were at the Heavenly Gondola at 6:30am for an interview with KRNV Channel 4 News in Reno, and their reporter Alyx Sacks.  It's so exciting and fun to get to participate in all of these interviews as part of the race!  Here is a link to our segment that aired live this morning.
Here's a link to the article where we're mentioned as well.
Unfortunately, as luck would have it, Heavenly was unable to open today due to extremely high winds and with both Kirkwood and Northstar closed as well, that means no skiing for us today.  However, due to the change in rules yesterday, we can still check off one of the mountains and their photo/video challenge.  So we're off to Northstar to explore the village and do a little ice skating hopefully! :)


Thursday, November 21, 2013

The last 24 hours have certainly been interesting as we've made some changes to our travel schedule in preparation for the Epic Race to begin tomorrow.  With both Northstar and Kirkwood deciding to delay their openings, we quickly rearranged our schedule to drive out to Colorado tomorrow to ski those resorts first. Today was very busy doing laundry, cleaning, catching up on some work, and laying out all our gear to pack in preparation for the trip.

Then we received an email from Vail Resorts this afternoon, updating us on the race a bit with this awesome little treat...

"And, new as of today: EVERY racer who officially finishes all 26 mountains and the race requirements by the end of this season, will get a FREE Epic Pass from Vail Resorts for the 2014-2015 season!"

Yay! Such a cool addition to the race! On another note, they also changed the rules a bit to account for the delayed openings as well as potential weather delays by allowing racers to still get their passes scanned and complete the photo/video requirements around the base of the resorts.  While we totally understand why this was added in, we've decided that we want to do our very best to actually ski every resort vs. just completing it to check it off our list.  It's all about the experience for us and we want to enjoy it to the fullest extent.

Heavenly is still scheduled to open tomorrow though and we were asked to be interviewed for a news station in Sacramento first thing in the morning! We couldn't say no to that, so we're delaying our drive to Colorado by one day. The news station will be doing a live remote covering opening day and our interview time is bright and early at 6:30am at the Gondola.  Hopefully we'll be able to find a link to the segment on YouTube so we can share it with everyone.

Fingers crossed Heavenly doesn't get stuck on a wind-hold tomorrow -- it is SUPER windy tonight.

P.S. --  Thank you for all of your support! We really appreciate hearing from not only our friends and family, but also from all of the people following along on Twitter and the Facebook page. It means a lot to us as we set out on this crazy journey!

Never a dull moment...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Just when we thought we had everything planned out to start this race here in Tahoe on Friday, Mother Nature decided she had a different idea.  Unfortunately, Tahoe does not have quite enough snow and the most recent front that's moved through has not been dropping the amount of snow the resorts need.  As a result, Northstar has decided to postpone it's opening date and Kirkwood is on the fence about opening.  This kind of put a bit of a kink in our plans but nothing a little reorganizing can't fix!

We're determined not to lose any time competing in this race, so we're going to pack up and drive straight to Colorado on Friday and ski all 6 resorts out there next week -- a week earlier than planned.  Then we'll make our way back to Tahoe via The Canyons in Park City and hit the Tahoe resorts when we return. Hopefully by then Northstar will be open!  This should make for 10 straight days of skiing with 28 hrs round trip of driving back and forth from Tahoe to Colorado. Whew!

With this new plan though, we should (if everything goes right) have approx. 5 days back at home in Tahoe before heading to the Midwest and then Europe.  Will be nice to have a bit of a break in the middle of the traveling to help break it up a bit.

We'll keep you updated as we go! In the meantime, make sure to subscribe to the blog with your email address or follow along using your Google+! You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram :)


Thursday, November 14, 2013

1 week from tomorrow, the #EpicRace begins, and we cannot wait! We're also excited that our entries seem to have caught the attention of the folks at corporate and hopefully they will follow our story. Here's a link to the first press release -- in case you can't tell, we're #8 on that list. :)

Time to get all our gear in order!

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