Sunday, January 25, 2015

Winter adventures in Colorado

After their three weeks in New Zealand I travelled back with our nieces to the US, which gave me the perfect excuse to go and visit Gill in Colorado and meet my god daughter Mallory who is already 18 months old. Aaron and I had previously been to visit Gill in the summer of 2012 and had some great summer adventures with Gill and William (who was then 12 months) and Gill's dogs - Reka, Maxx and Sacha. So while Aaron has been riding his bike in Rotorua I have been having some winter adventures in Colorado. Despite a little jet lag, getting used to the altitude and a short lived stomach flu, we have been out downhill skiing at A-Basin, dog sledding, and sledging with the kids.

Gill's house in a winter wonderland

We were lucky enough to get some fresh snow the night before skiing and got some lovely powder to ski in. Unfortunately the altitude got to me in the mid afternoon and I was struggling to breathe. But it was great to get my ski legs back and get some nice runs in on relatively empty slopes, with no lift queues. Only one tumble in the soft powder when the light was a little flat and there were some hidden bumps underneath...

Gill at the top of A-basin ready for a run down in the powder

Helen coming back down

Dog sledding
Gill now has 5 dogs - Reka, Maxx, Sacha, Meg and Maya. Normally they just pull Gill along on her own, but they have been doing a lot of training for an upcoming race and they managed to pull 2 (well 3 of us) of us on the sled up a gentle hill and then back again in a couple of hours. A total of 9 miles - great weight training for their 10 mile race!

Gill was even brave enough to let me drive the sled a couple of times. There were some fast moments when we started off, but the rest of the time it was pretty steady with a bit of help pushing/scootering the sled up some of the hilly sections. You had to be on your toes in case of the dogs needing to stop or them seeing a squirrel and taking off to chase it. Fortunately Meg is a very good lead dog and you don't have to steer very much - just leaning the sled to make sure it follows the dogs around the corners, which were pretty gradual on this particular track.

The view from sitting on the sled - you can just see my boot toes at the bottom of the photo

Turn around point. Gill with her team - Meg at the front, Maya and Sacha next and Reka and Maxx closest to the sled.

William and Mallory have been really enjoying sledging so they have been out a couple of times this week to play. Mallory even went by herself for the first time today and then refused to get out of the sledge as she was having so much fun. I'm sure there will be a lot more sledging and will give her something to do while William is learning to ski this winter.

William and Mallory in the sledge

Hopefully we will get some more skiing and dog sledding and plenty more sledging, playing and relaxing next week before I have to leave this winter wonderland. Thanks for looking after me so well Gill!

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