[Dec 2012 - Jan 2013] It was time to turn cold weather into winter fun in December 2012 as three couples braved the snow and headed to bustling Steamboat, Colorado where we would ring in the new year donning ski boots and scarves. We met up in Denver and drove our rental minivan through the gorgeous mountains toward Steamboat where our friend Meghan and her family have a condo nestled in the snow. This condo did the trick… offering a mere walk down a picturesque hill to the main chair lifts which bring some of the best skiing in the U.S. Our sunset drive offered great views and we were happy to find home, check out the digs, and play some couples Scattergories with a couple beers before getting some rest for the big day ahead.
The next day was spent getting our gear and heading up the massive slopes. Our group of six [Meghan, Jack, Molly, Joe, Tom and myself] spent this crisp, sunny day taking in the views as we skied blissfully down the hundreds of runs on this freshly-powdered paradise. Sweating through our jackets after hours of joy, we found respite at the local pub at the bottom of the mountain, sipping much-deserved pitchers of cold Colorado brew. Back at the condo, we defrosted in sweats and enjoyed a homemade pasta meal before dipping our chilled bodies in the outdoor hot tub and drinking the night away.
Day two of skiing wasn’t unlike the first, except our sunny air was replaced with mountain fog and falling flurries. We carried on nonetheless and enjoyed the backside of this glorious mountain, finding our niche in hidden runs and beautiful tree-lined paths.
Later that night we fancied up for the big night out on the town… it was New Year’s Eve! We rode the convenient bus downtown and ate seafood and burgers at a local spot before heading to the bar scene sporting festive hats and crowns. Arriving early, we scored a long table right off the dance floor and proceeded to order the infamous beer towers standing several feet high. Now this was our kind of place! Tower after tower disappeared into our thirsty bellies and our dance moves progressed accordingly. Before we knew it the countdown was on… We kissed our chapped lips and welcomed 2013 in an excited state of delight. Soon, confetti and streamers covered the place as we caused quite the raucous and moved on to the next bar. In the wee hours of the morning, we rode the bus packed with fellow NYE revelers back to our sleepy home.
Day three was planned around our inevitable hangovers… so flying down an unforgiving mountain at lofty speeds with two skinny planks attached to our feet was thankfully not part of the plan. Instead, the plan was relaxation at a beautiful oasis in the mountains. That oasis is the unforgettable Strawberry Park Hot Springs, a plethora of natural hot springs tucked deep into the forested mountain. A long winding drive up the narrow pathway was met with entry to this hangover cure as we traded coats for bikinis and tested the various temperatures in the many pools. Surrounded by the unmatched beauty of tall evergreens blanketed in glistening white snow, we relaxed in the perfectly soothing water in a state of serenity. I could have stayed for hours, but as our skin became pruned we changed back and headed home to a lovely sunset walk around the village and endless games of catchphrase before heading out to a Mexican feast at the base of the mountain.
Our final full day was another of perfect sunny weather high in the mountains. This day was probably our best skiing yet… we found amazing untouched trails and challenged the fresh powdery slopes of every size. We couldn’t get enough! We reenergized with a beer and hot cocoa break in the gorgeous mountaintop cabin lodge and enjoyed our last few hours of skiing before returning our gear and heading to the nightly ritual of the hot tub. Our last night we enjoyed one last dinner downtown and did a little barhopping to celebrate such a successful trip.