Breckenridge

Breckenridge

It has become a bit of a tradition for us to go skiing over New Years. For 2018, we planned another road trip to Taos but, unfortunately for us and Taos, they barely got enough snow to open a major run. Considering the 11 hour drive time, hotel, ski rentals, and lift tickets, the hike to Taos was simply not worth the effort for one ski run. But of course, we couldn’t go without our ski trip, so we decided to look else where for snow! We began our search in Colorado and, after pro-con-pro-ing Vail, Beaver Creak, Copper Mountain, and a few other locations, we landed on Breckenridge.

We loved the ski-in / ski-out resort luxury that we had in Snowbird, Utah (I mean, who really wants to lug their equipment all over town) so we tried to narrow our hotel search to those close to the slopes. We found the Beaver Run Resort at the base of one of Breckenridge’s ski lifts. It was ski in / out, had hot tubs all along the runs for after-ski relaxation, looked great, and the price was right, so we booked it!

The flight from DFW to Denver was a little over 2.5 hours. We had bulk head seats so Ryan could stretch out his 6’2 legs, and we were feeling pretty good after some wine and a light dinner at Vino Volo in the airport. I have to say, airport food is getting much better and Vino Volos goat cheese, chicken salad is definitely a winner!

We landed in Denver around 8 PM and hopped on the Summit Express shuttle for the 2 hour drive to our resort. The shuttle was warm (thank gosh!), and we stopped at a gas station half way through to grab some snacks and energy drinks before we got to the resort since they were $5 on property! We always bring some Quest Bars for a mid-ski day snack too, so hitting a store before reaching the resort was a must. Highly recommend!

The shuttle took exactly 2 hours and our driver, Charlie, was super nice. I have to say, Breckenridge at night is gorgeous with all of the snow and twinkle light covered pine trees! The Beaver Run Resort had a bunch of glittering pines to greet us as we pulled up. We were exhausted and quickly checked in to head up to our room. At first, I was a little nervous about the room since the bed room was super cramped upon entry, but then I saw that we had a massive tub area, mini-kitchen, and huge living room. In the morning, we opened the blinds to uncover a beautiful view of the slopes / ski-lift. Total win on our part!

After an early wake up, we walked to the Coppertop Café and got some to-go breakfast tacos to enjoy by the fireplace. It was such a relaxing way to start the day.

Breakfast tacos in Breckenridge, Colorado

We then set off to the rental shop to get our gear. Someone who was supposed to look / book this stuff in advance did not do their job prior to our trip … so at 12:05 AM I started looking up rental places and we found that the shop at our resort gave 15% off if you booked in advance. Apparently, I could still do so at 12:05 AM on the day of our rental-need, so we not only saved a bunch of money on rental gear, and it was ready and waiting for us when we walked into the ski shop. Travel tip: Always book in advance. The further in advance you book, the more you will most likely save too.

We were quickly fitted and ready to roll! The ski lift was right next to the rental place, so we were up and away in no time. We started with some green slopes and got our ski-legs back quickly. Breckenridge slopes are actually pretty easy. After 3 green trial runs, we were ready for some blues. Breckenridge is a series of 5 peaks and you can ski from peak to peak, using the various runs to travel wherever you want to go. Our hotel was at Peak 9 on the far left side of the mountain, but we found that our favorite blues were on Peak 8 and Peak 7.

We skied until around 10:30 and went to one of the base run restaurants for some water and Quest Bars. The key to a good ski session (not to mentioned feeling at all OK on the mountain) is hydration. Breckenridge had hydration stations all over the place so we drank lots and lots of water.

The Beaver Run Resort in Breckenridge, Colorado
The Beaver Run Resort in Breckenridge, Colorado

We took back to the mountain for another hour and a half before getting peckish again. This time, we went to the restaurant at base 8 called Vista Haus.  The food looked great and Ryan and I decided to share a pizza. On a cold day when you are burning tons of calories, a warm, cheesy pizza really does the trick! We had quite the company while enjoying our pizza as well. The 4 people next to us were all part of a 70-year-old plus ski group! The oldest member of their clan was 96! Can you believe that? They travel the world together skiing and we had quite a conversation with a NYC couple who were gushing with stories of their 50+ years of worldly ski adventures. Talk about relationship goals!

After saying goodbye to our new friends, we took off to the slopes for a few more hours. We were actually pretty happy with our runs. Skiing is really all about confidence. As soon as you start to lose that, you are bound for a yard sale!

Skiing in Breckenridge, Colorado

Our legs were starting to give out on us so we made our way, slope by slope, lift by lift, back to Beaver Run. We were totally pooped. It’s one thing when Ryan needs a nap for recovery, and totally different when I need one too – I am usually the energizer bunny! We slept until 5ish and got ready to explore Breckenridge’s town. Another perk of the Beaver Run Resort is that they have a free shuttle system with over 20 pick up locations all over town. We called down for a shuttle and one arrived to take us in no time. Little did we know, town was only .04 miles away so we totally could have walked it!

We heard about the yearly snow sculpting competition and had to check it out. We walked down Main Street until we saw the various counties participants flags – it was so cool! The statues were massive and each country had a different theme that their sculpture was trying to portray. Just the detail alone was incredible. The sculptures had to be done by the next day, so they were busy at work finishing their master pieces.

Ryan’s favorite was China’s work which was a monkeys face with a hand holding an apple coming out of the snow. I have no idea how much architectural planning went into that piece as all of the legs had to hold the heavy monkey’s head in place. The detail on the face and fingers was pretty incredible as well!

About half way through our trek, I saw a hot coco stand with do-your-own toppings and just had to get some! There is nothing like hot coco to warm up your hands and soul on a cold day!

We finished up the show and decided to walk main street and explore the shops. There were tons of cute boutiques, Colorado souvenir shops, restaurants, and knick-knack places. Ryan bought a new beanie and we couldn’t say no when we passed the Mountain Top Cookie Shop. We got the cookie dough, cookie sandwich and a toffee cream sandwich to save for an after-dinner snack. Yummmmmm!

Eventually, we got hungry and wandered around to various menus until we came to Flipside. It had a very cool vibe and even better burger-aroma when you walked in. The burgers on the menu all sounded divine and I ended up with the Red Door burger that had brie and bacon fig jam with truffle fries and a glass of red wine. What a great dinner!

Behind Flipside was a little grocery and liquor store. Ryan wanted to get lunch / breakfast stuff since we had a kitchen at the resort and I was all in, until I realized they didn’t have or were out of a bunch of things we had in mind. Ryan ended up getting strawberry toaster strudel, raisins, and Gatorade and I decided to stick with the resort’s breakfast tacos. (If you know me, I cannot resists tacos in general, so that is always my go-to option!). With bags in hand, walked back to the resort. It was a short walk and, at our usual elevation / incline, would have been a breeze, but it was steep and we basically almost died huffing and puffing back up!

To cap off the night, we decided to hit up the outdoor jacuzzi by the slopes. It was surrounded by snow-capped pine trees and we had the giant hot tub all to our selves – very romantic! We relaxed in there for a or so before freezing our way back inside and warming by the fireplace.

We got back to the room, took a warm shower, and decided to share my chocolate chip cookie dough sandwich as a night-cap before heading to sleep.

Breckenridge Day 2 –

We gave ourselves a little later wake up this morning at 8 AM. All we had to do to get on the slopes was walk downstairs to grab our gear and then another 10 feet to the door! Waking up was made so much easier since it was snowing too! We got ready in not time and ate the strawberry toaster strudel that Ryan bought us for breakfast the night before. We grabbed our boots and our skis and were on the slopes by 8:30.

My legs were pretty shot from the day before. Knowing that skiing is all about confidence, I tried to “positive self talk” my way down the mountain, but all of the fresh snow made skiing a little more tricky.

There were some blue runs on the far left side of the mountain, so we made our way over there one lift up, and strategic run down to the next lift. We ended up skiing around slopes 6 and 7 for a few hours, even accidentally trying a blue run that should have been label a black!

Even with all of the squats and lunges I did in preparation, my legs were dying and my skiing was getting a bit sloppy. We decided to head back to the hotel, one slope at a time, and I ended up catching my ski on something, got turned around, skied backwards for a few seconds, falling on my back, and hitting my head hard enough to hear a crack in my helmet. Thank gosh I was wearing one! I was so winded and it took all I had to raise my hand up to alter Ryan that I wasn’t dead! Thankfully, I was ok and was able to ski back to the resort, but I knew I was going to be sore and needed a good deep tissue massage ASAP!

After another dip in the hot tubs and a freshening up, we headed back down to the ski town to check out the final results of the snow sculpture competition. It was amazing to see the transformation of some of the finished work and sad to see some of the others that didn’t hold up over the final night of creation! The ballet one we loved the day before didn’t make it – the before and after is below:

After the sculptures, we decided to grab some wine and charcuterie at an adorable little shop, and then we headed to the Blue Stag Saloon for some delicious smoked salmon dip and venison pot pie.

 

Breckenridge Day 3 –

Our last day on the slopes was amazing. While the sun was out, it was only 9 degrees, but we had lots of great slopes and our bodies are ready for a full day! While my epic wipe out gave me some serious whiplash, I was cruising down the slopes with ease.

We decided to stay on slope 9 which closest to our hotel since we had not attempted those runs yet. There was one particular blue run at the very top of the mountain that looked like it would be the perfect long run to cap off our ski day. On the map, the first part of the blue mirrored a black and looked pretty steep, but we foolishly said it wouldn’t be tough! The joke was on us! We got to the top and our blue run was the only blue around – but it was literally three separate levels of long moguls and we were not mogul people! The reason I say “were” was because we somehow made it down with only one minor fall! We were so proud of ourselves and the picture below does not do the steepness of the slope justice.

 

We made it down the moguls on peak 9 in Breckenridge, Colorado

Talk about a great way to end our ski trip!

After we returned our rental gear, we hit the spa for one last time. We had our own private hot tub and it felt great against our sore muscles while we watched people ski down the slopes.

After the hot tub, we walked down to town and found the perfect dinner spot – a Vietnamese pho place. I swear, pho soup on a cold day can relieve any stress cure any illness (*note I am not a physician so it probably wont do anything but warm your soul and taste delicious!).

Breckenridge, Day 4 – 

Today was “D-day” aka departure day. We had a few hours before the Summit Express shuttle was picking us up and, with the state of my whip-lashed neck, a deep tissue massage was all we needed. We made an appointment for a couples massage at Simply Massage, just a quick walk from the resort, and had one of the best massages of our lives. Not only was the place decorated like something I would Pinterest for our apartment, the staff was great and very knowledgeable. My masseuse gauged my neck’s range of motion before the massage and knew just where to apply pressure. I felt a million times better afterwards. I highly recommend their services and they are much cheaper than the $150 massages on resort property.

After our massage, we went back to the hotel, got picked up, spent 3 hours on the shuttle to the airport, and were up and away back to Texas.

Breckenridge, Colorado

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Taos Day 3

2017 arrived with excitement as we looked forward to our final day of skiing. After another early breakfast and drive to Taos Ski Valley, we hit the basically empty ski slopes as the other skiers (presumably) were recovering from their NYE festivities. Not only were the slopes empty, but they were full of fresh snow from the storm that started the night prior and lingered into the morning. Thank gosh for that fresh snow – it felt like a pillow as I crash landed from my new ski confidence’s drive to try a jump or two. Day three was much more about having fun and play around more than anything else. We even tried a black slope and didn’t die!

We took a few snack and water breaks throughout the day, and eventually called it quits around 2. I couldn’t believe out ski time in Taos went by so quickly! I was so sad to return my gear to Cottam’s Ski Shop, since it meant we were done for this trip, but was still elated from the day’s runs.

There was a cute little town about half-way back to downtown Taos. We decided to make a pit stop and peruse some of the shops there. There was a pottery gallery with some amazing pieces that we stopped in. The girl working there was very nice and showed us the back room where the owner and some of the artists made the work shown in the gallery. In our typical tradition of buying art or something useful on our trips, instead a cheesy trinket that gets thrown in the “stuff pile”, we decided to buy some pottery from the gallery. We got a large serving bowl and two small bowls to match for a very reasonable price.

With our purchase in-hand and no walkable lunch places in sight, we jumped in the car to head to a Mexican restaurant called Orlando’s for a bite to eat. Orlando’s had been recommended to us by 4 -5 different people in the past few days and we quickly found out why. The resultant was well decorated, quick, friendly, and had great food. I had a tasty chicken taco salad and Ryan had a sampling of three types of enchiladas. We sat in front of the kitchen and watched the quick and efficient way the staff was pumping our orders – it was very impressive considering the small space that they were working in.

After lunch, we drove into town to the main square to walk the galleries and shops. The square was small and the garden area was packed with fences, trees, and tents that did not make it very attractive. The trees were lined with twinkle lights which were nice but the colors were random so it was not very clean-looking. We went into quite a few Taos-themed gift shops, galleries, and clothes places. It was hard not to compare the town square to that of Santa Fe’s which I preferred. Santa Fe’s square was cleaner, more planned out, and had many more unique stores organized around a square block so it was easy to find the next place to explore. Taos was more spread out and you had to walk down random alleyways to find new areas of shops to explore. Also, the restaurants and bars in Taos were spread along the main road in downtown, so there were not as many walkable options from the square. We explored for about an hour before deciding to go back to the hotel, hang out with Dakota, and power-nap before heading back out for the evening.

Everywhere I looked said that same thing – the best resultant in Taos is Love Apple. I tried get a reservation but Love Apple was totally booked Friday and Saturday night and only had 9:30 PM or waiting list spots on Sunday. Since we had a big late lunch, 9:30 PM didn’t sound so bad for dinner, so we decided to wait it out. After our nap, we went to the Taos Mesa Brewery’s tap room for a drink before dinner. It was about a mile up the road from our hotel and was in a really cool building with both indoor and outside seating. We sat at the bar and chatted with the bartenders about beer, football, and Taos skiing. The Taos Mesa Brewery was actually located a quick drive outside of Taos so we were at their downtown bar, but the quality of the beer was amazing. Ryan loved it so much he bought a growler of beer and it was so much cheaper than beer in Dallas.

Ryan was getting really hungry and kept hinting that he wanted the pizza at the brewery over going to Love Apple. Fortunately, I held off from succumbing to that temptation just long enough for Love Apple to call and tell us our table was ready an hour early! We quickly finished our drinks and drove over to the white pueblo styled building which housed Love Apple. We walked into a small entry way, through some dramatic curtains, past the kitchen, and into the dining room. Walking through the curtains, seeing the bustle of the kitchen, and then through another set of curtains into the candle lite dining room immediately put you into a romantic, secret garden, type of mood. The dining room itself was mainly lit by candle and twinkle lights which were further reflected by mirrors along the walls, setting the romantic mood in full swing. We sat at a little table and couldn’t help but know the meal to come was going to be an amazing experience.

We started our dinner with two flavors of cornbread muffins, traditional and blue corn. My were they fluffy, moist and delicious, especially with the two flavored butter options to spread across each delicious bite! Yum, yum, yum!

Up next was a pomegranate, walnut, and locally sourced goat cheese salad. The vinaigrette went perfectly with the other ingredients. The salad was the perfect size to split since we were already somewhat filed by the muffins.

As soon as our salads we done, our main entrées hit the table. Ryan swears that his trout was one of the best things he has even eaten – a very bold statement considering all of our culinary adventures, but I would have to agree that the meal was top-notch! I greatly enjoyed a perfectly cooked quail with feta and pomegranate quinoa. The quail was crispy, delicious, and the perfect size.

We were not originally going to splurge for desert, but considering the caliber of our meal so far and the fact that the apple cobbler sounded irresistible, we went all in. The cobbler had caramelized apple, a crispy and buttery crust, and was topped with cinnamon ice cream. My taste buds were in heaven and my stomach was about to burst, but it was worth every bite!

I highly recommend checking out Love Apple if you go to Taos. The only suggestion I would make is that you order your courses as each previous course comes out or ask your waiter to take it slow. Our food came out at very rapid rate, so we rushed through our dinner. Taking it slow will ensure you can relax and savor each course and make your fabulous night last a little longer.

Highly satisfied from dinner, we drove back to the Inn, lit the fire in our room, and listened to its crackle as we fell asleep.

 

Santa Fe, Day 2

Santa Fe, Day 2

The perks of going to bed at 9:30 PM definitely start with waking up early and refreshed the next morning. After a quick walk with the puppy, we hopped in the car, grabbed our Starbucks breakfast, and headed back to the slopes.

We were determined to attempt the blue runs at the very top of the mountain today, since those we did in the middle section of the mountain the day before were not too bad. After a few warm up green runs, we took the lift up to the top of the mountain! The view was out of this world. We started down the blue run and were a little intimidated by how it appeared as the slope totally dropped of into a super steep run! Upon getting closer to the edge though, the slop was wide, do-able, and absolutely exhilarating! Not to mention the view down the entire route was stellar!

Ski Santa Fe, New Mexico

One of the best things about Ski Santa Fe is the length of the runs. You can spend 20 minutes going down if you know the right routes which totally makes up for the long lift ride up! We spent the better part of the morning exploring the blue runs streaming down the top of the mountain and had an absolute blast. The mountain was basically empty to so no lines and having the runs to yourself cant be beat!

IMG_0793

We started our ski day right as the lifts opened and went down run after run until about 1 PM when we needed a food break. Instead of going to the little grill, we went back to the Prius, opened up the hatch back, and ate our Central Market snacks for lunch while taking in the view. Between the breeze, healthy food, the view, and the company – it was absolutely perfect. Reenergized and ready to go, we skied until about 3 PM before out legs started to give out and we needed to call it quits. We checked all of our gear and it started to snow! What a cool way to end the ski day!

The drive down the mountain is so serine and filled with hiking trails which we definitely need to explore in warmer weather on our next New Mexico visit. If I could, I would have had Ryan stop every 5 minutes for photos at the next amazing view, but we decided to just take it all in instead. While I would love to have more pictures of it, sometimes you have to put down your camera and soak it all in.

We got back to the room and Ryan needed a nap. I decided to do a little shopping and took off on foot around the Santa Fe square. It started to snow absolutely giant flakes and turned into a mini blizzard! I caught a few flakes on my tongue and couldn’t get enough of the snow fall and sat on our hotel’s porch watching it fall until Ryan was up and ready to go. We were going to walk down to the art galleries on Canyon road, but due to the snow, we went to the hotel’s highly acclaimed cocktail bar, the Secreto Lounge, for some amazing drinks before the 10 foot walk to our dinner destination – Tabla de Los Santos. After having so much Spanish food over the past few days, we wanted something more modern, and the menu at Tabla de Los Santos made our mouths water. Our celebratory dinner consisted of:

  • Crispy Quail – Buttermilk brined, green chile powder dusted & tempura fried, served over braised organic kale and bacon, local honey drizzle, green chile lemon aioli
  • Warm Goat Cheese Salad – Organic Farmer’s Market greens, toasted pinõn, grapefruit segments, grilled crostini’s, maple balsamic
    vinaigrette
  • Cassis Seared Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast – Butternut squash ravioli, fresh sage & pinõn cream sauce, oven dried tomatoes, sautéed
    baby spinach (This is what I had – I could eat it every day for years! Sooo yum!)
  • Lamb Chops – Orange & wild local honey, garlic mashed potatoes, strudel with spinach, mushroom, feta & oven dried tomato,lamb demi-glace,minted chimichurri.

After that dinner and a bottle of wine, we retired upstairs to relax and get ready for our last day in Santa Fe!

 

Snowbird, Utah – New Years Day

Snowbird, Utah – New Years Day

7:45 AM wake up! I was happy and ready to go until I put my feet on the floor and the soreness of skiing the previous day resonated throughout my legs! Ouch! Pushing through the pain, we got ready for the -8 degree ski day ahead of us. We had another yummy bagel breakfast at The Atrium before heading to our locker full of gear. I can’t reiterate enough how amazing a ski-in / ski-out hotel is. We popped our skis on and were immediately on the slopes!

The Chickadee slope goes right down to the mouth of the Creek Road green run which goes the length of the mountain and passes all of the lifts. We skied down the run, taking our time and soaking up every second, to the Mid-Gad lift. The Mid-Gad lift has two stops, one half-way up the mountain which has more green runs and an adventure park, and the second which reaches the top of the mountain’s advanced runs. As we are relatively new skiers, we stuck to the green slopes, our favorite being Second South. Second South leads both back to Mid-Gad and another lift called Baby Thunder. We went between both lifts throughout the morning, getting better and more confident throughout the morning.

Snowbird Mountain Trail Map

We need a snack break around 11. Thankfully, we had Quest bars in our jackets for extra fuel, however, mine froze because I had it in an outside pocket of my jacket! Pro tip: keep chapstick, liquids, lotion, and snacks in the inside of your jacket to prevent freezing!

A few more runs later, we skied to the base of the Mid-Gad lift to the Creekside Grill. Besides hot chocolate, there is nothing better than some warm, yummy, chili on a cold day! It totally hit the spot and some time off of our feet helped us gain our energy back for a few more afternoon runs.

Snowbird, Utah

There were a lot of little ski school groups on the slopes with kids from 4-8 years old! These kids would fly by us on 1.5 foot skis with no poles, in their super puffy ski suits, and I couldn’t get over how cute they were! Since there were more kids than instructors in each group, the kids needed “lift buddies” to help them on and off the lift. We were more than happy to help and I had some adorable conversations with some of these little pros. On the way up the Mid-Gad lift, I helped a 4-year-old girl up to the adventure park so she could go off of the jumps! We were talking about how long she had been skiing and I asked her where she was from. She said “Well, I don’t know where I am from but I DO know what planet we are on. EARTH!”. I totally melted – so cute!

It took us about three runs to get back to the hotel and my legs were skiing like jello when I took my skis off in the locker room! We decided to jump into one of the three hot tubs located right next to the Chickadee slope at the Cliff Lodge. It felt so great on our legs and we were not even 5 feet away from watching the skiers on the slopes. We hung in the hot tub, making new friends from all over the States, for about an hour before heading to the room for a pre-dinner nap.

At the Cliff Lodge in Snowbird, Utah

We opted to go to the Cliff Lodge’s Mexican restaurant, El Chanate, for dinner. We were a little skeptical of how the food would be considering we are used to awesome Mexican food in Texas, but we were pleasantly surprised! We started with some margaritas (of course), chips, & a delicious salsa. I also had some yummy pork tacos and Ryan tried the Pollo En Rajas con Crema (chicken in a spicy cream sauce) which I probably ate 1/3 of. Apparently, the chef, originally from Chihuahua, Mexico, has been working at theEl Chanate for over 10 years and makes very authentic Mexican cuisine (not Tex-Mex).

Throughout dinner, we got into an interesting conversation with our waiter; a fellow traveler from the North East. He decided to uproot his life with one of his friends and bike / rock climb their way through the USA. They made it all the way to Utah before running out of money, so he decided to stay behind in Utah and work until summer. Apparently, the mountains in Utah are top-notch for rock climbing and hiking in the summer – who knew?

Looking back at this post, I realize that some of my favorite memories of this day were garnered by meeting new people and talking to them about their experiences. You never know what funny thing they are going to say, what travel tips they will have, or how amazing their life has been until you start that conversation. Meeting new people and making new friends is definitely one of my favorite things about traveling.

 

Snowbird, Utah – New Years Eve

Snowbird, Utah – New Years Eve

On any other day, getting out of bed to -10 degree weather would be hard, but when you have skiing to do, it is “hasta la vista bed”! The excitement kept me up all night so I was ready to wake up, put all on all of my super warm, puffy gear, and head to The Atrium restaurant at the Cliff Lodge for a quick bagel and coffee breakfast. The view from our breakfast table was breathtaking and we watched the pros ski down the black diamond slopes in front of us.

The ski rental, lift ticket, and locker area was right outside of our breakfast spot so I was quickly fitted for my ski gear and then we headed down the Chickadee slope to the Snowbird Ski School. This was my boyfriend Ryan’s first ski experience so we booked lessons for him – mainly because I wouldn’t hear the end of it if I taught him wrong and something happened. I was a little nervous about skiing at Snowbird for this first time since it is such a challenging mountain, but the instructors were awesome! The lessons were on a small slope next to the Chickadee run so I skied down Chickadee about 20 times while waiting. I probably should have adventured down to the other Snowbird slopes while Ryan was learning, but this was only my 3rd time skiing, so I wasn’t super comfortable wandering off alone. I still had a great time getting “back on the bike” though and could watch Ryan in his class periodically on the way down the hill.

One of the coolest things about the slopes at Snowbird are the lift passes. You just put them in your pocket and go through these scanners in line for the lift which automatically scan your pass and let you in. This made the process super quick and easy!

After about two hours, Ryan’s class was finally ready to take the lift up Chickadee to try their luck down a big slope. We got to the top and Ryan thought he was supposed to go for it, so he literally skied in a straight line, gaining lots of speed, down this pretty steep slope! I was skiing behind him yelling “fall over!” and, realizing the “pizza” breaking style wasn’t working for him, he watched someone else stop and mirrored them to slow himself. Phew! The exhilaration went to both of our heads and Ryan’s ski skills got better and better with ever run we did.

We were starving by lunch time and went to the Snowbird center for lunch at Tram Car Pizza. It was warm and delicious. I also un-buckled my ski boots and the feeling came back to my toes – yay! After rehydrating and readjusting my boots to keep the circulation flowing in my feet, we did a few more runs down the slope before heading back to the Cliff Lodge. The lodge is right off of the slope so we skied to the entrance, took off our gear, and walked inside to the hotel locker room. Our locker corresponded with our room number, which I totally forgot, so I accidentally put all of our stuff in someone else’s locker. Oops! Pro travel tip: put your room number in the Notes app of your phone so you can’t forget it!

A hot shower and a nap later, we were getting ready for New Years Eve! The Snowbird Center was having a parade and firework show so we got bundled up and walked down to watch. We nestled up next to a warm fire pit sitting under three giant, twinkle light covered fir trees. Little did we know, the parade was not an average parade! All of a sudden, people around us started pointing to the mountains where red flare lights started popping up! A procession line of about 200 night skiers with red flare lights on their poles started skiing in a snake-like line down the mountain. It was absolutely gorgeous. Immediately after they made it down, a fireworks show started. Not only were they some of the coolest fireworks I have ever seen with all of the different colors and patterns, but every time another one went off, it lit up the mountain-scape behind it with additional glitter off of the snow and ice. Stunningly romantic!

We waited by the fire for the crowds to disperse and then walked down to the first floor of the Snowbird Center to the Tram Club for some wine and live music before dinner. It had a great ski cabin vibe and the jazzy music was perfect. Literally three feet from the Tram Club door was the door to The Steak Pit, our dinner spot. I don’t know how, but we hadn’t thought of calling to make dinner reservations until the day we left, so naturally, everything was completely booked. Somehow, the hotel concierge got us into the Steak Pit for dinner at 8 o’clock sharp. With all of that said, we were expecting it to be a mad house, but strangely, only half of the tables were taken.

We scored a table right on the window with an enchanting snowy-forest view. A few of the trees had a fence around them with a sign saying that the fence protected the trees from the local porcupine named Larry. Despite looking the entire time we were at dinner, we never actually saw Larry, but he definitely caused amusement!

We started dinner with a lemon artichoke appetizer and a giant shared salad. Unfortunately, the food wasn’t presented well so I didn’t take any photos, but it was still delicious! For the main course, I had grilled rainbow trout with rice pilaf. We were super full after our entrees so we decided to forgo a big desert at the restaurant for some Junior Mints and gummy snacks from the Cliff Lodge store. We hopped in bed, surrounded by our snacks, and watched the NYC ball drop at 10 PM Utah time. While it was not the fanciest way to spend NYE, it was perfect for us, especially considering how exhausted we were after a long day of skiing.