Sunday, December 29, 2013

Visiting Friends in Steamboat Springs

My family and I went in the latter half of this week to visit friends of ours who were flying in to ski at Steamboat Springs, CO.  We drove the rental car, a Hyundai Elantra, and boy let me tell you....its tires and FWD proved barely adequate for icy road conditions!

No, no accidents, just commenting.

Lee, his wife Lyn and their daughter Jennifer were the friends we were going to see.  I've known Lee since 1981 when we were both cadets in the University of Miami's Army ROTC program.  We linked up with them Thursday evening and had a nice dinner at the Slopeside Grill next to their ski resort lodging.

 Apres Dinner shot near the Slopeside Grill 

Lee and I, it's been a long way since our cadet days.

On Friday, Lee and his family took ski lessons on the slopes while the Chang Gang headed out of town to the Steamboat Springs Snowmobile company's operating area in the nearby Routt National Forest.  Paperwork and formalities done, we met our guide Reese and became part of a 12 snowmobile tour group.  Martha drove one with Miles behind her and I rode another snowmobile with Patrick behind me.  Neither of us had ever driven a snowmobile but it proved pretty easy for the tame conditions involved.

 Before the tour started....Patrick ended up having a good time, he
just wasn't that enthused here....I think he's not used to sunlight.

 The view from the tour's highest elevation spot.
It was a beautifully sunny day, with temperatures in the low 30s.

 At a large meadow, the boys got a chance to drive.
Here's Miles with Martha.

 After many circles of the large meadow area, I never did get the 
snowmobile above an indicated 30 MPH.  Here's me taking
a break by resting on Patrick.

 Miles did very well on his own.

Martha proved she wasn't going to be the slowest rider in the group!
I had a heck of a time catching up with her at times on the trails!

It was about a two hour tour, we all made it back to the snowmobile company's cabin with no issues though my snowmobile was on fumes when I got back; it made the throttle a bit jerky at times.

A small snow cat near the snowmobile company's office.

Our rental car proved its lousy capability to handle ice when I got stuck at the entrance to US40 while on the snow packed trail leading to the snowmobile company's office cabin.  I had to back up perhaps 300 feet to a flat area, then keep moving onto the shoulder of the highway until we could determine there wasn't any oncoming traffic!  A bit nerve-wracking.

Dinner again with Lee's family, pizza and the Big Bang Theory version of the game Clue.  A good time was had by all and yours truly won the game.  Lee and family will remain till Monday, doing more skiing and vacationing.

To avoid the Sunday rush down from the mountains, we left yesterday to get back home to Denver.  The road conditions weren't "bad" but not exactly great at the passes.  I moved at Ural speed and just had to shake my head at the idiots who drove like the roads were dry and ice-free.  

Hope safe and sound, I think I'll have to revisit my vehicle choices if we end up doing this again next year.

Still, a new experience for myself and Martha, a good visit with longtime friends, some family time out in Colorado's snow-covered wilderness, overall a great time.

11 comments:

len@RE-GLAZE-IT said...

Enjoyable read .... Great photos to boot!
Always great to see folk catch up .
The snow bikes? Look fun!
Regards LEN

Charlie6 said...

Thank you Len for your comments. As to the snowmobile itself, it rides like a sidecar rig on snow....curious.

SonjaM said...

Snowbiking! How cool is that. I have only done it once but it had been great fun.

Charlie6 said...

SonjaM, snowbiking, never heard it called that....usually I've heard it referred to as snowmobiling....then again, they call them snowmachines in Alaska.

Canajun said...

Looks like you had a great time doing something new and different. As for the name, up here you generally hear them referred to as Ski-Do's or just plain sleds.

Charlie6 said...

Thanks Canajun, I'd heard of Ski-Doos...but not sleds. Sleds to me are small devices to slide downhill on snow.

Richard M said...

I've heard that Steamboat Springs is a pretty nice place. Riding snow machines could be a lot af fun and there is some similarity to the sidecar. A lot of "body english" really improves handling though it's more difficult with a passenger.

They are referred to as "sleds" around here as well.

Trobairitz said...

The snowmobiling sounds fun - driving the Hyundai - not so much.

It has been a good 30 years since I've been on a snow machine, probably a good thing, lol.

Charlie6 said...

Richard, Steamboat Springs is pretty and from what I saw, not too crowded for the skiers....traffic can be a problem just before and after the ski lifts open and close. The resort did a very poor job in terms of snow/ice management.

As to snowmobile riding, yes, a lot of body english is involved....it was fun but there were times when control was "lacking".....

Charlie6 said...

Trobairitz, the snowmobile was OK fun, I don't foresee owning one. As to the Hyundai, it sucked on ice...but then, what doesn't? :)

Richard M said...

With carbide runners, you generally have pretty good directional control. If the movements were similar to a sidecar rig, you must've been riding on soft powdery snow. For hard pack or ice you need to change where your weight is for good directional control.

When I get asked why ride in the winter I just need to say "street legal snow machine" and get almost instant smiles from most folks around here.