Aski challenge with brews – and costumes
FRISCO » The joy in escaping to the mountains in the winter— or really, anytime— is discovering something unexpected.
My recent lesson: Draft mules absolutely won’t budge when confronted on a snow-packed road with human-sized M&Ms.
Two friends sported the rounded red and green forms immediately familiar to humans, but not mules, while a larger group of us explored the Frisco Nordic Center lastweekend. We’d snapped into rented classic-style skis for “Brew Ski,” an afternoon happyhour tour of the expansive cross country trails at the Nordic Center. Costumes were encouraged.
Since this is Colorado, beer was vital. At two stops along the way, New Belgium Brewing offered samples, with full bottles waiting at the end.
And again, since this is Colorado, most of our group of five started the day at Copper Mountain, 10 minutes up Interstate 70, for a typical few hours of downhill turns on skis or snowboards.
We signed up for the afternoon Brew Ski in search of something new and less predictable. I invited friends to join and slapped together registration team names with wintry puns—“Nordic Avengers” and “Guardians of the Galaxski.” I’ll pause for applause. The guys in our group approximated slapdash superheroes with our Batman, Superman and American flag shirts and shorts. The women donned the M&M costumes, kept inflated by battery-powered fans.
More impressive were a trio of women from the Dillon area who formed a cardboard horse— with a Broncos blue-and-orange mane— and navigated the trails on a single pair of skis rigged with three sets of bindings. They won the prize for most difficult
costume to ski in.
Early on in our 5-mile trek, we focused more on exploring the center’s expanse of trails than on beer stops. We lost track of time.
“Oh, this is kind of like NordicTrack,” Heather said as she and Farnoosh— the M&Ms and the group’s cross country newbies— found their bearings. Lee, Richard and I had more experience and dropped pointers. It was my third time on nordic skis, after nearly a lifetime of downhill skiing, which meant I could navigate steep descents on the nonedging skis without crossing fingers and hoping for the best.
As we headed back to the center, the sun setting behind a peak in the distance, several sleighfuls of visitors out on a ride approached us. The mules pulling them hardly noticed me and the other guys, since our less-flashy shirts and shorts didn’t obscure the human form.
Not so for the candy-colored duo bringing up our group’s rear.
The standoff ended when a worker asked Heather and Farnoosh to move out of the way— not just to stand to the side, but entirely off the well-groomed and packed trail, where they sank into deep powder.
Soonwewere on ourway, worn out and battered from the inevitable spills but ready for our beer.
It was a good practice day for those of us heading to Crested Butte for the Alley Loop nordic marathon. Last year, I learned cross country skiing under fire there in the 5K, with a friend shouting “Reverse pizza!” at me repeatedly as I struggled to climb hills. This year, we’re upgrading to the 10K event.
Of course, race eve features a “pub ski” between downtown Crested Butte’s bars, and therewill be beerwaiting at the race’s end.
It’s a nice perk, but as with BrewSki, the experience is the real reward.
Lee Cordova, left, Heather Conley and Farnoosh Farahi explore the Frisco Nordic Center’s trails during its BrewSki event Jan. 23 as part of the author’s group. Jon Murray, The Denver Post