Every year I go on a ski/camp/ski retreat with my friend and nephews at Belleayre Mountain. We’ve been going for seven years. This past February 15, we headed off for what may have been our best trip, starting with an amazing day on the slopes. The new snow made feet of powdery delight—every trail on the mountain was open and the glades trails through the woods were amazing.
As the sun got low, the group put on our camping gear that was waiting in the car and we rode Lift 7 up to the top of the mountain (although the summit of Belleayre is actually a half mile hike into the forest). After unloading safely with packs, snowshoes, skis, snowboards, boots, poles, and winter equipment, we rigged a sled for the gear out of snowboards—it worked for about one third of the trip, then we were backpacking the rest of the way. The weight of the packs made our snowshoes sink in pretty far to the snow, but we managed to trek the 1.5 miles to our shelter.
When we reached the lean-to, I dug the snow from the fire pit and built a fire on my first attempt (a proud moment). We used snow and ice to make a fortress around our lean-to, protecting us a bit more from the biting wind. After many warm soups and foods, we did our best to sleep.
It was cold—5 degrees. The next day we hiked in snowshoes back to the ski slopes very early. The coffee and warmth of the lodge made us feel extra appreciative of all of the amenities we have in our lives. Looking out the window made me appreciate all of the amazing beauty, too. Nature offers so little and so much all at once. It’s great to spend some time, even in the cold of the winter, getting to know her a little better. Sometimes it takes putting yourself into new and challenging situations to help you get to know yourself a little better. After the coffee and eggs, it was back to the slopes for more riding! I hope you are finding ways to enjoy this extreme winter; she won’t last forever.