Travel and Escape : Colorado
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Travel Time:
Winter 2005

Review:
My friend Leslie Ross, founder of Babes in the Backcountry, traveled to Peru with me on The Dragon's Path Women's Inca Trail Trek last fall. This winter she invited me to join her on a women's hut trip to Francie’s Cabin, located in the Crystal Lakes Basin, 4 miles south of Breckenridge, CO. Francie’s was the second cabin built in the Summit Huts System. The other two huts are Janet’s Cabin, near Copper Mt. and the Section House, located on top of Boreas Pass Road. Amenities at Francie’s Cabin include a wood stove for heat, solar powered lights, indoor composting toilet, completely furnished kitchen with pots, pans and dishes, a wood burning sauna (clothing optional) and twin size sleeping pads and pillows.

I was a bit hesitant as I had never "skinned" up or "tele" skied down a snow covered trail, being an avid alpine skier. I agreed to join as long as I could resort to snow shoes if needed. I met my fellow ski babes for Backcountry Skills Day, a well planned out introduction to backcountry travel including a slide show on avalanche awareness, beacon & probe uses, and an assortment of new techie things that I love. Our afternoon was spent outside covering travel techniques including a skills tour/skinning, hiking, route finding along with "find the beacon in the snow" games.

Our departure the following morning was under one of those cloudless blue skies that only those who live in mountain communities above 9000 ft can understand. My pack was full of gear (I'm a gear fanatic, did I tell you this?) and to my delight we were able to test all the new Patagonia gal pieces (layers, fabrics and colors...oh my!).
Add to that: Sturdy overnight backpack · Sleeping bag · Head Lamp · Backcountry skis with metal edges or sturdy snowshoes · Heavy-duty boots (i.e. telemark, alpine touring boots or sturdy waterproof hiking boots with gaiters) · Climbing skins, split board or snowshoes · Adjustable poles, ski poles or touring poles · Warm outdoor clothes (layers)-parka and ski pants · 2 pair of ski socks (no cotton) · 2 pair of thermals (no cotton) · Ski hat and baseball type of hat · Goggles and sunglasses · Heavy gloves and light weight gloves · Hut slippers (or shoes for the hut) · Comfortable clothes for the hut · Towel for the sauna (clothing optional) · Water for the trail (water bottle and water hydration system) · Favorite snacks and favorite evening beverages · Sunscreen, Personal items, Repair kit/first aid kit · Avalanche transceiver, Shovel, Probe pole, Slope meter, Compass

and my pack was full...OH WAIT, the FOOD! No worries as all the food (and vino!) was brought in by snowmobile and sleds and all catered by a wonderful chef Nancy Hallett of A Chef's Touch.com. Also incorporated into the weekend were introductions to Acupuncture, Naturopathic Medicine, Massage Therapy, and Integrative Kinesiology all facilitated by practitioners from Sacred Tree an institute for the healing arts in Breckenridge.

Back to the skiing, the "Skins" (they are sticky sort of rugs that go on the bottom of the skis to enable you to climb uphill) worked great, we arrived at the hut in no time, well, in time for lunch! The afternoon ski allowed us to test out some telemark (tele) turns on very gradual slopes so we felt like Rock Stars (well, not exactly). Pre dinner was spent enjoying the wood burning Sauna, reading, chopping wood (for those with too much energy) and napping (I choose the latter). After a fantastic happy hour and dinner we enjoyed a full moon ski before heading to our comfortable bunks oh, and the girls especially appreciated the indoor bathrooms. Day 2 was more of the same, skiing, eating, and relaxing on the sun filled deck before heading back to Breckenridge for mid-afternoon departure to reality. It was the perfect learning/fun/girl escape.

I loved the experience thanks Leslie!

Operators:
Babes in the Backcountry

Reviewed by Kathy Dragon

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Friday, October 21, 2005
Travel Time:
May 2005

Peripheral Information:
Wonderful spring weather in Winter Park. At an altitude of over 9000ft the weather can be iffy at this time of year in the mountains.
Reviewer Background:
I used to live in Winter Park and spent many hours running and mt. biking on the trails. I LOVE the trail system in Winter Park and the Fraser Valley, CO!
Review:
Just back from a wonderful Women's Quest Performance Running Retreat in Winter Park, CO (my old playground!). From Wednesday-Sunday women from all over the country stayed at the Woodspur Lodge and trained with the likes of Colleen Cannon (world class triathlete and owner of Women's Quest), Lorraine Moller (Olympic Medal Winner in the Women's Marathon, Barcelona 1992), and Syl (professional runner and triathlete).

Sure, Winter Park and the Fraser Valley offers over 500 miles of mapped trails and is a mt. biker and trail runners heaven, but the running retreat, co-sponsored by Brooks, offered much more than daily runs.

Each day began with Gyro Yoga followed by 1.5 hour trail runs, running drills, indoor sessions on nutrition, running techniques and proper shoe fit, mental awareness and "Hero’s Quest" sessions, pyramid training, pilates, Ropes Confidence Course, mountain biking, swimming and of course great food and fun.
On Sunday the group heads down to Boulder to prepare for the annual Bolder Boulder 10 Km race held on Memorial Day. With over 46,000 runners expected we’ll catch up with the gals post race.

Best Time to Travel:
Summer for running and biking. Winter for skiing and snowshoeing

Reviewed by Kathy Dragon

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