Every spring, I try to publish a blog post about our ski season adventures. As you can imagine, this year was a little different. This year, the ski season ended abruptly in mid-March due to COVID-19. Nevertheless, I decided it'd be fun to write about the ski season we did experience and our adventures since then.
The 2019-2020 ski season started off looking really good. The snow was good enough in October that I enjoyed a day at A-Basin - my earliest ski day ever! In December, I got a few days in. Skiing at Whitefish Mountain over Christmas vacation was a highlight. When I was a kid, it was called Big Mountain and it's where I learned how to alpine ski.
January came along and we spent the first couple of weeks in New Orleans. Shortly after we returned home, I went skiing in Jackson Hole with some friends.
February rolled in and I was able to make some work trips skiing-oriented. To start off the month, I spoke at Jfokus in Sweden. After Jfokus, the organizers planned a speaker's conference at Trysil Ski Area in Norway. There wasn't much powder, but the groomers were fast, and we had fun challenging ourselves on the 45° double black!
Upon returning home, Ray Tsang and I did a Rocky Mountain JUG Tour, book-ended with Developer Ski Days.
March came quickly and I visited Winter Park to make arrangements for a Developer Ski Day after dev.next. Little did I know it'd be my last day skiing for the season.
I was scheduled to do a speaking tour in Switzerland and Germany in mid-March. The conferences I was speaking at lined up perfectly with our kids' Spring Break. My family was going to join me in Germany and we were planning on skiing in the Swiss Alps for a few days.
Then, COVID cancellations started happening. We cancelled our European vacation and opted for a Florida vacation instead. We flew to Florida on March 15 and returned March 22. Our flights were full. All restaurants and bars were closed in Colorado on March 16. We rented a house with Trish's brother's family in Marco Island and didn't venture out much.
We knew when we flew to Florida that we might have to drive back. That premonition almost came true on our flight home. Just as we were boarding, the Fort Meyers aiport intercom announced that all flights were grounded—throughout the United States. I started looking up rental car rates and almost booked it when they announced it was a mistake. The pilot encouraged everyone to board quickly.
Like most of you, we spent April and May at home. Our dogs loved it. Our cats could've cared less.
I met with friends on April 29 for an afternoon of golf. I also stopped drinking for 30 days and got in shape with lots of walks and bike rides.
We have a long sequence of graduations in our family between our kids and Trish's brother's family. Starting last year, one of our kids will graduate from high school (or college) for 10 years in a row. Pending gap years, of course.
I love graduations and have fond memories of my own. I hatched a plan in mid-May to drive to Boston for our niece's graduation. I wanted to take our Syncro Westy and spend a week getting there. We'd drive through Canada and check out some sites along the way.
Trish had working-on-the-road and road-trip-bathroom concerns, so she started shopping for RVs. When we proposed this plan to Abbie and Jack's Mom, she said she'd like to take the kids to Florida for a week before we left.
That derailed my whole plan because if the kids were flying on planes during COVID, we might as well do the same. Driving wouldn't make us any safer, we figured.
We decided to fly to Boston at the beginning of June. We'd spend the first week quarantining at Trish's parent's empty house in Cape Cod, then unite with our family to celebrate.
Montana Road Trip
Because we were going to be gone so long—and had a week-long rafting trip planned in July—we decided to make a road-trip to Montana to drop our pets off with my parents. My Dad has COPD, which is a respiratory illness, so we were definitely leary about visiting. We got tested for antibodies before we left. Our test results were negative.
After dropping off our pets, Trish flew home, and I drove home. I worked, took mountain bike rides, and drove for five days through Idaho and Utah. I rode Blue Mountain, Angel Trail (technically in the Wyoming Tetons), Klondike Bluffs, Slick Rock, and Road 18 in Fruita. Slick Rock was a grueling 10-mile 3-hour ride at 97°F. I made sure to start early at Fruita the next morning.
I mostly stayed in RV Parks, since power was key, and so was internet. I wore a mask whenever I filled up with gas and on my mountain bike rides. I didn't see any masks in Montana, Idaho, or Utah. In fact, I got told to "go home" when filling up at 6am in Montana. In Idaho, I got lots of stares because of my mask, but I felt my camouflage pants kept people from saying anything. Moab, Utah was fully open; restaurants and everything.
I arrived home from my road-trip on Friday afternoon and we flew to Boston on Sunday, May 31st.
Graduation in Boston
We flew Southwest and liked the fact that they did not sell middle seats. Upon arrival, we tried to short-cut the quarantine length by getting tested. Trish and the kids got tested for COVID on Sunday night and had their negative results back in 48 hours. Our Boston family appreciated it, but they weren't quite ready to accept us into their home. We had socially-distant happy hours that week, but did not enter their home.
The Black Lives Matter protests were in full-force that week and changed my whole perspective of America. I've been trying to help with donations and mentoring, but I know I can do more.
On Friday, June 5th, I got a swab-in-your-brain COVID test. It wasn't particularly painful, but it did make my eyes water and feel like sneezing for around five minutes. It cost me $160 USD because I didn't have any symptoms. I was tested in my car and got negative results 15 minutes later. This satisfied everyone's fears and we rejoiced with our east-coast family that evening.
The following week, we worked in the mornings and played in the evenings.
Our nieces' graduation was a really fun event. They had all the graduates and their families gather in a parking lot and watch from their cars. The graduates were called up in groups and accepted their diplomas at a distance from one another. Way to go, Shira!
We were impressed by how many people wore masks in Massachusetts. Almost everyone had them on, and if they didn't, they had one in their pocket they could put on quickly. We returned home on June 16th.
Bring on July Vacation!
As I wrote in my year in review, I'm taking July off. We're starting the festivities with a 5-day rafting trip through Desolation Canyon in Utah. We did the same trip in 2014 and had a blast. This time, we'll have twice as many rafts.
We verified our equipment works on the Upper Colorado River during Father's Day weekend.
After that trip, I'm heading to Montana to hang out with my folks. We'll do some rafting, relaxing, and I plan to mountain bike a bunch. I bought an electric mountain bike this week and I'm looking forward to riding it all over the Swan Valley.
I hope y'all have a nice July. I'll be going fully offline—deleting social and work apps from my phone, including email. I'll use my phone to take pictures and communicate with friends, but not much else. I'm looking forward to recharging. I'll see y'all in August! 👋😀