Colorado April 2021

Dates: April 5-10, 2021

People: Mark, Sarah, Luke, Jonah, Seth, Anya, Marcia, Denny


  • 4-5 (Travel Day)

  • 4-6 (Ski Cooper)

  • 4-7 (Monarch Ski)

  • 4-8 (Copper Mountain)

  • 4-9 (Quandary Peak)

  • 4-10 (Travel Day)


This year's Spring Break trip enabled the whole family to join. We found $49 airfares to Denver, probably in part still thanks to the Pandemic, and decided it was well worth it for all of us. This also meant we would get to do Anya's first flight. The cherry on top was also getting the minivan rental down just under $200 for the week. Everything came together nicely.

The $49 fares also put us in flight times midday so we weren't really doing late late nights or early mornings. We left the house at 10:30am today and made it to the airport just after 11am. We had a plan for me to drop everyone and the luggage off while I took care of getting the van to the long-term parking. This worked great. While the others got bags checked with Southwest it took me about 25 minutes to drive up to Qwik Park, park the van, and then ride their shuttle back to the airport drop. By 11:20 I was back with the others.

We made it through security and it went smoothly with Anya. Our whole family went through the metal detectors instead of the full body scanners. We headed out to our gate. We were disappointed to find that the Chick-fil-a and a few other restaurants appear to be in extended closures at DTW. Rumor had it they may re-open many months down the road. So Sarah decided on chicken schwarma at Anita's Kitchen, Jonah got a coney combo at National Coney Island, and the rest had McDonald's. There was a crazy long line at McD's but Luke and I figured out we could circumvent the line with an app order.

While waiting for the flight, Anya kinda made friends with another little 2-year-old at our gate named Dylan. We had to stand and wait for boading to stat for a half hour and the two girls played a bit. They each had their dads taking them for walking loops using the moving walkways.

The flight boarded a half hour late. They did require the 2-year olds including Anya to have mask on to board the flight. Thankfully Anya kept hers on long enough to get to our seats on the plane. During the flight she had her pacifier in and hardly wore the mask. Nobody seemed concerned about it. We do think the pacifier was of huge help in keeping her ear pressures calm.

She watched Elmo on my tablet for the first half of the flight. She seemed tired and we thought she would sleep more but she only slept for the last 25 minutes of the flight. She spent part of the flight on my lap looking out the window and playing with the window shade making it go up and down.

Our bags came reasonably quick for Denver speeds. It did take an extra 10 minutes for the carseat to arrive as it was considered over-sized. Outside we waited in the pickup area for the car rental shuttle to arrive for almost 25 minutes. It was bad. Finally a bus showed up with signs for Thrifty, Dollar and Hertz. When we got dropped off at the Thrifty counter there were 8 different parties on our bus all headed for Thrifty. I tried to get off the bus quickly leaving luggage for the rest of the family. I ended up being 3rd in line. Much to all of our disappointment, there was only one lady working the Thrifty counter and it was quickly evident it could take an hour for all of us to be processed. Oddly in Hertz uniform came in about 10 minutes later and took the last half of the line with him saying he could process them if they hadn't prepaid. Another 5 minutes later he came and grabbed me and another couple. It was confusing but we followed. He took us to the Hertz showroom where they did have a Thrifty counter. We wondered if they were all merging or at least working together. I wasn't sure if Hertz was going to rent to me just matching Thrifty's numbers or if it was Thrifty. In the end I believe it was Thrifty. They had a brand new Chrysler Voyager for us and the rest of the process finally moved well.

Outside the van was waiting for us and this part went quickly. At start the van only had 266 miles on it. Driving away, the Denver traffic wasn't too bad and we got out of town quickly hitting 285 for our route. We stopped for drinks at a gas station in Conifer. We made it out to Mom and Dad's house at 7:30pm and had supper. Meatloaf, corn, and baked potatoes were on the menu tonight.


Up at 6:20am today to get ready to ski. The plan for today was to hit Ski Cooper. This would allow us to roll through Leadville and hopefully pickup rentals at Bill's Ski. However, we had received an e-mail from them a day prior that said they would be unable to fill our order. It didn't give any further details. We tried calling and no answer. When we did finally drive by in Leadville they were indeed closed. Alpine Ski also in Leadville was our second choice and they were closed. It appears both places had already closed for the season.

We left the house at 7:35am. We ended up driving straight through Leadville and on up to Ski Cooper. We did rentals for the boys at the ski hill. A bit more expensive. We used Dad's pickup truck to haul skis around this week and that worked perfectly. We were on the hill at 9:20am. We skiied for two hours and then stopped for lunch on the hill at the yurt. The outdoor grill was fantastic. Several of us had burgers and they were double patty and juicy. So tasty but a bit greasy. I had a Voodoo Ranger IPA on draft to drink with the burger. Dad had a Fat Tire Ale.

After lunch we skiied another two hours. It wasn't our greatest day of skiing. I had a developing headache likely due to first day at altitude. The skiing was also difficult as the snow had gone through much freeze-thaw cycles and was quite crusty and firm and made for bumpy skiing in most places. The slopes that weren't groomed were rough. This wore out the legs quickly. So by 1:45p both Jonah and Seth were pretty much done for the day. Luke and I did one more run and then we all called it a day. The best run of the day had been Trails End which was indeed groomed and we did it three times. By 2:35p we had left Cooper.


  • Eagle

  • Motherlode - Motherlode Flats - Lower Tenderfoot

  • Treasure Trove - Burnout

  • Pando

  • Ambush - Lower Shamrock

  • Trail's End

  • Trail's End

  • Slade's Run

  • Upper Shamrock - Lower Shamrock

  • Trail's End

We headed back to the house. I spent nearly the next two hours in the chair just waiting for the Advil to knock out the headache.


We got another quick start this morning knowing we would need to rent skis again. We got out of the house at 7:42am today heading south for a day at Monarch. At 8:20 we stopped at Mt. Shavano ski rental on our drive. They are the nice big A-frame on US50 west of Pagosa Springs. They had us in and out pretty quick to get skis for Luke and Seth. Jonah stayed home today.

We had an excellent morning at Monarch. Most of their slopes were groomed and the snow was great on these slopes. We made a number of quick runs and were up and down the mountain a number of times having fun. The temps were cool enough in the morning to keep the snow good but not so cool as to freeze us. The only real rough run we hit today was on Ticaboo which was a bit icy and rough.

At 11:35a we headed in to the lodge for lunch. I tried their chicken tenders and we all shared some onion rings and fries. After lunch we hit a number of other runs all over the mountain. Temps in afternoon were above freezing and south-facing slopes like Little Mo and Ramble On were getting slightly melted soft surfaces. We skiied today til 3:20pm. It felt like a good full day. It was 3:20p when we left Monarch and headed back to the house.


  • Roundabout - Liberty - Lower Tango

  • Roundabout - Drifter - Lower Tango

  • Romp - North Forty - Lower Tango

  • Romp - Sidewinder - Lower Tango

  • Sleepy Hollow - Tenderfoot

  • Skywalker - Short-n-Sweet - Sleepy Hollow - Serendipity - Tenderfoot

  • Great Divide - Ticaboo - Glade

  • Little Mo

  • Ramble On

  • Romp - Liberty - Lower Tango

  • Roundabout - North Forty - Lower Tango

  • Sleepy Hollow - Freeway

  • Romp - Drifter - Lower Tango

  • Sleepy Hollow - Lower No Name - Lower Tango

  • Sleepy Hollow - Lower No Name - Lower Tango

  • Sleepy Hollow - Serendipity - Glade

  • Ramble On

  • Little Mo

  • Romp - Liberty - Lower Tango

  • Sleepy Hollow - Freeway

I was feeling much better tonight and spent time playing with Anya and having more fun. We were going to do ham for supper tonight but the oven didn't start so we ended up ordering Elkhorn Pizza. The pizza tasted great nd we enjoyed it. But more on that later. We spent the evening playing a trivia game with cards.


Last night was not a good one. A number of us were sick in the digestive system. We were suspecting the pepperoni pizza from the night before but no conclusive proof. This made for a slow morning as we were figuring out whether we'd be able to make today go. As we got a little breakfast in us around 9am it seemed Luke, Seth, Dad, and I would all give it a try at Copper Mountain today. The fact that we had already purchased our tickets played some influence as a lot of money was on the line.

We left the house 9:05am and made the hour drive to Copper. The public parking wasn't too full. We hopped a half-filled shuttle and made out way to Center Village. Luke and Seth were still working with their rental skis from yesterday. After taking care of bathroom and Dad picking up his pass it was 11:11am when we finally hit the slope.

We skiied for almost an hour and a half and were having great runs today. The snow was in excellent condition at Copper and most of the slopes were groomed. We had lunch at the West Village in the cafe. Both Luke and I had questionable stomachs and each settled on a bag of sun chips and a gatorade. Seth and Dad fared a little better.

The afternoon ski runs went well and we stayed at Copper til close to 4pm when they closed down the lifts. We skiied out to West village finding a shorter walk to the shuttle. We rode the shuttle on out to the truck, loaded up and were out of town by 4:20pm.


  • Easy Road - See & Ski - Coppertone - Carefree

  • Soliloquy - Roundabout

  • West Ten Mile - Lower Roundabout - Kokomo

  • Woodwinds

  • Windsong

  • Copperfield

  • American Flyer (Seth's favorite for the day)

  • Jacque's Pique

  • The Moz - Woodwind's Traverse - Lower Loverly

  • Connector to Rendezvous Lift

  • Union Park - Sluice - Coppertone - Carefree

  • Bittersweet

  • Bittersweet - Leapfrog - Carefree

  • American Flyer - Woodwinds Traverse - Easy Feelin'

For supper tonight Mom made the ham (a very good one at that) as well as rice-a-roni and green beans. After supper Seth, Luke and I tried the giant jenga game out on the patio which turned out to be pretty fun.


We were up 5:30am today hoping for an early start on Quandary. Being winter we saw no need for an alpine start but we did want to get to the trail before the lot would potentially fill. We made it out of the house, the three of us, by 6:10am. This put us to the trailhead at Quandary at around 7:20am for a 7:30am start.

Quandary Peak Winter 2021

Funny thing about today's hike is I forgot to ask Sarah to check us in for our flight and so I remembered this when I popped on my cellphone data on the summit where it was 12° and wind chill below zero. We were in the "C" group but thanks to Anya we would still be able to do family boarding.

It was 3:35pm at the end of the hike and we started the drive back to BV. All three of us were pretty worked over from today's effort. I'm still not quite in the shape I'd like to be. Much to my disappointment I would keep some muscle soreness in my quads and calves for several days after.

Having drank all our drinks on the hike we made a stop at a gas station in Fairplay for some much needed Mountain Dew. It was 4:45pm when we made it back to the house. Mother made a really good pork and potatotes for supper. We spent some of the evening getting everything all packed up for our very early departure in the morning.


It was a 4:45am wake up today. We had a goal of leaving the house at 5:15am to allow for time for the drive, the rental dropoff, and hitting the airport early. It was 525am when we ultimately got left. The early drive was pretty in the dark through South Park. In the early daylight Jonah was having some stomach issues which forced us to pull over a couple of times. Thankfully we had allowed for some extra built-in time. The traffic was good today including on the drive into Denver. We made a gas stop before heading into the airport for the rental dropoff. When we followed the signs to Dollar Car Rental they had buses blocking all our entrances. This built on the confusion we had from the pickup process early in the week. They never gave us instructions on their relationship with Hertz. Well sure enough we drove over to Hertz and saw tiny signs for Dollar Car as well. A merger or just a business arrangement in Denver, we weren't sure. It was 8:20am when we got the car returned and hopped the shuttle together for the airport. The car had 575 miles on it now. 309 miles total for the trip, not too bad. It took us quite awhile to check bags and get through security and it was just after 930am when we hit the gates. Mark stopped off at the B Concourse to grab Chick-fil-A while the others headed out to our C gate.

We were glad to have built-in the extra time as we used most of it. We had maybe 25 minutes to spare before they started our boarding. We were able to make it out of Denver on-time and were delighted in flight when they said we'd be arriving about 20 minutes early in Detroit. Things in Detroit moved real smoothly. Arrived 3:15p, the others hit baggage claim while Mark did the shuttle for the long-term parking. His roundtrip went quickly and we were leaving the airport by 4:15p. Home 4:45pm to some happy pets.