Weekend in Beaver Creek

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June 15-17 we spent the weekend in Beaver Creek with our friends from Santa Barbara: Megan and Jason.

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It was great to be up in the mountains in the late spring. This was the end of what the resorts calls shoulder season and so there were a lot of great deals to be had at the various fine dining restaurants in Beaver Creek and Vail. A lot of 50 percent off deals and whatnot. On the way up to the mountains from Denver, we stopped at a brewery pub and had lunch. I had a beautifully cooked buffalo burger with a pale-straw colored Easy Street non-filtered wheat beer under an impossibly blue Colorado sky. One of those moments that make me sure we will return to Colorado often, if not forever.

At the hotel we trotted out to the pool where we instantly made two mistakes. One, we glanced at the sun, which at that altitude, burnt our skin away in a scene reminiscent of the fiery and scream-filled end of days. Well, not that bad, but I did get burned in the 10 minutes in took me to decide to reapply sunscreen. Two, in our sun-drenched euphoric stupor, we ordered drinks that ended up costing more than 10 dollars a pop, and were mainly show. Luckily, the bar messed up and the girls got two drinks for free, which the boys promptly gulped down.

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The Ritz Carlton Club offers a sipping series each Friday in the evening, so we took advantage of that courtesy, holding court at a large outdoor table, while the majority of the residents sat inside largely complaining about the sun and heat. It turns out that when you’re near 10,000 feet above sea level the atmosphere is very thin and the sun is quite hotter, brighter, and … sunnier. Just no one told these people. After the sipping series Jason and I played some chess and I realized that I could play a number of chess games limited only by biological necessity. I love the game so much, which is interesting considering that I am not a very strong player.

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The following Saturday we took Jason’s cue and rented mountain bikes. Again, another gorgeous day in the Colorado mountains.

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Elissa had never been mountain biking so Megan and I bookended her in an attempt to allay her fears. I tried to con Elissa into suiting up for a bungee’d trampoline that sent its participants 40 feet in the air, but she saw past my rouse. I would have gotten on the contraption myself, but the weight limit was 180 lbs. and I am tipping the scales at 206 these days. We ended the night with a friendly game of spades. There is a history to Elissa and I playing this particular couple spades. The games tend to end in accusations and hurt feelings. I am dismayed to say the tradition continues! Despite the intensity, Megan and Jason are great fun to play because they meet our own competitive nature with unbridled enthusiasm.

That is why we bought a new game and brought it to Beaver Creek. Well, new to us. Elissa sent me into Target shortly before the weekend began to buy Sorry!—she had just returned from Dallas where she had decided that Sorry! may be one of the most fun games to play on the planet (I strongly dispute that claim)—and after I plucked Sorry! from the shelf I saw that Hasbro had just repackaged a bunch of old, stalwart games as “Vintage Library Editions.” They had in this new format: Monopoly, Stratego, Clue, Sorry!, Yahtzee, and Scrabble. And of course, the one I bought and had never played, Risk.

I realize that from the time I spend ranting about them, you may think I really like board games. That maybe I’m SUPER IN to them. Oh, that it were so. Unfortunately, I like very few board games. Sorry!, Monopoly, Clue, Yahtzee, and Scrabble are not among them. Particularly Sorry! It is my general feeling that if you must append an exclamation point to the name of a board game, it’s probably not that fun. Indeed, the game ought to elicit the exclamation point from its players.

That is all to say that I am a bit skeptical about how fun most board games are. However, I am also a sucker for presentation, and that is why I picked up the library edition of Risk at the same time I picked up the regular Sorry! for Elissa. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/B000AFGV1W/ref=dp_image_text_0/002-4570850-4734457?ie=UTF8&n=165793011&s=toys-and-games
The library edition games fold the board into 8 sections (which is unfortunate if you have to move the board mid-game), but in doing so it let’s you store the entire game on a bookshelf. This is a design change a long time coming as everyone has that cupboard or closet where the board games are piled one on top of the other in complete disarray. We played Risk with Megan and Jason, the first time for any of us. The game is really fun and incorporates just enough strategy to keep me interested.

On our last day, we had lunch in Vail during their farmer’s market. We had lunch on the sun-drenched patio, and went down to cool off by the river. I can’t wait until Elissa and I return to Beaver Creek in late July before school!
Here are some random pictures from the rest of the vacation:

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Already sunburnt on my forehead, you can tell the exact angle of the sun by the large shadow coming down off my nose. The sun is directly overhead, and about three feet away. The camera can’t even pick up how sunny it was.

Elissa and me playing Gin. I totally beat her. In two draws I pull a 3 and its over. I’m wearing a shirt, as I am badly burnt.
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Elissa and her fish impression. No one believed it was a fish till she picked this out of the river and proved us all wrong. Uncanny mimicry on her part.
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Jason attempting a handstand on a downhill slope:
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