A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: vansantjordan

The final hoorah!

Heading home - day 34

rain 3 °C
View USA 2016/17 on vansantjordan's travel map.

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It was our last day in the USA, we are heading home today. We don’t leave New York City until 6pm tonight, so we still had a few hours to explore the city this morning. We had to check out of our hotel room first, but we left our big bags there, so we didn’t have to carry them through the city. We decided we would head out to the airport at 1pm, as it would take about 2 hours to get there, and we wanted to be there pretty early. This left us about 3 hours left in the city. The one thing we had not done yet, that we really wanted to do, was check out Central Park. It was again only about a half an hour walk from our accommodation to central park. The walk took us down 5th avenue, which is the main shopping street in the city. Of course, the shopping did not interest me at all, however the buildings were amazing. We walked past the Trump tower.
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There are still a lot of people in the US that aren’t happy with his election win, especially in the cities. There have been many protests, and a lot of people threatening action against him. To protect him, police have blocked the walkway out side his building, and have a HUGE presence around it. It is quite unbelievable how divided the country is with the decision. On one street corner there will be a huge protest, and then just around the corner, there will be a car covered in pro trump slogans! It was not a real nice day in the city today. It was quite cold, and the rain got heavier throughout the day. We eventually made it to Central Park.
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It was hard to photograph as the sky of was so grey, and the trees were dull due to the season. We didn’t spend all that long walking around, but it is pretty cool that such a built up city, has this huge recreation area that everyone can enjoy. We then found a café that we could get some coffee that looked kind of nice, and sit out the rain for a little bit. On our way back to our hotel, we stopped past the New York Public Library, and had a look in the building. It is quite amazing, and way too fancy for a library! ☺ We got back to our hotel, and we were very wet. We wanted to get some New York hot dogs for lunch, however we couldn’t find any close to where we were staying, so we just got some pizza again! We were taking public transport to JFK airport today, as a taxi was extremely expensive! This meant we first had to walk about 7 minutes to the subway station and carry our stupidly big bags down the stairs. We then caught a train for 2 stops, and then transferred to another train for 7 stops. We then had to walk about 5 minutes to the JFK air train. This took us directly to T7, where Qantas departed from. It would be a very easy and affordable way of getting to the airport with just normal bags, however our large ski bags made it a little uncomfortable. Saying that, I would much prefer to do this, than pay $60 for a taxi to the airport!! Check in was painless in JFK. They checked us all the way through to Hobart, even though there were 2 separate bookings. I don’t think the check-in lady had worked for Qantas for very long, because she didn’t know how to change our seats, and she didn’t know where Hobart was! ☺ As we were there early, security was a breeze. It was easier to get through security here, than any of our US domestic flights! Our route back home today was all on Qantas, which was nice! We would be travelling from New York City, to Sydney on QF12, with a brief stop in Los Angeles. We would then Travel from Sydney to Hobart, via Melbourne, arriving in Hobart at 4:35pm on Thursday. Our flight from New York to LA was delayed about an hour, however, with favourable winds, we only landed about half an hour late, meaning everyone made their connections. Thomas and I had a pair of seats to ourselves at the back of the plane. It was a Boeing 747 to LA. It was a really comfy plane, with heaps of room.
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The meals were also amazing. There were 3 options for dinner, and they all sounded so good.
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I ended up getting the salad, which was really good! The flight took just over 4 hours, and I managed to get almost 2 hours of solid sleep, waking up pretty much as we landed. Once we got to LA, we had about 20 minutes before our flight down to Sydney started boarding. We were travelling on the A380 again down to Sydney, and I was really keen to sit upstairs again, if possible. Unfortunately, there were only 4 seats free on the whole plane, meaning we couldn’t really get any better seats. Our seats weren’t too bad. We had a middle and window seat at the back of one of the cabins, meaning we could recline our seats without obstructing anyone else. The food again on this flight was surprisingly delicious.
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There were plenty of snacks throughout the flight as well, meaning we never got hungry. I managed to get 5-6 hours sleep on this leg, and watch a few movies. The flight didn’t feel all that long, and I arrived in Sydney feeling pretty fresh and awake. I was definitely expecting to feel much worse. We cleared immigrations and customs, which took about 1.5 hours, before dropping our bags off and heading to the domestic terminal.
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We had a 3 hour wait here, before boarding our flight down to Melbourne. We were travelling on an Airbus A330, and had exit row seats, so loads of room!
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It was a nice flight, with a nice crew, snack and drink. We then had a short 1 hour stop in Melbourne before boarding our flight down to Hobart.
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Our flight was on a Qantaslink Boeing 717. We were joined by some special guests from the Perth Scorches Big Bash team.
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The flight was really nice again. We landed in Hobart on time, with our parent waiting to greet us. It was nice to see them all again, and especially nice to see my puppy dog!! :)

Thank you all so much for reading my blog and following my trip! It was such a fun holiday, and definitely something I will remember forever. I'm glad you could all come along for the journey with me!! :)

Posted by vansantjordan 16:32 Archived in USA Tagged melbourne sydney winter home australia newyork holiday summer usa hobart travelling a380 jfk losangeles qantas 747 newyorkcity centralpark a330 717 Comments (1)

New York City, and the NBA all in one day

New York City - day 33

sunny 4 °C
View USA 2016/17 on vansantjordan's travel map.

This morning we woke up reasonably early this morning in order to see the sunrise, as well as make the most of our only full day in the city. We took an Uber at 6:30am to the Staten island ferry terminal. We thought this would be a pretty common place to catch an Uber to, however our driver had no idea how to get there. He ended up taking a wrong turn, and we got stuck on a toll road to Brooklyn. The 13-minute trip ended up taking 28 minutes! Oh well, we didn’t have to pay extra for the wrong turn. We saw the sun was rising nicely over Brooklyn Bridge, so we went up to a pier to get a better view. It looked almost even prettier than last night.
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We then went into the ferry terminal, and got a quick breakfast from one of the cafés in it. The Stratton Island ferry is a free ferry that transports passengers over to Staten Island. Staten Island itself is of no significance to us, however the ferry goes straight past the Statue of Liberty, and offers great views of the whole city.
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It was a great thing to do, and much cheaper than doing the whole Statue of Liberty tour. We then walked over to the 9/11 memorial via Wall Street, and lower Broadway.
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It is just so hard to put into word, and fathom why and how the whole thing happened. We decided not to go into the museum, as it was quite expensive, however the whole memorial is really well set out. There are two large fountains placed in the footings of the two buildings, with the names of the victims around each of the fountains.
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There are just so many names! We walked around a little bit before heading back to our hotel via the subway.
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We had tickets to the Knicks vs. Hawks NBA game at Madison Square Gardens this afternoon. We had to get rid of a few things that we wouldn’t be allowed to take into the stadium. We dropped these at our hotel the walked down to Madison Square Gardens. It was only about a 20-minute walk down to Madison Square, so not very far. The stadium is so big and spectacular, and is also right in the middle of the city! We had only bought the cheap tickets, however our seats were really good. We were in the second row, in the 2nd tier. The seats were so comfortable, and the way the stadium was designed, meant everyone had a great view.
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The game was really good. The led changed all the time, and it was close the whole way. With 1 minute to go in the last quarter the scores were tied. The New York Knicks then scored a 2 pointer (everyone was excited). With 15 seconds to go, the Atlanta Hawks sunk a 3 pointer. This then put them up by one point! New York took a time out, meaning they gained possession from the sideline. The passed the ball in, took a shot, it missed. They got the rebound and took another shot, it again missed. Again, they got the rebound, and missed the shot!! Three try’s and missed them all. The hawks then gained possession, and held it till the buzzer went off. The Knicks had lost! The whole crowd was disappointed and quiet! It was quite an anti climax, however the game was great. It was such a great atmosphere and experience! We then walked back to our hotel to pick this stuff up again, and got a few pieces of pizza from the same place across the road. It was now early evening, so we walked down to Time Square to see the lights. It was again, not a very long walk. Time Square is HUGE.
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There are so many people, and so many lights. It was quite spectacular. There were also a lot of homeless people, and a lot of scammers, which was quite annoying. We stayed and had a look at the lights for a little while, then walked up to look at the main part of Broadway. It was now only 6:30pm, so we thought it was a little too early for bed, however we were quite tired, and had seen a lot today. We found a little restaurant we could get some fires and a drink, and just sit for a little while. We then went back to our hotel, and said goodbye to Freya, as she was leaving in the morning the next day.
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It was such a nice day today, and such a great city. We saw so much today, and it really helps that everything is so close and easy to get too.

Posted by vansantjordan 13:59 Archived in USA Tagged winter newyork holiday usa australian nba broadway timesquare brooklynbridge newyorkcity madisonsquaregardens statueofliberty 9/11memorial 911memorial statenislandferry Comments (0)

Hello New York City!!

Denver to New York City - day 32

sunny -1 °C
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We had to wake up very early this morning, in order to drive the hour to the airport and catch our 7am flight. I didn't sleep very well at all last night. I am sleeping on the couch in Wesley's lounge room, which is really comfortable, however his roommates cat kept on trying to sleep on top of me!! Anyway, we woke up at 4:30am, and got to the airport just after 6am. We said goodbye to Wes, and thanked him so much for all he did for us! Today we are flying with Southwest Airlines again.
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I would definitely recommend them to anyone travelling in the US, especially with a lot of luggage. Almost all the other airlines charge a bomb to checkin in bags, however Southwest allow 2 checked bags each, for FREE!! We have a short stop over in St Louis before flying onto New York's Laguardia airport. We boarded on time, however we did not move. The first officer came over the PA saying there would be a slight delay, as the pilot hadn't turned up to work yet!! I just turned to Thomas, laughed, and said, well thats something new!! :) Eventually he showed up, and did the pre flight checks. In total we were delayed a little over half an hour. Luckily we still made our connection in St Louis, it was just a little shorter than expected! The flights were nice. We got free snacks and free drinks, as well as free tv, so the time passed pretty quick. I don't know if it is the usual thing or not in the USA, but the seatbelt sign stayed on almost the whole flight. One of the flights was a little bumpy, however not too bad. It was quite annoying, especially when you have to use the bathroom! The view into New York was amazing. We flew so low, straight over the city! It was so nice!
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Yes, that is the Statue of Liberty!
When we got to Laguardia airport, we had planned to take the train into the city, however it seemed a little complicated and long, especially with all our large pieces of luggage. We instead caught a cab, right up to our hotel door. It was reasonably priced, only about $15 more expensive than public transport. We are staying at the New York Budget Inn, in Manhatten. It is quite nice. We have our own room with a shard bathroom. The room is very small, which makes storing our luggage a little challenging, however it was cheap, and in a great location! We are meeting one of Thomas' friends, Freya, here in New York. She has been in New York for a day already, so we planed to meet her at the Empire State Building, in time to watch the sunset, and see the city lights. It is only about a 10 minute walk from our hotel to the Empire State Building.
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We hadn't eaten much all day, so we quickly went over to a pizza place across the road, which had $1 pieces. It was really good!! We just got the pass to get up to the 80th and 86th floors of the Empire State Building. The 86th floor is by far the best, especially at night. I would not bother to spend the extra money to go any higher, the view will be no better. We managed to just see the sunset on the 80th floor.
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However by the time we got to the 86th floor it was dark. There is an open air viewing deck on this floor, so there is not glare through the windows.
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It gives an mazing view of the city, and a great perspective of Manhatten island. We then went to a nice little burger place down the road from our hotel for dinner. This is the first burger place in the US that I have been to that serves, what I would call, a gourmet burger. Everywhere else so far has served a McDonalds type burger with a patty, cheese and sauce on a bun. They have been nice, however this one had much more variety. We decided to go and take a train down to lower Manhatten to look at Brooklyn Bridge and take the Stratton Island Ferry. The closest train station to us is the famous Grand Central station. It is so huge and magnificent! It took us quite some time to figure out how to use the subway system. Eventually we got to the Brooklyn Bridge and went down to one of the piers to get a nice view of it. It was so pretty, especially with the lights of Brooklyn behind it, and all the planes flying past.
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What made it even nicer was the fact that it was a huge full moon that was sitting just above the bridge. We stayed here for quite some time just admiring it, and taking pictures. It had been a long day, and we decided, instead of doing the ferry tonight, we would get up early tomorrow and do it then. We then took subway back to Grand Central station and walked back to our hotel. It was sad to leave Wes and Colorado this morning, but it is so nice to be in New York City!!

Posted by vansantjordan 17:39 Archived in USA Tagged snow winter sunset flying lights colorado newyork city holiday usa subway flights brooklyn cold southwest laguardia brooklynbridge newyorkcity empirestatebuilding empirestate grandcentral Comments (0)

Packing 5 weeks of travel into two bags!

Goodbye Colorado - day 32

sunny 4 °C
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We did not have a whole lot planned for today. It is our last full day in Colorado, before flying out to New York in the morning. We first went out for breakfast to a nice little diner near Wesley's place in Fort Collins. I had an eggs florentine crepe which was really delicious! We then went past Walmart on our was home to try find some straps to make carrying all our gear a little easier. Between the two of us, we have an allowance of 4 checked bags, at 23kg each. Although this seems like a lot, when you are travelling for 5 weeks, skiing, hiking and camping, there is a lot of gear you need to take. Each of us has a ski bag and a suitcase, as well as a few carryon items. This makes lugging our big bags on public transport around cities very difficult! We had purchased a few things while in the USA, so we had a little extra weight than we did coming over. This meant when packing our bags, we had to try get each bag as close to 23kg as possible. It was quite a challenge, but we got there in the end. We spent most of the rest of the day, lazing around not doing a whole lot. We went out to a barbecue place in old town Fort Collins for dinner. It was really delicious. This was my first time going to old town Fort Collins. It is really nice, with fairy lights all through the trees, and even a little ice skating rink set up.
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We got ice cream and then went back home. It was going to be an early morning the next morning, so it wasn't a very late night. Both Thomas and I really enjoyed our time in Colorado, and surrounding areas. We got to do, and see a heap of amazing things, with our great friend a cousin Wes! It going to be sad to say goodbye, but looking forward to the last few days in the big apple!

Posted by vansantjordan 19:54 Archived in USA Tagged snow winter colorado holiday usa goodbye barbecue icecream fortcollins Comments (0)

Enjoying some corduroy on our last day skiing

Winter Park - day 31

sunny 0 °C
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Today would be our last day in the mountains, and thus our last day skiing. We packed up all our stuff again and checked out of our accommodation. It was a really nice day today. The sun was out, the air was crisp and the snow was deep. There hadn't really been any snow overnight, so there would be no fresh tracks today. This didn't bother us too much as we had experienced plenty of fresh snow in the last few weeks, and we wouldn't only be skiing half a day, so we could get back to Fort Collins on time. We decided just to ski Mary Jane side of the mountain today, doing a few different runs.
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We mostly did some steep, wide, open, groomed runs. I used my new carving ski's again today. Even though it was just a short day, it was so nice to be out on the mountain for one last time. We then drove back to Wesley's place in Fort Collins, and unpacked everything out of the car for the last time. Everything had to be dry and ready to pack the next day. Wes cooked us a nice pasta dish for dinner tonight, and we watched a movie before going to bed.

Posted by vansantjordan 10:13 Archived in USA Tagged winter skiing colorado end holiday usa amazing bluebird maryjane fortcollins winterpark powderday freshsnow Comments (0)

MORE POWDER

Winter Park - day 30

sunny -2 °C
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We woke up today with the news that 7 inches (18cm) of fresh snow had fallen in the last 24 hours. In any other situation this would have been amazing, however, as we are used to so much snow, this was just normal. When we arrived at Winter Park we headed straight back to Eagle Wind, where we were skiing yesterday. We did a few runs over here this morning.
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It was quite nice. The snow last night had filled most of the tracks from yesterday, and the untracked runs from yesterday were nice and deep. They opened a few extra runs today, compared to yesterday, however there were a lot of people skiing here today, meaning the runs got tracked out pretty quick. Once we couldn't find anymore untracked runs, we headed back over to Parsenn bowl, where the wind blown snow is always fresh.
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We did a few runs here, where the top part of the run is really nice, however the bottom part is not so great. We then went back to Mary Jane for lunch. We sat at a table with some nice retired Americans. One of them in particular loved talking to us about Australia and the Tasmanian devil. He also talked to us about his life as an airline pilot, a ski instructor for children with cancer, and skiing throughout the ages. It was a nice way to spend our lunch break! When then went back out and decided to ski the same groomer that we skied yesterday afternoon on Mary Jane.
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The fresh snow had mostly gone, so the groomers were the most fun. It was so much fun, skiing fast and in some sort of a rhythm. It was another really fun day, and with only one more day left, great to be on the mountain! We drove back to Granby, and decided to go out and sit in the outdoor hot tub. We were the only ones out there, so it was fun to sit out there on our own. We went and got subway for dinner tonight. We are not spoilt for choice here in Granby, for dinner options, so this seemed the best and most affordable option. We spent the evening mostly trying to organise our stay in New York City. We only have one full day there, along with two half days, so trying to fit everything we want into the small time frame is hard. However, I think we have come up with a plan that will allow us to see most of it, so long as we don't have anymore unexpected delays!! :)

Posted by vansantjordan 18:51 Archived in USA Tagged snow winter skiing colorado newyork holiday usa subway crash maryjane winterpark freshsnow eaglewind granby Comments (0)

A crash and a new run!

Winter Park - day 29

all seasons in one day -3 °C
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We woke up and drove to Winter Park this morning.
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It had snowed lightly last night, with the mountain reporting 3 inches (8cm) of fresh snow. We started by doing our favourite run from last time we were at Winter Park.
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Our expectations weren't all that high, as there hadn't been a significant amount of snow. Our expectations were about right. It definitely wasn't as good as last time, but it was still a nice run. We did two runs here, and then Wesley's goggles were fogging up, so we stopped to change the lens and have a hot chocolate. We then heard that Panoramic lift had just opened. We had ridden this lift before, however more terrain had been opened since we last rode it.
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The wind was very strong today, blowing over the back of the hills. This meant that snow was getting blown into the bowl, giving it a really nice surface. The run was not all that steep, especially at the bottom, but the snow was great. On the second run here, I had quite a large crash down the bottom of the first hill. I was skiing beside a clump of trees, however there was a large hole there that I didn't see.
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I was going quite fast, so when I went into the hole my skies dug into the snow, launching me up into the air. I was very lucky that the snow was soft, otherwise it would have heart a whole lot more than it did. We liked the top part of this run a lot, however the lack of vertical on the bottom part of the run, and the long lift ride, put us off a little bit. When we got to the bottom of the run, we saw on the board that Eagle Wind chair was now open. This was the first time for the whole season that this chair would be open; Fresh tracks!! What made this even more exciting was the fact that the terrain on this run looked amazing. It was steep (no beginners slowing us down!! :) ), and lots of well spaced out trees. We headed over to this run, and we were one of the first over there. The run was amazing.
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So much steeper than panoramic, and lots of fresh snow. This chair lift only operated until 2:15pm, meaning we only had time for 4 runs, but they were the best four runs of the day! We have been so lucky with our snow. Either we have had lots of fresh snow, or a new run would open, giving us fresh snow!! Once the chair closed, we went back to our car and had a late lunch. After lunch we did a few more runs back on the Mary Jane side of the mountain.
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I decided to put my new Carving ski's on to give them a go, as the snow was pretty great for them. I love them so much. They are so much fun on the steep groomed runs. I can go so fast, yet feel as if I have much more control! We finished our day just before 4pm, making this our longest day skiing so far! We went back to our accommodation in Gramby. Because of the strong wind, snow was getting blown over the road, making for very poor visibility.
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Needless to say it was a slow drive home. We got take away Chinese from Pearl Dragon, as we have no kitchen at our accommodation. It was another great day, we feel so lucky to have had such amazing luck! Just two more days skiing before heading back to Fort Collins, and the New York City! :)

Posted by vansantjordan 17:31 Archived in USA Tagged snow winter skiing colorado holiday usa chinese crash winterpark freshsnow eaglewind granby Comments (0)

The day with so much promise

That became so disappointing!! - day 28

snow -2 °C
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We woke up early again this morning, in preparation for driving up to the mountain again. We were going to head up to Copper Mountain again as they had received the most amount of snow. In fact, they had receive 16 inches (41cm) of fresh snow in the last 24 hours!! We were all super pumped for the day ahead of fresh, deep snow! The drive to the mountain takes one of the main interstate highways, I70. This heads over the mountains, up to an altitude of over 3000 meters, and weaves through some deep gullies. Due to the high altitude, steep cliffs and significant snow falls, the avalanche risk was extremely high. We got to within 50 km of the ski field, before the road was closed. The internet was saying it would take about 3 hours to clear. By this time it was 10am, so we would still get a few hours of skiing in the afternoon when the road opens. Eventually the traffic started to move, great! However, they were diverting the traffic back onto the interstate heading back towards Denver. The road was still closed, and would remain close for some time. There goes our powder day! More so, we had accommodation booked in Gramby, which is close to Winter Park, for the night. All the access roads to Gramby were also closed! We stopped at a McDonalds in Idaho Springs, to hopefully wait for some roads to open. One road into Gramby eventually opened at about 3:30pm, thank goodness! We then drove the 2 hours to our accommodation in Gramby. We are staying at the same place as the last time we were here, the Inn at Silvercreek. Even though the day was disappointing, not many people made it to the mountain today, meaning the snow should be nice and fresh for us still tomorrow!

Posted by vansantjordan 18:07 Archived in USA Tagged mountains snow winter skiing colorado holiday usa sad disappointing coppermountain freshsnow whitechristmas roadclosure Comments (0)

An unexpectedly deep powder day

Copper Mountain - day 27

snow 1 °C
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We drove up to Copper Mountain this morning, with not real high expectations for the day. They had reported 9 inches (22cm) of fresh snow in the last 24 hours, 6 inches of this had fallen during the day yesterday. It was, however, quite warm, meaning the snow would be quite wet. When we got up to Copper, it had been snowing heavily all morning. Another 5 or so inches (13cm) had fallen since the last report, meaning a total of 14 inches (35cm) had fallen in the last 24 hours!! It was going to be a powder day!! We started by doing a run down the alpine chair.
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The snow was so deep and the run was so steep. It was so much fun, but so tiring. Also, due to the warm weather, the wet snow was quite heavy, making it even harder. It would have been nice to stay on this run all day, but we would have only been able to do 3 or 4 runs in the day. We ended up doing two runs here, then heading over to the Super Bee lift.
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We found one section of the run, the treble cliff, had extremely nice snow. It seemed to be dryer than most of the other snow, making it much easier to ski through. The rest of the run was quite nice, but this part of the run was by far our favourite. We stayed on this run for the rest of the day. It continued to snow heavily throughout the day, meaning the depth continued to increase. Also, there weren't many people on the mountain, so there was more snow for us. We had another really enjoyable day. It is unbelievable how much fresh snow we have had on our trip so far. We have been so lucky! We then drove back to Fort Collins for the night. We got some chicken wings for dinner tonight. As it was Monday night, wings were only 50 cents each, and they were delicious! Tomorrow we would be heading up to the mountain again, however we have rented a place up there again, meaning less driving for a few days.

Posted by vansantjordan 19:15 Archived in USA Tagged mountains snow winter skiing colorado holiday usa coppermountain freshsnow whitechristmas Comments (0)

Trying something new!

Eldora Mountain Resort - day 26 (day 25 was a rest day)

snow -1 °C
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Yesterday we didn't really do much. We just had a rest day after a few weeks of non stop adventure, and knowing we had a pretty jam packed rest of our trip. It was nice to just chill out and not do a whole lot. Today we went up to Eldora Mountain Resort. It is much closer to Fort Collins than the other resorts, so we thought we would give it a go. It was quite a nice little resort. It has had a bit of fresh snow, and it was snowing quite heavily today, however the snow wasn't real deep. The tree skiing also wasn't that ideal as the trees were quite dense. We had a really nice day though, skiing some of the main runs. We started skiing out in the Carona Bowl.
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They say that the runs are black diamonds, however they aren't quite as difficult as most black diamonds I have skied. The runs were really nice though. Wide, relatively open, not many people and a dusting of fresh snow on top. However, after lunch, the chair lift had mechanical issues, so the bowl was closed. We then headed over Indiana Peaks and found another nice run over there.
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It was still a black diamond run, however it seemed even less steep than Carona Bowl. It was nice to be on some nice wide open runs though, and be able to go fast and get some consistent turns in, something you don't get to do when you go tree skiing. We finished the day relatively early at 2:30pm. We all really enjoyed our selves today at Eldora. It was something different to all the other mountains we have skied at. We went into to the town of Boulder and got a nice coffee before heading back to Fort Collins. Thomas cooked us a nice Chinese Chicken and Corn soup for dinner tonight. We watched a movie before heading to bed.

Posted by vansantjordan 20:21 Archived in USA Tagged snow winter skiing colorado ski holiday usa coffee boulder powder fortcollins freshtracks eldora blackdiamond Comments (0)

Have you ever wondered what -37 degrees feels like?

Well I can now tell you!! - day 24

sunny -37 °C
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Today is going to be a pretty lazy day. We are just driving from Craig, back to Fort Collins, finishing out 3,500 mile road trip. It was an extremely cold night, and never really warmed up during the day. When we woke up it was -37 degrees Celsius outside. Needless to say i was very glad we weren't camping anymore. Stepping outside was painful. As soon as we opened the door to outside, a huge stream of steam came flowing through the door. It was like opening a door to a freezer, but colder. Once you step outside, anything that had any moisture would almost instantly freeze. We packed up our room, and then packed the car. It was hard work, and very painful packing the car. We then tried to start the car to warm it up. It was so cold it wouldn't start. It took about 5 minutes of trying, before it finally started. We left it running for about 10 minutes before leaving, to try and warm it up. We then started our 4 hour drive back to Fort Collins. It was a really nice drive. It started going through some pine forrest hills.
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Then through some flat plains, with some huge mountains in the distance.
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Then into the mountains, and through some deep valleys.
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When we got to Fort Collins we emptied the car, dried out all our camping gear, and washed all our smelly clothes. We cooked a nice beef stir fry for dinner.

Posted by vansantjordan 15:07 Archived in USA Tagged mountains snow winter colorado holiday usa camping cold roadtrip craig freezing fortcollins -37 Comments (0)

Waist deep powder

Last day at Steamboat - day 23

sunny -15 °C
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This first thing I did this morning after I woke up, was to check the snow report. 20 inches (50cm) of fresh snow had fallen in the last 24 hours!! That is a lot of snow!! It was still snowing on the mountain, however it was forecast to clear throughout the day. By the time we got to the mountain another few inches had fallen, bringing the total fresh snow to about 2 feet (60cm) in 24 hours over the whole mountain. It was very windy last night also, so there were some snowdrifts much deeper than this! There were a lot of people on the mountain today, hoping to take advantage of this fresh snow. We headed straight over to the back to see how our trusty run was doing.
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As it was not snowing today, after you ski a section, the fresh snow there is gone. Due to this the fresh snow on our run didn’t last very long. It was still a great run, but probably not the best run on the mountain anymore. We tried a different run, and the bottom part of the run was some of the deepest snow I have ever skied in.
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It was literally waist deep! We decided to try another chair lift to see if we can capture any more if this deep snow. We managed to find a run that had barely been skied, and was nice and deep.
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This run had enough snow to keep us happy for the rest of the day.
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It was such an amazing day! Even better was the fact that the sun decided to come out and we could finally see what the mountain looked like.
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It was an incredibly cold day though, probably sitting at about -15 degrees Celsius all day. We had an amazing time skiing Steamboat, and definitely couldn’t have got better weather! The drive home was very slow as there was a crash on the road. It took us about 1.5 hours to get home, rather than the usual 50 minutes. We got Mexican again from the same place as the first night in Craig.

Posted by vansantjordan 10:00 Archived in USA Tagged snow winter skiing colorado storm holiday usa craig steamboat powder freshtracks Comments (0)

Fresh tracks all day

Steamboat - day 22

storm -1 °C
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We woke up this morning with the good news that another 4-6 inches (10-15cm) of snow had fallen on the mountain. Even better news was that another 8-10 inches (20-25cm) was forecast to fall during the day, with another 10-12 inches (25-30cm) over night. That is almost a meter of snow in 2.5 days!! This got us all very excited!! We made our way to the mountain and headed straight to the same run as yesterday.
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It was even better than yesterday!! The snow was so deep and so fresh. The even better thing was that it was snowing extremely heavily, so after we had skied the fresh snow out of one section of the run, we would go over to the other side of the run and our tracks would be filled up again!! We skied the same run all day, and got fresh tracks all day! It was amazing, At one stage Wesley went off a drop, and didn’t quite land it. Luckily the snow is so soft that when you crash it is like falling onto a cushion. However, this soft snow was also kind of our enemy. As he crash-landed, one of his ski’s fell off, and got buried in the snow. It took us about half an hour of digging to try and find this ski, but luckily we eventually did!! As it was snowing all day, and windy, the visibility was very poor.
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It was an awesome day, and by far the best snow I have skied in! When we got back to our car, it was covered in snow, showing how much snow had fallen.
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We were all exhausted after a fun day skiing the pow, but so happy and excited for more tomorrow! We ordered pizza for dinner, and watched another movie before another early night!

Posted by vansantjordan 16:36 Archived in USA Tagged snow winter skiing colorado storm holiday usa craig steamboat powder freshtracks Comments (0)

First day of shredding Steamboat

Finding fresh tracks - day 21

snow -3 °C
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We woke up to about 1/2 a foot of fresh snow outside (15cm).
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This was very exciting as we are heading to Steamboat ski field for our first day of skiing today. Unfortunately Steamboat hadn't had quite as much snow as Craig, with about 4 inches falling on the mountain (10cm), which is still a decent dump. We were all very excited to go and explore a new mountain. It snowed quite heavily all day, which meant even more fresh snow. We had a little explore around the mountain in the morning to try and find the best area to ski. It was quite difficult as the visibility was very poor, however we managed to have a look at most parts of the mountain. We didn't really find any runs that stood out as amazing, so we stopped off at the 4 points lodge for lunch. After lunch we decided to try a run down this lift, and it was amazing. We went through the trees, and the snow was deep and fresh. The run was steep enough, and the trees weren't too dense. We stayed on this run for the rest of the afternoon as it was so good.
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The red line shows the run that we did for the rest of the day

The afternoon definitely made up for the average morning, and we all left the slopes with a smile on our face!
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We drove back to Craig, got Mcdonalds for dinner, and watched a movie before bed. Another great day on the mountains, and a great way to start our 3 days at Steamboat!!

Posted by vansantjordan 17:53 Archived in USA Tagged snow winter skiing colorado holiday usa craig steamboat powder Comments (0)

The journey to Steamboat

the last 3 days of our road trip - days 18, 19 and 20

storm -2 °C
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Day 18

At 6am this morning, Australia would be coming into 2017. To celebrate, we decided to set an alarm for 5:30am, and call home to celebrate with them. It was nice to see and hear from them all again and to celebrate the end of another year. It wasn't as cold this morning, probably about -3 degrees celsius, so much warmer than yesterday!! We didn't have a whole lot planned for today. We would just be driving from Bryce to Moab, where we would stay for the night. It is about a 5 hour drive, back through the desert. It wasn't an overly interesting drive, but we managed to entertain ourselves by playing some music games, guessing the songs and artists. When we got to Moab we shopped at our trusty City Market for dinner stuff. Most things were closed in the town as it was New Years Eve, so we decided to just set up camp at the same spot as last time, Big Bend Campground.
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We played a bit of frisbee in the carpark before cooking up a nice curry for dinner. Even though it wasn't the most interesting day, it was nice to be out of the snow again, and camping in slightly warmer tents.

As it was New Years Eve, I spent a bit of time reflecting on my past year. It has probably been the hardest year so far. However, I have achieved a lot this year. I started off the year working full time, not really knowing where my future would take me. Throughout the year I have travelled to New Zealand, Canberra, Melbourne and now the USA. I have skydived. I have learned to fly, and attained my Private Pilots Licence. I have passed two post graduate university subjects that I thought would be impossible. And most importantly, I have found a direction I want to take my life. Even though 2016 has been a very challenging year, it has also been a great year. I look forward to the adventures 2017 brings!!

We wanted to celebrate the beginning of the new year, however, as we had been going to bed at around 8am, there was no way we would be able to stay up to midnight. We also didn't want to ruin the next day by depriving ourselves of sleep. We decided to go to bed and set an alarm for 11:55pm, wake up, have a drink of whisky, count in the new year, then go back to sleep! It wasn't a usual way of celebrating the new year, but it was good enough for us.

day 19

Today we are going into our 5th and final national park on our road trip, Canyonlands National Park. We managed to pack up our tents and get into the park by just after 8am. We were planning on just having a cruisy day, looking at just the main attractions. We started at the Mesa Arch. It is just a 5 minute walk from the main road and is truely spectacular.
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We got there at a pretty perfect time. The sun was just coming up, and the orange rock was really glowing. We decided to walk around to a peak that we could see. This gave us a different view of the arch, as well as the canyons below it.
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We then drove round to grand view overlook and white rim overlook.
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Even though the views were really spectacular, it was hard to appreciate them after visiting the Grand Canyon. When then drove round to Upheaval Dome, and did the walk up to the first lookout. The sign said the walk was 1 mile and would take 1 hour round trip. It literally took us 5 minutes to walk up, and 2 minutes to walk down. We were walking reasonably fast, however I can't understand how anyone can take an hour to do this walk! The lookout gave us a view of a huge crater, with a big green dome in the middle.
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It was quite amazing, and fascinating reading about its possible formation. We had an early lunch, the drove a few hours to Grand Junction for the night. We had originally planned on staying in Moab for another night, however we knew a storm was coming, and we wanted to be able to get to Steamboat before the storm hit. We found some free camping in some public land. This was also a place where locals would go shooting, so we decided it would be best to wait till it was dark before we set up, so hopefully they were all in bed. We went and hung out at a cafe with wifi for a while, then got a burger for dinner before going back to set up camp.

day 20

We got up early again today, to try and avoid the storm. We packed up our tents for the last time, and drove about 3 hours to a town called Craig. This town is about 45 minutes from the Steamboat ski field, and will be where we will base ourselves for the next few days. About an hour out of Craig it started snowing extremely heavily; The storm was here. We managed to check into our motel room at the Travellers Inn early.
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This meant we had somewhere warm and dry to relax. It was nice to be in some sort of civilization again, with a shower and a couch to sit on. We ventured out of the room twice today, once to walk to the shop to buy lunch, and another time to go to a little Mexican place to buy dinner. It was nice to have an easy, relaxing day after a few weeks of no stop excitement. The snow did not stop all day, and is not meant to stop for a few days yet!! Bring on the POW!! :)

Posted by vansantjordan 16:50 Archived in USA Tagged snow winter colorado storm utah holiday usa roadtrip moab nye canyonlands nationalpark newyearseve Comments (0)

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