Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Jackson Hole Ski Trip, Part 3

Okay last vacation post.  Well for this trip anyway.

Thursday was our last day skiing.  Sniffle, sniffle.  We started off strong skiing a few black diamond runs but our legs were so tired.  When my legs get tired I get lazy with turns and that's when I start falling down more.  So we spent a lot of time sitting on our butts on the mountain.  It was wonderful.

The sky was really clear that day and we could ski the valley.  We already started talking about our next ski trip.  Possibly Whistler or maybe back to Utah to ski at Alta and Snowbird.

We loved Jackson Hole too.  The little town of Jackson is very cute and definitely a cowboy town.  Matt fit right in with his cowboy boots.  I would love to go back to Jackson Hole in the summertime as well. 

Thursday night I had planned a little birthday surprise for Matt (his birthday was Sunday).  I made a dinner reservation for us at the super fancy Couloir Restaurant at the Gondola summit. I thought this was such a great surprise but I think I actually ended up with the bigger surprise on our trip! I kept the secret from him until Wednesday then I broke down and told him what we were doing and where we going!

When we got to the base of the Gondola we were served a cup of hot chocolate and Bailey's to keep us warm on the ride up the mountain.  It was a little bit eerie riding up in our little car in the dark.  As we got further up we could see SnowCat's out grooming the runs.  We looked for bears but didn't see any!

The dinner was fabulous.  It was a four-course prix fixe meal and the most expensive meal I have ever eaten.   We enjoyed a taster spoon and bread to start off the meal.  I enjoyed seared diver scallops, broccoli cream soup with a beer cheese fondue, and Yellowfin tuna. And we had a little trio of desserts to cap off the dinner.  I commented to Matt that I felt a little like a fraud eating at this restaurant but we had so much fun.  

Since there wasn't a bus going back to town right away we stopped back at the Mangy Moose to enjoy more Moose Marys and live country music.  It was a great way to end our vacation.

The next day we packed up and headed to the airport. Jackson Hole airport is so small that they don't even have jet bridges.  You walk outside and up the stairs to get on the plane.  

Since we had another layover in SLC, we HAD to hit up Squatter's again for beer and wings.  

Cheers to a great vacation! 

We arrived back in freezing cold Chicago around 10 pm. And headed back to my apartment for a good night's rest before waking up in the morning and moving all my stuff to my new apartment in Glen Ellyn.  Not the best way to come back from vacation but I really like living in the new, larger place. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Jackson Hole Ski Trip, Part 2

We finally made it to the mountain on Monday!  The weather was fairly warm and a bit windy.  But I was sweating! Quite the change from the usual can't feel my fingers for all hours of the day that I experience on the regular in Chicago.  

It snowed just a little bit on our first day.  We took our time getting reacquainted with skiing and learning how not to fall down the mountain.  Even though I consider myself mostly in shape and workout regularly skiing is HARD! My legs burn and I am huffing and puffing about halfway down a run.  I like to blame the thinner air in the mountains. 

Jackson Hole has two lifts that go all the way from the base to the top of the mountain.  The Gondola that goes to the Gondola summit at 9095' that about 6 people can fit in and sit down and the Tram that goes to the top of Rendezvous Mountain at 10450'. The tram fits 100 people and you have to stand.  There is always a line too so they pack you in there like sardines. I think the ride to the top is 10-15 minutes and as you go over the towers near the top the entire car rocks back and forth.  But you can't fall over because the car is so full.  It did get kind of interesting in there on the warmest days.  And by interesting, I mean funky smelling. 

At the top of the mountain, sits a little cabin called Corbet's Cabin named after this world-famous crazy-as-hell ski run called Corbet's Couloir.

The pictures are stunning but it looked so scary in the video that we didn't even go over near it to look.  The first two days we skied it was too windy and I worried that I would get blown to closely! 

Corbets Cabin is home of Top of the World waffles.  On Monday, by the time we got to the top of the mountain they had already stopped serving waffles.  They did have a few out for sampling though and those samples convinced us that we needed to come back the next day.  

These waffles were the bomb.  Mine was filled with peanut butter and really crispy bacon.  Matt went the sweet route and ordered one with lemon fondant and powdered sugar. They were amazing. 

See pure bliss. 
On Monday night, we hit up the Silver Dollar Bar with my uncle Randy.  He's a local and has lived in Jackson Hole for almost 20 years.  And he doesn't even ski anymore! He runs a snowmobiling business which we had hoped to do while we were in town but with all the flight delays we ended up having to cut that out of the schedule. I haven't seen my uncle Randy much but he reminds so much of my mom and the rest of my aunts and uncles.

Tuesday morning we hooked up with the complimentary mountain ski tour with our lovely ski guide John.  I raved about these tours when I was in Park City last year and I still think they are very worth the time.  John told us random fun facts about the mountain and the town and suggested a few runs or places for us to hit up on the mountain.

Tuesday night included more beer tasting.  We hit up Thai Me Up which is a Thai place and a brewery.  Sounds like a great combo, right?

I was really feeling the Feely B 
The food was delicious, but I was sad after I ate my whole meal because I wanted more. Skiing makes me ravenous.

Wednesday was more skiing and the proposal day.  It was our third day of skiing in a row and we were getting pretty tired so we took it easy.  Which meant I had a lot of time for picture opportunities.

Plus we get to see people run off the mountain with a parachute. They went a really long way too. 

Okay, last part coming up because this post is too long!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Jackson Hole Ski Trip, Part 1

I feel like that really annoying person on facebook because I posted a bunch of pictures of my vacation and then of our engagement. People are probably making gifs for #myfriendsaremarried right now about me. Oops.

This vacation was a little last minute for us.  We started talking about going back to Park City, Utah, for a ski vacation in December but there were a lot of unknowns with my work schedule (big project deadlines) and Matt's possible move.  At the beginning of February and still without a trip planned, we decided to start looking again.  We absolutely loved Park City last year, but I figured out that we could visit Jackson Hole for about the same price. Jackson Hole has had a crap-ton of snow this year (that's the official term) and I've always wanted to visit there.  Plus my uncle lives there so we would get a chance to see him as well. Soon our plane tickets and hotel was booked and I was counting down the days until we could leave.

Our flight was Saturday afternoon so I spent the morning cleaning and packing and then taking a few boxes down to the new apartment. Going on a vacation right before you are supposed to move is probably not an advisable decision but I did it anyways. I wasn't around to stress out about all the things that needed to be packed and cleaned so that was a benefit.

Getting to the airport was no problem but carrying skis, boots, a roller carry-on, and my purse makes me look hilarious.  I ran into several things with me skis because I kept forgetting how wide they were.  We had one layover in Minneapolis and then we were off to Jackson Hole. We ate hard-boiled eggs and apples during our layover and I felt like such a healthy living blogger, but I just didn't want the eggs to go to waste so I brought them along.  The second flight went smoothly for the most part but once we got over Jackson Hole I could tell something was not going well when we started circling. Jackson Hole was getting snow and visibly was crap.  We circled for quite a while and there was lots of turbulence which did not sit well with my stomach.  Thankfully I made it through the turbulence and instead of landing we took off towards Salt Lake City to wait out the storm.

We were so sad.  But the first thing I said when we landed in the airport was, "We better get some Squatter's beer!" And when we walked through the door of the jet bridge I was greeted with this

Dreams do come true.

Matt was all worried that the plane was going to reboard soon and leave without us but I convinced him to at least have a beer at Squatter's.  We ended up getting dinner too.

We could have taken our sweet, leisurely time because we didn't end up getting back on the plane till 3 hours later for trip #2 to Jackson Hole. The air time is only about 30 minutes so the flight wasn't bad at all.

But once again, we circled, and circled.  And then we headed back to Salt Lake City.  Jackson Hole Mountain ended up getting 19 inches of snow that day which made for some epic skiing on Sunday (and terribly long lift lines) and we missed it.

We were put up in a hotel that night with a flight scheduled for the next day at 7 am.  By the time we got to the hotel it was nearly 11 pm and we were back up at 5 am to catch our flight.  About 15 minutes after we got through security and got to our gate, we got a notice that our flight was delayed till 9 am.  So they brought us donuts.  This is by far the worst flight experience I've had and I know this is peanuts compared to what some people have had to endure, but I kind of just found this whole thing to be hilarious.  The weather did just not want to cooperate.  At one point, Matt mentioned that we could have driven from Chicago and been in Jackson Hole already.  I thought it was ironic that we could see the mountains from the airport and yet we couldn't ski them.

At 9 am, we boarded the plane and waited for our pilot to arrive from Denver to fly us to Jackson Hole.  The airport there has short runways so pilots need special certifications to land there. When he walked onto the plane a bunch of passengers cheered which was funny because we were still in SLC! Thankfully the flight was uneventful and we landed in Jackson Hole! I yelled "TOUCHDOWN" when we landed and everyone on the plane cheered.

By the time we got all settled into our hotel, it was already noon, so we skipped downhill skiing for the day and instead found a place where we could rent cross-country skis.  It was super windy and I had one sticky ski but we had a lot of fun.

The birthday boy cross-country skiing
We even saw a moose! Which really freaked me out.  I took off my skis just in case the moose decided to attack even though I'm sure that still wouldn't have done any good.

We skied for a few hours then headed back to relax at the hotel.  Traveling is exhausting and I needed a nap!
For dinner we hit the Snake River Brewpub.  This place was so fun! They have a brew kettle right in the restaurant that they were using when we walked in.  Of course we had to try the sampler round.

I ordered by first ever Bison burger and really enjoyed it. We left stuffed and a bit tipsy. Part Deux to come!

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