Hittin’ the road – I’m going to the winter X Games in Aspen, CO!

Often times, travel plans involve weeks of planning, coordination, and thought – and then sometimes, plans just present themselves as just the right moment. This rare, serendipitous style of traveling on a whim so delightfully brought about this announcement:

I’m going to Aspen for the 2012 Winter X Games!

Anyone familiar with my lifestyle knows that while I would like to portray myself as a spontaneous fun-loving road tripper, I am actually quite keen on practicing my planning and organizational skills before I hit the road. However, this was simply one of those opportunities where you just have to say “I’m in!” – and hope that it all works out.

Here’s how it went down.

Last week, entirely out of the blue, my wild climbing buddy Dan sent me a message that read something like this:

“Boue! You should come up with Adam! We’re goin to Aspen next week for the X Games – got a house and lift tickets, you should come play, plus maybe ice climbing in Ouray. Think this trip is right up your alley. No Excuses!”

Committed to using my time here in Colorado to do as much exploring as possible, this proposition immediately piqued my interest. Free place to stay? Check. Free ride out to Aspen (since my tiny Scion tC doesn’t take well to snowy mountain drives)? Check. A legendary sporting event with free admission? Check! It didn’t take me long to decide that I was in.

After a long week of deadlines, social media marketing, photo editing, and all the usual fuss, I’ll be dusting off my winter gear and road tripping out to Vail and Aspen for a wild weekend of skiing, snowboarding, and presumably, heaps of beer drinking. Can’t wait to return with a full report and a camera full of photos for your viewing pleasure.

UPDATE: I am so not going to the X Games anymore – oops. As quickly as those plans so whimsically came together, they rapidly fell apart. Between a series of miscommunications about driving dates, accommodations, and work schedules, it ended up in such a mess that I am sadly no longer going to be heading out to Aspen this weekend. Oh well, such is life!

As always, you can follow my adventures as they happen via Twitter (@themorningfresh).
Heading to Aspen this weekend too? Drop me a tweet, I’ll buy you a beer!

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Check out this sweet urban skiing video from the documentary All.I.Can

A few weeks ago, Hannah, a temporary addition to my Colorado family arrived in Denver just in time for a premiere screening of a Sherpas Cinema production called “All.I.Can” – and it would quickly become the object of her obsession, for good reason. As we sat in a crumbling indie theater, drinking local brews and snatching up free alpine company stickers, we became enthralled by the documentary’s stellar skiing shots, gorgeous footage of nature, and the general spirit of mountainous camaraderie that filled the venue.

The segment I’m sharing with you is from my favorite part of the film. During this clip, skiier JP Auclair ditches the slopes in favor of dominating the streets, car port rooftops, stairwells, and every inch of urban pavement in sight. Not to mention the fact that it’s all set to one of my favorite tunes, “Dance Yrself Clean” by LCD Soundsystem. Check it out, and thank me later.

[vimeo clip_id=”32863936″]

If that wasn’t enough bad ass skiing sweetness for you, check out the behind-the-scenes look at the making of this segment.

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Snow laden autumn trees, icicled juniper bushes, and my first snow days in Denver, Colorado

The news of Denver’s first snow storm of the upcoming winter season rang like church bells in my ears – my first snow day! During the days leading up to the first flurry of snowflakes, I kept myself busy with daydreams of messy snowball fights, towering snowmen, ski lifts, and sipping hot tea while peering out the window.

When the pioneer flakes fell from the sky, it was a dark and rainy evening in Washington Park. Everything was wet from snow’s liquid counterpart, but I still ran outside the second the falling water had visibly become frozen fluff.

It was nearly impossible to fall asleep that night, knowing that just feet away from my cozy couch there were inches of fresh powder accumulating outside. I awoke at 7:00 the next morning to the rustlings of a housemate who was wondering out loud how I was still in bed, then quickly bolted outside with my camera. Everything was blanketed in this fleece layer of nature’s softest stuff. I stomped around the front steps, startled a few passersby with my occasional shrieks of joy, then retreated inside to warm my toes before venturing out again.

Denver became this enchanted land of ripe autumn trees bursting with color that were shyly peeking through their thick coats of winter’s evidence. Unprepared for the sudden burst of snow, many trees found their branches snapping under the heavy weight of snow combined with not yet fallen leaves – but man, did it look beautiful.

Within two days, my precious snow had all melted away, and fall was upon us again. It was a little heartbreaking to say farewell to my first batch of winter, but I knew another was quickly on its way. The next big snow storm was perfectly timed with the first evening spent in my new house. We successfully moved everything from Washington Park over to the new place in Lowry, just in time for the snow to begin.

Dirty from all the moving, I hopped into the shower just after a light drizzle of rain began outside. I admittedly took an extra long time enjoying my steamy new shower, but I was still shocked to look outside when I finally emerged – there was at least an inch of snow coating everything outside. Once again, I spent the night tossing and turning in my bed (which is actually a tent pitched in my empty room). The night was brightly illuminated by the white storm.

The steady downpour continued throughout the evening, and when we woke up our patio table looked something like this:

Oh, snow. I love you so.
And we’re getting more on Tuesday!

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Record breaking snowfall, quickly headed to Denver, CO for my first snow day

While yesterday saw record highs throughout the tri-city area of Denver, Ft. Collins, and Boulder, tonight promises to bring quite the opposite. Up to 8-12 inches of snow are expected to fall in the Denver area tonight and tomorrow, an estimate that easily surpasses the typical average snowfall for the entire month of October: a mere 4.2 inches.

Let’s backtrack. Yesterday, my afternoon looked a little bit like this.

Denver saw unprecedented heat reaching a balmy 80 degrees on Monday afternoon, and I gladly spent the afternoon tanning – even got tan lines, mind you – outside under a fantastically blue sky. The trees in Denver are heavy with chameleon leaves in the midst of changing identities, and there are still clusters of lanky wildflowers lining the streets. This particular week in the Mile High City brought some of the most beautiful weather I have ever seen.

Today, Tuesday the 25th, things are changing. Newly arrived housemate Hannah and I took a walk through the neighborhood during the afternoon, and immediately noticed a swift change in the weather. The air was unpleasantly crisp, and the sun seemed to have taken a vacation from its usual post in the once cloudless sky. Quickly approaching snow day, anyone?

I’m indescribably overjoyed at the prospect of everything that tomorrow’s snow will bring. My first official snow day living in Denver, the snow delivers promises of early morning snow angels in the front yard, the construction of my inaugural snowman, catching snowflakes on my tongue, trudging through the snow for wine, and bundling up inside with hot tea and lots of writing.

The Weather.com forecast map for the next 48 hours of early season snow in Colorado has me giddy like a little kid. I can’t wait to bust out my mom’s sweet vintage mittens, my dad’s thick red flannel, my sweet new knit socks, and the slightly overpriced beanie I couldn’t resist at REI.

Weather advisories have been sending out warnings about the potential for major power outages, and I couldn’t be more excited. This feels reminiscent of the anticipation of an upcoming hurricane, except that this climatic margarita is frozen blended, while Florida’s natural disaster cocktail is served on the rocks. The eerie atmosphere and sense of impending doom remind me of the thrill that comes with an approaching hurricane in my hometown.

Speaking of Florida, this Miami gal has a feeling I’m going to have to do some major winter gear shopping after my warm weather wardrobe gets rocked by tomorrow’s miniature blizzard.

Happy Snow Day, fellow Coloradans!

Follow me on Twitter @themorningfresh for updates on my first snow day,
and travel quotes to inspire your own adventures!

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Snowflakes, chalky hands and quinoa for breakfast – the best of Horse Pens 40

I’ve kept you waiting long enough; it’s time for a hearty recount of my recent visit to Horse Pens 40 in Steele, AL. The best photos, the best stories, the best of HP40.

Spending a night at Matt Wood’s humble abode in Powder Springs, GA has become a climbing tradition to rival our obligatory pit stops at Cracker Barrel. Even better than the accommodations provided by our bearded friend are the treats his father always has waiting for us. Last time, it was homemade chili. This time? Well, see for yourself:


After loading our swollen bellies with good eats, we set off towards our final destination. Upon arriving at Horse Pens, we were surprised with an unexpected delight: a short snow flurry. As a lady of the Sunshine State, I was elated to be in the presence of snow, and eagerly ran through the campsite collecting flakes in my hair.


The snowfall quickly ceased, and our attention returned to climbing. The first day was a little damp, but we made the most of it by collecting some beta for our projects and fooling around on the rocks.

Day two brought beautiful weather and great climbing. Niko and I had to leave a bit early, but he was still able to crush some serious rock. As for Mulletino, it wasn’t a send, but at least I made progress. I’m stuck at the ‘crux,’ and as soon as I master the hardest move, it’s all jugs ’till the finish.


Niko and Ryan put their best efforts into a route named ‘Sliders’ before we packed up and made the trek back to Florida. It wasn’t a send, but it gave Niko a good reason to make a return trip.



Don’t worry kids, there’s 100+ more photos to come on Facebook. Until those get posted, here’s a few more shots to keep you occupied:


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Photos of the Day: Shredding snow in Fernie, British Columbia

A very special thanks to the talented Jaron Frost for sharing some of his stunning photographs from a recent snowboarding excursion at Polar Peak at the Fernie Alpine Ski Resort in British Columbia.

Jaron and his beautiful girlfriend, Kay, are the ultimate travelers. Skipping between Florida, New Zealand, Canada and across the globe, this duo defines the epitome of adventure.




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On the Youth Team Photoshoot, Lessons in Poor Lighting and Another Failed Climbing Trip

In an effort to expand my photography horizons, I offered to snap some shots of the Youth Team at the Tallahassee Rock Gym last week. My excitement for this new venture was very quickly diminished as I realized that the rock gym has terrible – read horrific – lighting during the evening. Nevertheless, I worked with that I had and was able to snag a few decent photos throughout the evening. To be frank, I am not a proud mama to any of these pictures, but I’m pleased that at least a small batch were worthy of being posted on The Morning Fresh for your viewing pleasure.

Next time, I’ll have to resort to harassing the Youth Team members with my spot lights to ensure that I’m able to capture higher quality photos. It’s always a struggle to find a balance between lighting and graininess when you’re shooting in the dark. The new Nikon has taught me that photography is a constant process of learning, adjusting and making mistakes.

In other news, the climbing trip to Rocktown has been trumped by Mother Nature herself, as usual. Silly me didn’t realize that every state in the Southeast, except for Florida, has been knee-deep in a snow storm. When the Weather Channel started spitting out warnings about “black ice expected throughout central and south Georgia roadways” and warning “travelers should exercise extreme caution in hazardous conditions,” I figured my little Scion tC might not be up for the challenge.

Instead, the famous Kendal Jackson will be gracing Tallahassee with his dread-locked presence, which means that I will be abusing my paparazzi privileges at the rock gym for another sweet photo shoot – this time with drastically improved lighting, thank you. As for the rest of my Thursday, the evening will be concluded with a tasty girls’ night dinner, and perhaps I’ll share a few photos if our cooking skills prove worthy!

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