One in eight million – Share the stoke

I always felt like it wasn’t worth entering competitions, until now, I won the competition of a life time, and the grand prize was a holiday to a destination of my choice, Turtle Bay in Hawaii, Telluride in Colorado, or Laax in Switzerland. They also threw in a GoPro hero 4 Black and all the accessories to go with it! I love to think about the odds of winning that competition.

What did I have to do to win? All I thought I was doing was spreading the action sport love, so when the “share the stoke” competition came up, I shared Aaron Chase’s photo, and some other MotoX photos…that was it! Then I totally forgot about it, until I had an email from GoPro telling me I had won… My skills came in useful!

I always wanted to surf without a wetsuit but being a snowboarder I was always going to enjoy the mountains more than the sea, so knowing nothing about it we decided on Telluride.

The research I put into finding out about Telluride was second to none, and I have to admit, there wasn’t really that much being said about it…but every review I found said it was an amazing place…but I just couldn’t find any internet hype about the place…and true enough, I think that is one of the place’s best features…it’s not busy, it’s not cluttered with trendy people…it’s just full of friendly committed outdoorsy people who are all there for the same reason.

Our first impressions were that the hills were steep, the prices were proportionately steep, and the people were amazing. We didn’t find one miserable person in Telluride, and we had a full blown conversation with almost everyone we shared a lift with. There was no board kicking in the queues, everyone waited their turn and it was basically stress free! It also helped that the longest queue we had to wait in was about 3 minutes long…and that was just once…the rest of the time we could basically ride round and straight onto the lift with no queue at all!

The runs in general had a lot to offer at the sides, through the trees, with the off pistes and the hike to terrain parts of the mountain, there is literally something for everyone, even seasoned professionals who have done it all. There are 2 parts to the Telluride resort, a traditional town that’s easy going and full of smiling faces, then the mountain village, which is a purpose made resort, this is equally as easy going and full of people willing to chat to you. There is a free gondola that runs till midnight to take you from town to mountain village

Anyway, here is how it all went down…

Day 0
Pack up, take the van to Liverpool

Day 1
Get up, head out at 4am to Manchester airport.
Fly from Manchester to Newark in 6 or 7 hours
Few hours between flights then catch the next one to Denver, 4 hours
Few more hours wait in Denver, then head on over to Montrose, 1 hour
Then take the Telluride Express all the way to Peaks Resort Hotel at 9pm local time (3am UK time)
Drop the bags and then head for a drink and a hotdog over at Poachers, along with some chips…for the record, chips are nachos…lesson learnt!

Day 2
Get up, head out and grab the lift passes, which compared to our usual resorts in the French Alps were very expensive, coming in at $580 for 5 days, we later found out that this is a price worth paying but I won’t mention why just yet.
We were welcomed by blue skies and snow on every piste, it wasn’t fresh snow but the groomers made sure it was still awesome and fast. We hung around on the Polor Queen Express for a few runs, trying to hit some tree runs, but the snow was just too hard, we then got the Apex Lift up and dropped down into the Mountain Village for some lunch at the Crazy Elk. The pizzas from here were incredible and although I left full, I still wanted to keep eating. $49 for 2 pizzas and 2 drinks (BBQ bird + Intense italian), a bit pricier than our average restaurant but the food was good so I’d say it was worth it. Out to try some of the double black diamonds…we tried one off the Apex lift…and regretted it because the snow was bulletproof and moguled to torture us!

We were recommended to drop down into Telluride itself for Fish and Chips in Smugglers that evening, so that’s what we did. They had a great atmosphere and I loved being able to sit at the bar and watch ice hockey whilst enjoying my meal. $60.75 for two lots of fish and chips and a few drinks, I’m not a drinker…so the ginger beer was amazing, but Rich came away raving about their own beers: Espresso porter, oyster stout and scotch ale. They brewed them under the bar itself, I found that pretty amazing!

Day 3
I couldn’t go to America and not try bacon and pancakes, so we asked a lifty and he was kind enough to point us in the direction of Le Corcina de Luz…which was a mexican…and I had my doubts…but sure enough our 2 plates of 3 massive whole grain blueberry pancakes with streaky smoked bacon and maple syrup arrive…and it was amazing! A hot chocolate and a coffee (all ordered in spanish by Rich which was impressive) and everything came to $34.81. We also got some free chips and salsa to with our breakfast…odd for breakfast…but still enjoyable!

Then with full stomachs we headed back up the mountain and hit the Prospect Bowl and really enjoyed the open runs and rollers that these pistes gave. We couldn’t help but stop and think just how incredible this entire place would be in the fresh snow! Everywhere was so steep and allowed you to keep momentum, so on a powder day this place would be like heaven. Then we went for an adventure round the outside of the resort just to see what was available. We were still getting our legs back after not having been on a snowboard for a few years, so just sticking to nice plain and simple runs.

Skip lunch because we were still fueled by maple syrup and bacon pancakes, then head back to the Peaks hotel and hit the pool, sauna, steamroom, gym…as you do after a hard days riding…

Then we headed down to Telluride for our evening meal, 5 minutes walk from the gondola, Siam, a highly recommended Thai food restaurant. We got seated very quickly at the bar once again and then ordered our food. I ordered a Thai iced tea, which was incredible…but maybe not a drink for that late at night…it has a lot of caffeine. Asian spiced chicken jerk and some drunken noodles left us $59.40 lighter once we headed home. The food here was certainly my favourite of the week, the restaurant had a great atmosphere and the food was incredible.

Day 4
We decided to stay in the hotel for breakfast today and headed to the breakfast buffet. $35.98 ($17.99 each) gave us as much as we wanted, of fresh fruit, cereal, cooked breakfast, yogurts…everything basically…but my favourite bit…the make your own waffles! Needless to say I left that place with a full stomach of waffles, syrup and bacon…and it was goooood!

Then we grabbed the boards from the ski valets and headed down the the chondola (chair lift and gondola). Through the village and over to the other side of the mountain in Prospect bowl again. Did a few runs of the blues and then we met Steve, who was ranting about his friend who wouldn’t follow him down a slope. So I volunteered us to follow him on the runs he wanted to do…how hard could it be…so we get off lift 12 and hike up to the runs we want. We start strapping in at the top of Confidence…and as I peer over the edge…I start to get pretty nervous…I’ve never been down anything this steep and long before. Two skiers rock up, looking slick the first one puts in his few jump turns and I start to feel pretty good…how hard can it be. The second guy drops in, and on his second turn gets it wrong, very wrong, head first down the hill. His skis unclip and his poles go flying as he starts ragdolling down this slope, missing every tree that I thought might stop him, this is about 200 – 300 foot fall he manages, gets to the bottom throws his arms in the air and cheers. As I think to myself…oh…that hard….

Needless to say I was well out of my comfort zone going down that one, especially as the snow wasn’t great and it was very choppy. But alas, I am still here to write this…

Few more runs of the same area but slightly less steep, hitting Crystal and Geneveve to find some nice soft snow (a bit tracked out but softer than anything else we found so far, so we were stoked). We then headed down via the See Forever route, and this run lasts so long and lets you get up so much speed we loved it, then up to Bushwacker for more of the same, chasing our new buddy Steve down the mountain at speeds I felt pretty uncomfortable doing.

All done, hit the gym, pools, sauna and steam room, then head for tea at Brown Dog, where we were told we had to go. We were meant to be meeting one of the people we met in the hotel there for some food, but they didn’t turn up, so after being told tables would be an hour…or we could “jump in those bar seats that they’re moving from” we chose the instant option. The food here was nice, and the atmosphere was nice, but the staff were no where near as friendly as the rest of the places we had been to. I had the 2014 award winning Brooklyn Bridge pizza, and Rich had the noodles which were less than impressive. A few drinks here (Ferret Porter, and the local FaceDown Brown) and then we headed home. $49.54, not too bad.

Day 5
Being in a posh and fancy hotel, we decided that it was only polite to try the room service. Once again…I opted for the healthy option of Lemon Pancakes while Rich pigged out and had the Steel cut oats and fruit. A bit pricier than a normal breakfast…but just so easy…the man brought it into our room for us! $33.63 done and dusted…ok…I think I’ll walk and get my pancakes next time!

We went for for a quick few runs before we had to head to town, so we went for first lift (and made it), the guy who jumped on with us was nice and chatty and we spoke about how he used to work on some films with Warren Miller etc, one called the Blizzard of Aaaahs, we had a good chat and when we asked where he was going he just pointed out some peaks in the distance that he was going to skin up. He offered to take us over to the Revelation bowl, so I said that that would be great if you don’t mind waiting for us. We got over there and man was he quick down the steep stuff, we tried to keep up…but it was kind of like watching a toddler try to keep up with the big kids…at least we didn’t fall. He pointed out some chutes over in the distance and said that’s the hairy banana run…as me and Rich looked at each other…thats basically a cliff with bits of snow on it…anyway, we parted ways, and because the guy had been so pleasant to chat to I asked the gentleman his name, he replied with Scott Schmidt.

Moving on, the next part of our day I wasn’t looking forward to! We’d met Geoff who has a slot on his local radio station Koto Fm and he wanted us to go in and speak about our winnings! Reluctantly I went along with Rich who had kindly volunteered us, and we did our bit, got our song played and it was actually not so bad! Grab a few things from the Telluride Bakery (we regretted not finding this place sooner) to eat on the run ($10), and we headed up chair 8…which has the be the oldest chair in the resort…with no bar…I think I felt safer at the top of Confidence! We head into the trees off the top of see forever and hit up Captain Jacks and Logpile on the way through. The trees are so close together it was hard work on the body, but so much fun! Once again, in fresh snow this place would have been totally incredible. We had fun, had a few crashes and then met up with Alison (Mrs Geoff) who took us over to near the Gold Hill Chutes where we did some more runs through the trees.

Hard days shredding done and we headed to the bar for the burger deal in the hotel, a beer and a burger for $10…that didn’t seem right in this town! Anyway, it was lovely and came with some fries too, I can highly recommend it…however we took that long to eat it…then rested in the room…that we missed the sauna and steamroom…gutted! Fair enough….TO THE BAR! So we headed to Poachers again, which was empty, ordered some nibbles (hotdog for Rich and sweet potato fries for me) and drinks to make our wallets $19.24 lighter, then headed home for an early night before our last day.

Day 6
Today was the last day, and I’d heard a few folk mention that they wanted breakfast burritos, and being the impressionable eater that I am…I had to have one, great concept but I think ours were reheated, so a little less than fresh…but it still tasted goood! Ordered from the Steamin Bean (in the hotel) and a quick White Chocolate Frape and Americano, then hit the slopes with $25ish less in our pockets.

Today was park day, so we headed over to the Ute park, which had some well sculpted smaller sized blue jumps for us to get our eyes back in for jumps, by this point of the holiday I realise that I only have a handful of tricks I can pull…with confidence, but fortunately I managed to pull a few new grabs out the bag on the small jumps along with hitting some boxes (don’t be too impressed, they were easy boxes). This park was great, we ended up doing some laps with a lady called Mary Bella, from Texas who was going to be a pro golfer at some point. Needless to say, she had some guts about her and was hitting the jumps at full speed.

We did some more runs then headed over to the big park under chair 4, which had some pretty big jumps and some good sized jumps. We watched a few folk head over the jumps, not too bad. I hit the jumps, first one, nice and floaty, second one kicked you up, so I scrubben some speed so as not to go too high on the next…only to see the flag was black not blue like the first two…needless to say I hit the knuckle and tested the limits of my knees but just managed to hold it. A couple of knuckle hits later and I was landing well into the sweet spot. We had been told that the park at Telluride was pretty rubbish considering the quality of the rest of the resort, but we have to say that the park was well groomed, well sculpted and had a great variety of features which made it great fun to play around in, whilst also pushing your limits that bit further. It turned out that this was the first year that they were allowed to make the park big, so kudos to the builders, they did a sterling job of it.

We headed down into Telluride for some food, meeting Geoff and his daughter at the corner house, a nice little burger spot full of local people. From the outside it looked just like another house but on the inside it was a lovely little cafe with reasonably priced food. It’s one of those best kept secret type of places, but thankfully due to friends we were able to enjoy a good reuben and a drink before getting on with our souvenir shopping and found some great shops, my favourites being the hardware shop…so many shiny useful things! (this is where I bought my token Zippo). Then we headed further down the highstreet to Jagged Edge, a real mountaineers shop, full of awesome kits, from climbing to snowboarding, split boarding etc, the guy running the shop was a really nice guy so I felt bad leaving without buying something. (A wallet for my wife and a Mizu/Stalk It bottle for myself). We could have spent a lot more in that shop, so had to peel ourselves away!

Back up the gondola and hit the milk run a few more times before the end of the day, and the end of an incredible awesome weeks snowboarding!

Only to be topped off with a 7x Wagyu Steak and fries with a truffle sauce at the Black iron bar and Grill. Along with drinks this came to $74…but it was well worth it as it tasted beautiful!

Thank you GoPro it has been amazing! Big thanks to Cooper and the team who organised all the details of it all.

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