Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring Break from Hell

It has been 17 years since I went skiing, and my kids have never been. We have talked about it in recent years, and this year I decided to fork over the Benjamin’s for the three of us to go skiing in Breckenridge, CO. I booked essentially a hotel room (no kitchen, yes small fridge) within walking distance of Peak 9. I attempted to mitigate some of the cost by flying at less desirable times: early and late. Leave on a Sunday (early), four full ski days, return on a Friday (late).

Fudge It Number 1 – Flying In
I made the mistake of going with a 6AM flight on the Sunday morning of daylight savings, which really makes it a 5AM flight. Great! So, we get up at what feels like 02:45 (actually 03:45) so we can drive to, park at, shuttle in, check bags, clear security, and board plane for what feels like a 05:00 (actually 06:00) flight. Daylight savings plus a one hour time zone change plus being tired sometimes threw me for a loop when wondering what time it felt like.

Historical Note: for Spring Break 1989 me and 9 college friends drove from College Station, TX to Destin, FL, leaving late on Friday night. We thought it was cool to drive all night.

Fudge It Number 2 – Wasted Time
My first day thinking was as follows: fly in early, rent car, drive to Breckenridge with potential for bad weather and roads, take our time, get the lay of the town, pick-up ski rentals, check-in, shop for supplies, have a relaxed evening. The weather was warm and sunny. The roads were totally clear. I knew check-in was later in the afternoon, but hoped they would put our room at the top of the list since we stopped by the office early morning. The folks behind the desk had the same expectation. After farting around town for as long as possible, and in my tired/board state buying a nice, expensive pair of sunglasses I will probably wear 10 times over the next 30 years, we crashed in front of the desk, waiting. The desk crew thought the room would be ready. Alas, it was not. We waited. They even gave us a complimentary bottle of wine and some chocolate and nuts (which we never did drink or eat).

Historical Note: for Spring Break 2010 the kids and I went to Las Vegas. I went with Circus Circus because I thought it might be more kid-friendly. Mistake. Place is a dump, the casino is lame, and it is far from the main action.

Fudge It Number 3 – Broken Remote
On the night of our arrival we watched The Walking Dead. I was scanning channels via the remote control channel up button when it just stopped working. The little red light would light up for any button pushed, but nothing happened.

Related Note: They no longer get to watch TV in the post-apocalyptic world of The Walking Dead. 

Fudge It Number 4 – Broken Ribs
First day skiing in 17 years. Did one green, then bunches of blues, and two blacks. On the second black, which I really didn’t intend to take but took a crosscut too far, tragedy ensued. Just a bad luck fall, really. It was icy and I lost it. Skied down the mountain. Carried skis back to room. It just got more and more painful. ER later that night. Three broken ribs, 4th, 5th, and 6th.

Historical note: Spring Break 1986 in Galveston. We were staying in a bayside house, along a boat channel. First day we were jumping from the top of the house into the channel. Climbing out of the water I kicked an underwater post. Four stitches on the bottom of my foot.

Fudge It Number 5 – Broken Remote, again
The TV remote in my ER room stopped working. If I pressed channel up or down it would turn off. I was thinking, ‘What is the freaking deal with TV remotes in Colorado?!?”

Related Note: I never have problems with remotes at home.

Fudge It Number 6 – Oxygen Tank
The altitude combined with me not breathing normally resulted in an 85% oxygen level. I had to carry around a tank with that damn tube in my nose.

Historical Note: I was once kicked out of Pat O’Brien’s in the French Quarter. I had to carry around that stigma until I changed shirts, removed the bandana from my head, and could re-enter without being recognized.

Fudge It Number 7 – Hot Room (but not yoga)
The thermostat was set to off, but there was still residual heat from the radiator. The room would get hot, and uncomfortable.

Note: By this time I was thinking I should have gone with my other Spring Break idea, taking in some shows in New York City.

Fudge It Number 8 – Claustrophobia
On my second night with broken ribs I awoke at 2AM. I was in bed on my back. I could not lay on either side; couldn’t really move at all. I was very hot, my underside was sweating. The back of my shirt was wet and clammy. I had that oxygen tube in my nose. My throat was dry, and also felt compressed. I had to get up. I HAD TO GET UP!

Historical Note: one weekend in college, in-between terms, with a bunch of people crashing at one apartment, I was prompted to get up. I did get up, and left, and returned two hours later covered in mud. Got no idea what happened.

Fudge It Number 9 – Pay the Piper
On my second night with broken ribs. At 4AM. I decided I wanted to go home two days early. I was certainly done, and the kids were done if I couldn’t ski with them. Got partial refunds on some things, but had to pay out the wazoo for the change in flights, both a change fee and a ticket cost difference.

Historical Note: The first time I ever flew was to Phoenix to attend a summer camp in Arizona. I was 12 and flew alone. They dropped the ball on the hand-off and the camp rep could not pick me out of the crowd. I got my trunk and then just sat around. I called my parents collect and was just beginning to panic when a cop came along to help me out.

Fudge It Number 10 – Bumpy Rides Suck
I parked remotely at the airport, so we took the shuttle. That damn thing bounced around like a stagecoach on a back road. Very painful on the broken ribs. I stood most of the way. Lots of curves, and those hurt some, too; the lateral stress.

Unrelated Note: … and the one-legged jockey said, “Don’t worry about me. I ride side-saddle!”


  1. Oh man, sorry laughing way too hard. The oxygen tank part had me spitting out my drink. Geez man, not good!

    Some of your resets were outstanding though... Given I was one of the "9 college friends", let me state I think we actually left post mid-night, so technically Sat morning. And you guys left me with a couple hippies. I was in trouble when at the crack of dawn they pulled the highlighter out of the glove box and asked if I wanted a sniff.

    Circus, Circus. Clearly a bad idea.

    Is the Pat O's story not also '89? Or was that a trip where ladies were in tow?

    Sorry to hear overall man. Brutal. The good news is you lived to write about it. :)

  2. Yes, Sir. Pat O's is also from Spring Break '98.