Ski Trip 2023
(The gentleman over my shoulder is a dairy farmer from Michigan. He and his wife have been skiing Colorado for 40 years. The beads around is neck are for the celebration of Mardi Gras).
Our 2023 ski trip to Colorado taught us alot about driving our Tesla in the winter.
Departing in February, we found that the available mileage on the Tesla dashboard shrunk considerably and we had to shorten the distance between charges. There is an on-board app that gives you an analysis where your battery power is going. It highlights things like :
Driving up hill more than downhill reduces miles produced by your "regen" system
Driving in cold weather increases the load on your battery
Loading the car with 300 pounds of ski gear effects the battery power
Driving over 70 mph (the speed limit in Kansas is 75 and I'm certain we surpassed that)
To counter the drain that halved our projected milage we:
Turned off our seat heaters and the car heater
Stop charging our phone on the car battery
Turned off our security camera
Disposed out half your ski gear (just kidding)
Okay, so we adjusted our expectations and our driving habits and no problem.
Crested Butte, CO
We last skied the Butte in 2019 and you could see the expansion of condos and resort homes but few additional hotel rooms. We decided to again stay at the Grand Lodge (every ski resort has a hotel described as " the Lodge"), the primary reason we chose the Lodge was the abundance of Tesla chargers on site and for all no charge (no pun intended).
Another improvement at CBMR is the Center for Adaptive Skiing, helping individuals with disabilities enjoy the sport of skiing. Each day we were on the slopes we saw three or more adaptive skiers and we are certain there were others throughout the resort. "Good at you" Butte.
Dining at the resort after 5:00 PM is impossible since every restaurant closes before 5:00. Now there are a plethora of good and even great restaurants in the town but none open on the mountain and or in any of the hotels after 5:00. We assume there is some official or unofficial agreement that encourages the people on the mountain to find their way to town on the buses that run every 15 minutes. It's a short ride or you can drive and spend most of your trip searching for a parking spot.
We spent a week at Crested Butte. Half the ski area serves intermediate skiers and the other half serves only black diamond and double black diamond runs. We stayed on the intermediate runs and this video will show you why. Click the frowning face to view video.
Monarch Mountain, CO
The lack of EV chargers on the back roads of Colorado had us reroute our trip through Salida, CO where we found a high speed Tesla charger and spent the night at the Loyal Duke Lodge on our way to Crested Butte. While in Salida we met locals that encouraged us to ski Monarch Mountain and since we had an extra day in the schedule on our return we decided to try it out. We went on-line to buy passes and found the ticket prices for skiers over 69 were free but for a $5.00 processing fee. Free, free, free
Monarch is an independent ski resort built on bare bones beginning and as one person we met described it, "Colorado skiing, the way it use to be". The marketing slogan is Real People Real Snow . Okay so things are reasonable if not cheap, we stopped for lunch and found enormous portions and when the waitress saw our USAA credit card she gave us a military discount.
During lunch it started to snow and before we finished conditions deteriorated so we decided enough for today and headed back to the Loyal Duke Lodge which by the way was named after a dog that wandered the streets of Salida looking for its owner who was unfortunately killed while building the railroad through the valley, and as you can imagine dogs and pictures of dogs are everywhere at the hotel.
At Keystone we stayed at the Hyatt and were again upgraded to a suite, we think because our stay is 10 days and we are members of their loyalty program.
Our friend Amy is now living in Colorado so we made plans to meet. Amy is a good friend from our sailing days. We first met in Bora Bora and sailed together with Sandpiper off and on until we arrived in Turkey. We had a great evening reminiscing and catching up.
Although our stay in Keystone was for 10 days we just can't ski ten days in a row, First of all your at altitude (the summit is 12000 ft) and then there is the weather. White out conditions or sub zero temperatures might convince you to take a break for a day. It's not like going to the gym for an hour every other day. Here you don all your gear and hike to the lift that will whisk you to the summit where you will spend three or four hours with a break for hot chocolate of a beer. Early in the afternoon you will say "enough is enough" especially if you qualify for a senior discount.
So what's changed since we started skiing years ago, well today 99.9% of skiers and snow boards wear helmets. We remember the days when a baseball cap with an alligator clip on the back to insure it would stay attached in high winds was enough protection. Of course skis change with advances in technology and marketing. GoPro cameras have come and gone, for a fee dogs are welcomed at every hotel and every hotel has a hidden resort fee you only learn about when you check in. Oh yeah and you see a lot of DOPE ski wear, don't ask me.
We also observed that people living in and around ski resorts where craft beer is king, are carrying beer in cans; on the bus, in the lobby of the hotel, on the elevator, walking down the street. Or maybe it's a can of RTD (ready to drink), or an energy drink with or without alcohol, or worse of all a paper cup of coffee. Why would someone buy a $7 cup from Starbucks, located inside of a grocery and push a cart with two small children. Hey sit down and enjoy your drink, I think multitasking has been taken too far.
Back in 2016 our website commented on the drive back from Colorado. When we entered Kansas law enforcement agencies were out in force looking for any opportunity to pull you over to search for pot.
Let me give you some background on the situation then. Kansas was out of money and every enforcement agency was looking for a way to generate income such as issuing citations for possessing marijuana. The reason for the economic problems in Kansas was the 2012 election of Sam Brownback as governor. Brownback was elected on a platform of cutting taxes and increasing spending for schools. With the help of Authur Laffer (a trickle down economists for the Reagan era) the wealthy in Kansas were provided significant tax cuts and by 2014 there were massive shortfalls in the budget creating a fiscal crisis. Finally the Kansas Supreme Court stepped in and ordered the state to increase spending for education since the children of Kansas were being harmed by the governors policies. The tax cut bill was repealed and Governor Sam resigned from his second term to join some religious organization. So much for the "red state experiment" as it was called.
The irony of the situation is that medical marijuana is legal in Kansas and a bill before the legislature would make recreational pot legal in July of 2023.
One last observation. Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. Sales of legal weed decreased $100M last year but entrepreneurial Coloradans have a new product, Oxygen. There are shops everywhere selling O2 to flat landers having difficulty with the altitude. Customers are typically not skiers but rather grandparents that have been roped into accompanying families with small children that the grandparents are watching while other members are out on the slopes.