Feb
07

Rocky Mountain High

“She was born in the winter of her 31st year, coming home to a place she’d never been before.
She left yesterday behind her, you might say she was born again,
you might say she found a key for every door.
When she first came to the mountains, her life was far away on the road and hanging by a song.
But the strings already broken and she doesn’t really care,
it keeps changing fast, and it don’t last for long.

And the Colorado Rocky Mountain high, I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky.
The shadows from the starlight are softer than a lullaby.
Rocky Mountain high, Colorado. Rocky Mountain high.

She climbed cathedral mountains, she saw silver clouds below,
she saw everything as far as you can see.
And they say that she got crazy once and she tried to touch the sun,
and she lost a friend, but kept the memory.
Now she walks in quiet solitude, the forest and the streams, seeking grace in every step she takes.
Her sight is turned inside herself, to try and understand
the serenity of a clear blue mountain lake.

And the Colorado Rocky Mountain high, I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky.”PLQdivider

Lyrics are from “Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver, “he” turned to “she” and the age changed.

Photo Credit: Victor of Valencia for Free People  // FP Me

Love

Crista


Jan
31

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Moving to Colorado was an intentional lifestyle choice on my part. People always ask, WHY?

I no longer enjoyed the monotonous life I was living in Chicago, I craved more adventure than what was available in the city. 

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Rather than dressing in fancy, glittery attire for the begin of the New Year (as I would have done in Chicago), a couple of friends and I decided to tackle 14 miles of the backcountry in snowshoes. The beastly trail that took us to the 10th Mountain Betty Bear Hut was certainly the toughest trail I have ever hiked. After 1 mile, I was all “are we there yet…??”

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

After hiking 6.5 miles up the mountain in >10 degree weather, a wave of altitude sickness (that ended up lasting all night) swept over me. After hiking 7 miles up the mountain, I could hear friends in front of me celebrating, they’d found the Betty Bear Hut that we would call home on New Years Eve night. I can’t describe the amount of relief I experienced in that moment.

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

The views in the backcountry are unlike anything you will see elsewhere in the world, you’ve got to put in work in order to lay eyes on that unobstructed beauty. If you can manage it, it is largely worth it, even with a severe case of altitude sickness…

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

2015 ended rough for me and 2016 began the same way HOWEVER I have once again recommitted to living the life I want to live without any apologies to anyone. Hiking up to Betty Bear (we call her the Bitch) revealed a confidence that I didn’t know existed within myself. I only admitted to no one but myself how nervous and anxious I really was to hike up that mountain. My lower back is equivalent to or worse than an 80 year olds, I suck at cardio, I lack stamina, we feared an avalanche, and although sunny, there was a chill in the air that kept our bones tight – this hike was tough but I I did it. I DID IT.

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

At the top of the mountain, not only were we greeted with breathtaking views, but an amazing, well-stocked, cozy-as-hell hut big enough to accommodate 16 people. Enough firewood to last an entire winter, sleeping pads and pillows, buckets to collect snow for melting down, and a rustic kitchen were just a few of the amenities that made our overnight stay comfortable.

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Over the holiday season, I lost faith in some people and gained mad respect for others. I am tremendously proud of the women and dudes that hiked to the top of this mountain with me and encouraged me to laugh and have fun along the way. Camaraderie is one of the main components that made it possible for us to summit and visit Betty, and camaraderie is exactly what each individual shared along the arduous hike.

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

What happens after 7 miles you may ask? Celebration, wine, lots of wine, a group-prepared and devoured dinner, yoga & stretching, cabin clothes, relaxation, snow collecting, sledding, laughs, s’mores, sleep, and preparation to wake up the next morning and make the trek downhill….

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

I have not lived my life the way I planned to when moving. Regretfully, my intentions and purpose were obstructed by love, fear, and anxiety.

On this last day of the first month of the new year, I am thankful for the Coloradical life I live and I am thankful for the beautiful land and people that surround me. I am committed to more of that from this day going forward.

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Love

Crista


Apr
08

Snowboarding season is over (for me)! Sigh of relief. We ended the season at Telluride, on the second to last day of closing, with very little snow on the ground -it was basically slush. Although I only got out on the slopes 3 times this year, each run was crucial in my growth as a snowboarder. Based on all of the emotion that I experienced during the process, I’m not sure I could have handled any more time on my snowboard this year, it was tough.

snowboard Nederlands

Frustration, exhilaration, anxiety, excitement, defeat, and growth are all emotions that I experienced throughout each moment that I spent learning to snowboard. There were times all I could think about was “this is bullshit! why am I even doing this?!” and then there were times when I screamed out “I’M SNOWBOARDING!!” with the biggest smile on my face and it was like the coolest thing I’d ever experienced. 

On my last run of the last day snowboarding this year, I took a hard fall that caused some pain and tears. Because I could feel myself improving, I got bold and tried to make some moves that I wasn’t quite ready for. Immediately, I knew that would be the last run of the year for me but I was thankful to have had that experience because “now I know”… After that fall, I got back up and snowboarded down to the bottom of the mountain without another fall. Confidently, I’m ready for next season and I’ve already purchased my season pass! 

snowboarding Telluride

Here are a few lessons that I learned this year:

1. TRY SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING BOTH
A few years ago, I tried skiing in Lake Tahoe. I took lessons and I went out for a few days on my own. I SUCKED at it and I wrote it off as something I never wanted to do again. When I made the move to CO, I knew I wanted to get out on the slopes, but people told me that snowboarding is much harder than skiing so if I couldn’t ski then chances are I wouldn’t be capable of boarding. Screw those people, I am way better on a snowboard than I am on skis. Good thing I didn’t give up until I tried both.

2. TAKE A LESSON
I took a lesson the first time I skied and the first time I snowboarded – I also watched several videos on YouTube prior to going out. Had I not taken lessons, and just freestyled my first time out, I’m not sure I would have gone out a second time. The lesson is well worth the money spent, you have to trust me on that.When I went out for my first snowboard lesson, I went alone. I didn’t feel like a burden to friends and I only embarrassed myself in front of people I’ll never see again. And yes, it IS embarrassing when there are kids flying by flawlessly, and I, the adult can’t keep my balance (and I’m screaming like a little girl as I face-plant).

3. GO OUT WITH SUPPORTIVE FRIENDS 
Luckily, I have the most supportive and patient boyfriend a girl could have. Although he may have preferred to be playing on more challenging (and fun) runs, he assured me over and over again that he enjoyed helping me and watching me improve, he never left my side on the slopes. I have a few snowboarding friends that I’ve asked to go out with or have considered going out with, but they felt like I would be a burden to them as I learn. Had I gone out with them, I would have probably felt discouraged and lonely – I’m glad I never did.

4. BE PREPARED TO FALL DOWN AND GET BACK UP AGAIN
Getting on a snowboard for the first time feels silly. Getting on a snowboard for the second and third time feel silly as well. I thought I was well-balanced (daily yoga) until I got on a snowboard. Mentally, you’ve got to be prepared to fall because it will happen a lot. I learned quickly that when you fall, you have to get right back up again, and again, and again, and again, I had a little breakdown on my last day snowboarding this year due to high emotion and nervousness. I only allowed myself to cry for a few seconds, I knew I had to get my ass up and get down that mountain. I think I felt more determined after the embarrassment of that breakdown, because I showed improvement. It’s ok to have a breakdown (I’ve talked to several people who have during the learning process) but it’s not ok to let it keep you from pushing forward.

5. GEAR UP
During my snowboarding lesson, I used rented gear. After that lesson, I knew that I wanted to pursue the sport so I began shopping for gear. I did a lot of research, I visited several retail stores, and I spoke to several different snowboarders before I made my purchases. I purchased a board that is ideal for beginners but will still serve me after I’ve gotten better at the sport. After I had my board, I took recommendations for bindings and boots that would work well with my board. I’ve heard horror stories from people who purchased the wrong size boot or a board that was “cheap” so I have no regrets spending the money I did and waiting to do so until I felt like I’d gathered enough knowledge. It doesn’t pay to jump in to a purchase (if you don’t believe me, you can ask my friends who did)

6. STAY LOOSE 
Nervousness and anxiety can cause your body to tense up. On a snowboard you must be flexible in the mind and in the body. Things happen quick when you’re on a board – one second you’re sailing down the mountain, the next second you are face-planting. You may only be comfortable with easy runs but find yourself caught on a more difficult run – you’ve got to be prepared for the possibility. You’re going to fall (for sure!) so you’ve got to keep your body in a position that will allow you to take the most safe fall possible and you’ve got to be mentally prepared for it to happen, don’t allow the fear of falling to hold you back. Practicing yoga and/or stretching before snowboarding is helpful and most ideal – it’ll prepare your body with flexibility to use muscles that you didn’t even know existed.

7. HAVE FUN
I once inquired why it is that people become obsessed with snowboarding. I got an answer from someone who has experienced the exact reason why people become obsessed with it, but I haven’t experienced it yet so I’m not really sure how to explain what he explained to me. The few times I was able to “snowboard” down the mountain conjured up sublime emotion and exhilaration, I can only imagine how that will be amplified when it doesn’t end with a face-plant. Snowboarding is fun, and even though the learning process is frustrating, every time I’ve walked away from the mountain, it was with a huge smile on my face.

This year was a year of discovery and growth for me. Next year should be a year of improvement and pure amusement. I can hardly wait.

Love

Crista


Jan
11

Rocky Mountains

I am absolutely obsessed with the Rocky Mountains. I couldn’t be more happy to finally be moving so close to them….

Rocky Mountains Rocky Mountains

During my recent visit to Denver, I stayed in the mountains a few nights, Breckenridge and Vail. Part of me would love to just move to the mountains, but the food selection isn’t as abundant up there. This foodie really really likes to have plenty of restaurants to choose from and Whole Foods. smile.

Rocky Mountains

However brisk, the air up there in the mountains is fresh and pure. It was hard to breathe in the mountains though, I will definitely have to do some adjusting to the higher altitude. 

Rocky Mountains Rocky Mountains

I could have taken a million photos of these mountains… and the trees… and the snow… and the sun… and the blue, blue sky.. and the life… 

Rocky Mountains Rocky Mountains Rocky Mountains Rocky Mountains

While parked in town, Vail, a black crow landed on my car and was walking around. It was bizarre, I’ve never seen a bird perched atop a vehicle. 

Rocky Mountains Rocky Mountains Rocky Mountains

“Those who travel to mountain-tops are half in love with themselves, and half in love with oblivion.” 
 {Robert Macfarlane, Mountains of the Mind: A History of a Fascination}

Love

Crista