Yesterday was the eighth day of my western states road trip. I had finally hit the wall after not getting more than six hours sleep any night and only about four hours sleep the previous two nights. I drove around the mountains of the Beaver Creek/Vail area spending time in the 8,000 to 10,000+ elevation range. The sun is intense at that altitude.
Photo from I-70. I will have to see if I can figure out these locations and actual mountains next week. This is a view from Georgetown before the Eisenhower Tunnel (11,158 ft.) some 50 miles outside of Denver.
Kelley, my wife, asked me yesterday if I had passed out yet in the mountains. That is reference to when we drove her mother’s household goods from Eureka, California to Denver, Colorado in July 1999. I was driving a 24-ft Ryder moving truck through the Eisenhower tunnel and suddenly started getting all fuzzy headed and feeling like I was about to pass out. Kelley’s sister was in the cab with me and giving me water to drink and poising herself to take over the wheel.
Altitude causes strange things to different people. I have found on my last few trips that avoiding alcohol is a major factor.
In 2010 Kelley and I drank a six-pack of beer each at Park Hyatt Beaver Creek 8,100 ft. and the next day was ruined. In 2011 I was hiking at 12,000 feet feeling fine. In Keystone Ski Resort last June, after a pub crawl from the Denver Zoo to Loveland Pass (11,990 ft.), the opening night reception for the TBEX Travel Blog Exchange conference at the ski lodge 11,600 ft. had me feeling poorly and calling it an early night.
Avoid the alcohol or at least remain moderate in the high elevation or that expensive resort vacation might find you spending all your time in bed rather than on the mountain slopes.
Silverthorne, Colorado (9.035 ft.). This is ten miles west of the Continental Divide.
Dillon Reservoir still mostly covered in ice seen from I-70.
Sunset over Dillon Reservoir, Colorado.
I learned yesterday that the Rocky Mountain ski area resort properties are so inexpensive due to off-season renovations and repairs. Be sure to call the hotel and check the status of facilities. Many hotels I visited the past two days had restaurants closed, pools closed or even a hotel like Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch is fully closed until the first week of June.
Beaver Creek ski resort seen from high up on the mountain slopes. Eagle River flows west through the valley. Beaver Creek town is about 8,000 ft. in the valley and the higher ski slopes are up around 11,000 ft.
Beaver Creek, Colorado. In town there is the Sheraton Mountain Vista Villas and a Comfort Inn across the street from that hotel.
There are hundreds of condo rentals in the valley.
Westin Riverfront is truly on the riverfront in the valley.
Eagle River, Beaver Creek, Colorado.
I stepped in the river. And promptly got my feet out again. That water is cold.
View of the mountains south of Beaver Creek.
I learned yesterday that Beaver Creek was developed as a downhill ski resort for the 1976 Winter Olympic Games. The citizens of Colorado in 1972 voted to turn away the Olympic Games and the games moved to Innsbruck, Austria instead.
That is the only time in the history of the Olympic Games that a host city backed out of sponsoring the games.
View from Beaver Creek golf course to the north side of the valley where I snapped the high elevation photos of Beaver Creek.
Beaver Creek will host the 2015 Alpine World Championship. This will be the third time (1989 and 1999).