Dec. 3, 2012
A puff of breath mixes with the freezing air, creating a cloud of white. Fingers and toes throb against their warm restraints. Looking down, expert and newbie skiers and snowboarders slice through the powder that coats the side of the mountain.
Monarch Mountain accepts all challengers regardless of previous experience. About two dozen UCCS students will have a chance to go on the annual Ski and Soak trip on Dec 8.
Daniel Bowan, outdoor recreation coordinator, has been hosting the trip for three out of the five years he has been at the Recreation Center
“We take about 26 students up and go to Monarch Mountain, where we ski and snowboard for the day … after that, we go to the hot springs,” said Bowan. “We spend an hour or two soaking there before hopping back on the bus.”
Following a day on the slopes, students have the opportunity to relax in Mt. Princeton Hot Springs. “Having the hot springs is perfect,” said Bowan. “You can get all relaxed in the hot springs and fall asleep on the way home.”
The springs consist of four pools (soaking, relaxation, exercise and upper) and a creek. The soaking pool can reach 105 degrees, and the exercise pool remains a consistent 90 degrees.
The $65 price for the trip includes lift tickets, bus rides to and from the locations and a hot springs pass. Bowan said the offer is affordable in comparison to places like the Breckenridge Ski Resort, which charges about $90 per day for lift tickets alone.
For new skiers and snowboarders, Bowan stresses that Monarch Mountain is a great starting point. “Monarch is a good place to come and learn. It’s more family friendly. We try to do informed ski instruction for anyone that is new,” he said.
Bowan himself will be learning how to snowboard for the first time this year. Also just learning the ropes is mechanical engineering major Topher Modisett.
“I have never tried either one. I am going to try to snowboard,” Modisett said. He hopes his previous skateboarding days in high school will help.
Regarding this year’s trip, Modisett said, “All of my friends are going, and I thought it’d be fun to try it. It’s always something I’ve wanted to try.”
Students participating in the Ski and Soak should be prepared to last through a 14- or 15-hour day. To get to the mountain at a good time, participants will have to leave the school by 6 a.m.
Bowan sums up the event as “the quintessential Colorado experience to go skiing all day and then relax in the hot springs.”