Yesterday was probably my last ski day for at least a few years.

When I first moved to Colorado in 1995, I decided I should probably learn to ski, since everyone around here does. Mel came to visit that winter and was kind enough to show me a few things (she’s a very accomplished skier) and then suggested I pay for a lesson. I didn’t– I just kept practicing until I hit a plateau of mediocrity.

Over the years, I’ve gone skiing every winter, averaging maybe two times each season, and sometimes as many as four or five. Throughout all of it, I’ve maintained that level of mediocrity. I’m not a great skier, but I’m not terrible either. I can hold my own on the blues, and tend to shy away from the blacks (too steep and often too bumpy). It’s been good.

For roughly the past decade, I’ve had a tradition with a group of friends to go out once or twice, and yesterday was our day. We headed up to Copper Mountain and had a fantastic day of skiing. The temperature was perfect: not too hot, not too cold, and definitely not warm enough to turn the snow to slush and ice in the afternoon. It was snowing throughout the day, but not heavily, so there was fresh powder everywhere. I’m used to groomed slopes, so this was a refreshing change and, if I’m honest, a bit of a challenge since I’m not used to navigating powder and carving my own line.

Here’s the gang: Mark, Jer, and Jason.

One of the lifts at Copper has been “renovated”, and has big blue plastic bubbles that lower over the chairs while you’re riding. We laughed at how ridiculous they looked, but after riding the chair, all of us agreed they’re amazing. They’re warm and cozy, you avoid the wind, and they’re quiet so you can have a normal conversation. Maybe in a few years, lifts everywhere will have giant plastic bubbles?

After a great day of powder, we made the traditional stop at Beau Jo’s in Idaho Springs for some pizza.

I love these guys, and I’m definitely going to miss them (even more than I’ll miss the skiing). But I’ll be back… in a few years.

And probably still mediocre.