Story and photos by Andrea Sutherland
Rudy Saenz sized up the rail, gaining speed as he tore down the slope of the A51 Terrain Park at Keystone Ski Resort. Jumping high, Saenz slapped his board onto the obstacle, riding the rail up.
“It was pretty easy and I thought, yeah I got this,” said Saenz, a first lieutenant with 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
In the middle of the obstacle, Saenz biffed, coming down hard on the packed snow.
“I jumped off too early and the back of my board caught the edge,” he said.
Saenz said the hard landing and bleeding shin wouldn’t deter him from returning to the slopes or the terrain park.
“I’m going tomorrow,” he said, adding that this will be his 10th season snowboarding.
There are dozens of words for snow, but riders and skiers only care about one: powder.
“It’s been a slow start,” said Trevor McConnell, program supervisor, Adventure Programs and Education at the Outdoor Recreation Center. “Forecasters said it would be a slow start, but we would be pummeled by the end of December and January. … It’s hard to have a bad ski season.”
As the snowpack grows, employees at the Fort Carson Outdoor Recreation Center are anxious to help Soldiers, Family and community members gear up and shred the gnar.
“We’re concentrating a lot of our efforts on backcountry skiing and avalanche awareness,” McConnell said. “We’ve added a lot of technical courses to our program.”
The Outdoor Rec Center, supported by the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, offers several trips to the local ski resorts at discounts for the Fort Carson community.
“Get on the Bus!” outings to Monarch Mountain and Loveland Ski area take place Saturdays and Sundays (excluding Christmas Day) through April 7, weather permitting.
Transportation and lift tickets to Monarch cost $60 for adults, $47 for teenagers and $38 for children under 12. Transportation to Loveland costs $19 and participants must purchase their lift tickets at the resort, which offers a $15 discount for military members.
Outdoor Rec also offers trips to Wolf Creek and Durango ski resorts in southwestern Colorado Jan. 14-16 and Feb. 18-20 for $190. Cost covers roundtrip transportation, two breakfasts, two lunches and two nights of lodging at Pagosa Hot Springs. Wolf Creek lift tickets are half price for military members and Monarch and Loveland pass holders can use their free days at Durango Mountain Resort.
A trip to Winter Park Feb. 3-5 costs $260 per person, which includes lodging, meals, lift tickets and transportation.
Winter enthusiasts needing equipment can rent skis, snowboards, boots, poles, helmets and other gear for significantly reduced rates at the Equipment Checkout Center located in the Outdoor Rec Center, building 2429. Reservations can be made up to 14 days in advance and no later than two days prior to rental date. Visit http://www.mwrfortcarson.com/equipment-checkout-center.php or call 526-1993 for more information.
The Equipment Checkout Center also offers discounted waxing and tune ups for skis and snowboards. Services take between 48-72 hours. Visit http://www.mwrfortcarson.com/ski–snowboard-services.php for pricing and more information.