A few things I have been wanting to do for the past couple of years, especially since I lost the bulk of my weight and felt I could do these things were downhill snow skiing and cross country skiing. I am happy to say I accomplished both of these within a months’ time. Yay!
In December, we made an annual trek down to Spearfish, SD (about a 4-5 hour drive from Hazen) with a friend and stayed at our friends’ parents beautiful home. All together there was 6 of us visiting that weekend. We did the typical things like go out in Deadwood to gamble and drink and out to eat at a few fun places. But, this year, we also made it over to Terry Peak to go skiing. I wasn’t sure leading up to this weekend if it would happen as we haven’t had hardly any snow and neither has South Dakota. Luckily the temps cooled off enough, it snowed a bit and they made enough snow so we could go. We were lucky they were just opening up and had discounted lift tickets. I don’t have anything to compare this to but I felt the staff was extremely nice, welcoming, laid back and fun. My friends skiing with me were all pros (well in my eyes anyway), so they gave me some instructions on how to get into my skis and we were off. If you want profession instructors, they do offer that for adults and they have more on their excellent website – you can see the snow amounts and even a live webcam. (Photos above and below from Terry Peak – we kept our phones far away from the moisture!)
Skiing is harder than it looks. We went up the bunny hill (via the snow carpet which is like an enclosed escalator to the top of the hill) and my first time down was a disaster. The second time was slightly better and then my husband thought it was a good idea to go up the ski lift up the mountain. I was not ready for that. I seriously was about to cry I fell so much and was so frustrated with myself – it is super hard to get up until you figure out a system. Once we made it down, I encouraged the guys to go ski on the mountain and I’d stick to the bunny hill with the 3-5 year olds. I did get better and a bit more confident. I don’t think I really know how to stop yet. Oh, and I fell down once just standing in line? I don’t know how I do this stuff? I am not graceful on my own two feet let alone skis!
Luckily, we were all ready for a break at about the same time and headed into the lodge for a beer. We were surprised they had $2.75 pounders of Rolling Rock or Busch Light. What a deal. After a beer, we headed out for a few more runs. The weather was great – sunny and probably high 20s with a strong breeze. After a few more runs, we were ready to call it a day, go get a bite to eat and let my bruises start to form. We went into Lead where we went to Lewie’s Saloon & Eatery. If you want a huge burger and a huge beer, this is your place. I highly recommend this place for a laidback, casual and fun time.
All in all, it was a great time. I would definitely go again. I have to say though, if I go again I might behave myself a bit more the night before and not have so much to drink. Woof! Ha ha. We suggested next year to get an even bigger group to go and rent out the Terry Peak Chalets that are stunning on the mountain and have a fun friends weekend.
Moving on to snow skiing, I had made a mental note that the fitness center in Beulah had bought new cross country ski equipment for rent. Unfortunately, last year we never had enough snow to go. That seems crazy to say living in North Dakota, but even this year we have had very little cold temps or snow. Please, don’t take that as a complaint. I had been itching to go and with the bit of snowfall we had over Christmas, I thought I could get out. Sure enough, I saw the fitness center post they’d be available for rent on January 2. I texted a girlfriend to see if she’d want to come with and she was on board. We went and rented the skis for the weekend (a total steal for $10 for the WHOLE weekend) and took off to the Beulah golf course, called Black Sands Golf Course.
Our equipment was very nice and very new. In fact, all the equipment my girlfriend used was new out of the box! With your rental you get boots, skis and ski poles. There were others out there skiing so we just kind of followed them. My girlfriend had gone once before but I was a total newbie. They rent you skis by your weight and mine were pretty long. They fit in my car though and were super lightweight. We had a great time going up the hills and across the surfaces. We were a bit apprehensive on the downhill’s though. We had a few tumbles but nothing major. We were lucky again with sunny skies and near 30 degree temps. I will go again. I understand they rent skis and snow shoes at the Cross Ranch State Park by Hensler/Washburn so if we get some more snow I might try there and take my Mom with me.
The day after snow skiing, a few friends went out to the Knife River Indian Village for a hike and I tagged along. They have a roughly one mile trail right at the visitor center and then two longer trails (I think like a 6 and 10 mile) a bit down the highway. This park is just outside of Stanton and showcases the great history of the tribes that lived here. We have so many opportunities for wildlife, history and beauty in our area and we just have to take advantage. I would love to go on the longer trails, especially when it is warmer.
The path goes right along the Knife River. I can’t wait to see this in the spring or summer when everything is green.
Not only is the path nicely maintained, but you can also get a history lesson inside at the interpretive center and ask the Park Ranger as many questions as you’d like. It is amazing to see what Native Americans used as tools and how they kept food through the harsh winters. It blows my mind that this wasn’t all the long ago that right by Stanton, ND, existed a huge commerce of villages. What a great outdoor weekend I had.
And, finally, just because I haven’t blogged about them a while – my cat, Brinklie, and dog, Winston, are still doing great. They run this household. Trust me.
Meow and Woof.