Just four and a half months since we cycled to the end of our Grand Gaspé Cycling Tour, we are on our way to another new vacation experience. This time we have loaded up our cross-country skis and are headed for the Rockies. Although we won't be self-propelled between destinations this trip, we will be “self-supported” during our stay.
With retirement comes plenty of free time, and an incentive to conserve funds. So when we heard about the volunteer opportunitites at Snow Mountain Ranch, a Nordic Ski Center run by the YMCA of the Rockies in Colorado, we didn't hesitate a moment before filling out the application. When the call came to say we were “hired” we were thrilled. We've never skied in the Rockies before, and are unlikely to spend the big bucks to go there, so it was the perfect solution.
It's a sweet gig indeed. For three weeks we will work as volunteers for 28 hours a week, in exchange for room and board, and access to 100 kilometers of mountain ski trails. They are putting Rich to work in IT, doing a PC upgrade on all their computers. I chose a more leisurely pursuit – working in the craft shop, helping others with their projects. The remainder of the time we are free to enjoy the amenities of the center, most notably the ski trails. For a couple of XC skiing enthusiasts, what could be better?
We have it on good authority that they treat their volunteers well, as they are the life blood of the operation. And in fact most of them return year after year. Some stay the entire winter, but newcomers like us are encouraged to try it out on a shorter term basis. I'm sure they will be checking us out as much as we are them. The staff accomodations are reported to be 60's style motel rooms – right up our alley having spent night after night in budget motels on our cycling trip. And someone else will be doing the cooking – sounds good to me.
We check in tomorrow afternoon. Let the adventure begin!