So, the whole reason for visiting Colorado wasn’t so much for the jiu Jitsu but more to let Lilly and Kobe experience snow, living in the Pilbara of Western Australia it’s something they have never seen before. They were so excited they had been asking about it every day since we told them that we were heading that way.
As we travelled west from Kansas into Colorado the elevation slowly increased until we were a little over 5000 ft when we arrived in Denver. We had decided to stay up in the Mountains, so we still had a further hour drive up to the Ski town of Keystone. On the drive up it proceeded to snow, we stopped at a Walmart on the way to get the essentials that we would need, Lilly and Kobe were so excited to be out in the snow even if it was just a short walk from the carpark. There were some strange looks from the locals as these two weird kids were jumping around trying to catch the snow in their mouths outside of the centre.
We continued our way up the mountains and arrived at Keystone which sits at 9,280ft. We could definitely feel the elevation, even though we had been drinking a lot of water in preparation to assist with Altitude sickness. We ended up staying in a ski resort which was basically empty as the start of the official ski season was still a few weeks off. The first two days we decided to take the kids snow skiing, we hired some gear and headed off to the slopes. Unfortunately, nether of the two open areas had any lessons or real beginner areas open, so Dee and the kids got a bit of a crash course on what I could remember from over 20 years ago when I last skied.
We found a little training area and proceeded for 2 days to go up and down the little slope. We all had a great time playing around, Lilly couldn’t be stopped and had the best time, while Kobe enjoyed himself skiing he was also just as happy digging holes and playing in the snow. Dee enjoyed herself but every time I looked over I could tell she would much rather be on the beach or somewhere warmer (Dee can’t stand the cold).
About 20 minutes for Keystone was Frisco another small town at 9,075 ft, we headed into Frisco to visit Summit County Jiu-Jitsu. We were a little apprehensive due to the elevation as over the last couple of days we had noticed just how out of breath we seemed to be. When we arrived, we were met by Douglas Cuomo and Jason Baker the owners of the Academy. We jumped into class and quickly realized we were in for a tough night. The elevation would leave you gasping for air after about 30 seconds, I was able to control it fairly well but really had to focus where I expelled my energy. I was by no means a comfortable experience, but I did enjoy every second of it. Dee on the other had looked like she had just ran a marathon, feeling dizzy and unable to catch her breath she took a few rounds off here and there. After training is when you really feel the effect, my heart rate stayed high for hours after and I found it very hard to wind down.
The following day we headed back, and Lilly and Kobe took part in the kids class. Both Dee and I had a good giggle when after about 5 laps of running around the mat to warm up both Lilly and Kobe had to stop and rest. The look on their faces was priceless! They didn’t seem to know what was going on as all the other kids were fine. I was super proud that they both sucked it up for the rest of the class and power through. We again took part in class and It was fun sharing some techniques back and forth with Doug as we both played a very similar half guard game. Everyone there was super nice and we had a great time training with them and a cool experience training at elevation.
We had planned to return and take the lunch time class on Halloween, but a little traffic incident on the way down from our accommodation changed that. We were heading off for the day when a car cut a blind corner as we braked it put us into a slide which saw us contacting the side of the vehicle. Luckily everyone was fine, and we were traveling slowly so there wasn’t a lot of damage, this would eat up a lot of time as we would have to drive down to Denver to swap vehicles out. This unfortunately meant we missed the lunchtime class.
We thought we would salvage the rest of the day and head out for Halloween (something we don’t really do in Australia), after a stop at a store for a couple of costumes we ended up with a Pink Ninja and a Baby Groot. We headed into Frisco town centre as the street gets shut down and all the businesses and community groups celebrate Halloween. It was a great time, everyone really gets into it. Lilly and Kobe had a blast and ended up with a heap of candy and treats, Dee and I also had fun following them around checking out everyone’s costumes.