Allen B. West

West Christmas Vacation

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Greetings everyone, and I pray you all had a wonderful and very Merry Christmas. We arrived here in Steamboat Springs yesterday afternoon after a breathtaking and at times perilous trek from Denver for our West family Christmas vacation.

We climbed up from the “Mile High City” to an altitude of 11,000 feet traveling along I-70. We were in pure “white out” conditions but our escort, John Kuhn of Steamboat Premier Concierge was a very adept and experienced driver as we watched several cars spin out and accidents pile up.

We exited off I-70 at Silverthorne Colorado and headed towards Steamboat. We hit another high altitude snowstorm as we climbed to Rabbit Ears pass and crossed the continental divide. Then we descended down into an absolutely picturesque view of the Yampa River valley — and there was Steamboat Springs.

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We had just 20 minutes to change and prepare for Christmas Eve church services at Steamboat Christian Church — a lovely service. We then proceeded to dinner at the 8th Street Steakhouse where you pick out your meat and then grill it yourself. Awesome!

While there, I had the privilege to meet two veterans, Rick and Mike, who gave our family a special 24th anniversary treat. Steadfast and loyal, Brothers! After dinner, John took us over to the Steamboat Winter Sports Club where we saw the Hall of Honor remembering all the American winter Olympians and came to learn the rich history of champions Steamboat has produced.

The winter sports club sits beneath Howelsen Hill, which is Colorado’s oldest running ski area, in operation since 1915. It is also home to the first ski jumps ever in the United States. With longest run at 90 meters, it’s still used for training.

Today started with a short 3-mile run along the Yampa river and doggone, it certainly was not 80 degrees with a nice breeze off the ocean. The temp was single digits and thanks to Todd and Heather Gollnick, partners with John and former Martin County Florida residents (who gave me some running shoe traction devices that made the run easy) — boy did my face and fingers freeze though.

It was a nice Christmas Day and I tried to not get discouraged by the news: the Army recommending soldiers not speak of “Christmas,” attacks by Islamic terrorists against Christians in Iraq, attacks by Islamists in Egypt and Afghanistan, and of course, another Obamacare deadline extension (the gift that keeps on giving — not in a good way).

We all took the local free bus service down to downtown old Steamboat Springs just to walk around in the brilliant sunshine — albeit only 28 degrees — and take in the scenery, We saw the mountain known as the “sleeping giant.” Next we headed over to the local movie house where Austen and Lin watched “Saving Mr. Banks” while Angela, Aubrey, and I went to see “Wolf of Wall Street.”

Gotta tell ya, if all the sex and drugs had been eliminated from this movie, chances are it would have only lasted about 80 minutes. I could not believe how the movie just kept going on and on and on. I don’t know what the moral of the story was but it sure was not hard for the scriptwriter considering the amount of hard profanity.

Kind of makes me wonder why such a movie would be released on Christmas Day — quite the irony if you realize the true symbol of this day, God’s blessing and gift to all mankind of a Savior, a deliverer, who would not rule over men, but rather rule in our hearts.

So the good thing was that after some grocery shopping at City Market — where I saw the CEO of Miami’s Peterson’s Harley-Davidson and his wife — we watched the “Bible” miniseries for the evening.

So tomorrow is the big day: hitting the ski slopes of Mount Werner at midday after several local interviews. I’m not looking to hitting the black runs (is that racist??). I’ll get my technique back and go from there. As Clint Eastwood said in Magnum Force, “A man’s gotta know his limitations.”

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