It wasn’t the usual route to get to the Rockies, but there was a very good reason to go via Ipswich…
For this is where master ski boot fitter Kevin Rout runs his business, Snowsun Adrenaline Sports. Not so much a ski shop as a remarkable place where ski boot problems are banished thanks to an array of state-of-the-art fitting machines and Kevin’s huge experience in the art of making ski boots as comfortable as slippers.
With bone spurs and ankle abnormalities, and a range of other foot misalignments and lumps and bumps verging on deformity, that was exactly what I needed.
Kevin’s is one of the few UK shops which boasts a very expensive scanner producing 3D images of your feet from every angle, not only showing the pressure points that can cause so much agony for skiers and boarders, but also identifying the brand and model of boot that is likely to give the best fit. Kevin, who learnt to ski in Austria in 1968, has machines to adjust and adapt footbeds and boot liners and an oven to soften and blow a shell if necessary.
In short, he will make sure your feet are as blissfully comfortable as possible on the slopes. I left Snowsun with a pair of Atomic Hawx Prime 120 boots that were already on intimate terms with my feet. Next stop Reykjavik. Yes, granted, still an offbeat route to Colorado – but Icelandair’s London-Reykjavik-Denver service is gaining attention as an excellent cost-effective trans-Atlantic option.
On this occasion, the biggest snowstorm to hit Denver for years was about to have a say on routing matters. Some hours after leaving Iceland, our pilot heard that Denver International Airport, succumbing to ferocious blizzards, was shutting down. That meant just one alternative he told us – a night in Minneapolis.
This is nice, I don’t often get to spend two days with my passengers.’
Twenty-four hours later we had all reconvened at Minneapolis Airport – passengers, crew, captain. ‘This is nice,’ he said. ‘I don’t often get to spend two days with my passengers.’
By the time we arrived, Denver was bathed in sunshine and open for business again. And this meant I could begin my exciting tour of some of the resorts linked by the Ikon Pass, a season pass covering many of the most important ski destinations across North America and Australia, as well as Valle Nevado in Chile.
After meeting up with my son Mark, who had travelled down from his home in Whistler to join me on this road trip, it was off to Hertz to pick up a pre-booked rental car. Hertz have an intriguing car pick up system … you join as a Gold Plus member and then instead of queueing up at their desk you simply wander over to their ‘gold zone’ and pick out the car there that you fancy. We were delighted to find a Chevrolet Malibu with its own wi-fi….wonderful, what could be better to help with a road trip the length and breadth of Colorado – and a bit of New Mexico.
Hertz also have an online road trip planner, including downloadable maps and insider guides – including a Colorado section ŵhich was helpful in planning my road trip this time.
Next stop Steamboat Springs, via Interstate 70 and US Route 40, alongside which the rescue guys were digging out cars buried up to the roof in snow.
But that of course means great skiing in prospect..