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COLO-RIDE-O... A Season of Adventure

by Brett & Susan | 28 June 2012 | North America
Colorado, United States

Glow Studio Photography | Love is Life
This was a season where we learnt many things; many things about love, life, faith and trust in God, friends, family and adventure. Lifelong friends can come from anywhere at any time, look out for them. Snow never comes when you expect it, even if the forecast says it is coming; snow likes to come as a surprise. American junk food is cheaper than fresh produce or anything nutritious. Organic food is big in America at the moment, but read the label carefully as it’s commonly known as a sales pitch.

PBJs are a snowboarding staple in America. Wrap two in plastic wrap, put it in your pocket and you have the perfect mid afternoon treat when you are up the mountain. The more beaten and battered they are, the better they taste. Just be sure to wrap them properly or the peanut butter or jelly may ooze its way into your undergarments.

Snowboarding in the States for a season was something we both looked forward to for many years. We love New Zealand for its beauty, and the lifelong friends we have there to ride with during the winter season. However, the beckoning call of world renowned terrain parks, non crowded 3km run down the slopes, and dry pristine snow was something we had to experience for ourselves.

We hit the jackpot when we arrived for the worst season Colorado has had in 30 years. Despite the lower snowfall stats (still better than NZ in our best season), we knew we were in for a season of many memories and interesting experiences. We were not only there for the snow, but to experience life in a new setting, and learn from our good friends running SFC (Snowboarders & Skiers for Christ) in Summit County.

SFC is a Christian organisation born in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1997 by Reuben Yeoman. Since then SFC has gone global and become a giant global organization with chapters in Canada, USA, Japan, UK, Switzerland, France and Australia. Through the dedicated work of Josh Stock and Floyd Ralph, SFC has grown to a large organisation throughout the States and particularly so in Summit County, where we were based. Our now lifelong friends Seth & Brooke were leading SFC Summit for the season we were there; they did a fantastic job bringing people together every week for hangouts and good food provided free of charge. SFC has the hope to bring the snow community together, so ultimately skiers and boarders can show the love of Jesus Christ to friends and riders around them who may not yet believe in Jesus. Read more

Making friends almost comes automatically when you mix a combination of people who love Jesus and people who love snow. The love of mountains, snow, extreme terrain and snowboarding itself was evident in everyone we met at Summit County. From families with children as young as two years old to more “brittle” (as suggested by Brett) aged riders and skiers, being up the mountain brought life and excitement to their souls.

Every morning without fail, we would wake up, look out the window to check conditions, have a quick Blueberry Bagel with Nutella or over sugared Raisin Bran, walk across the snow covered field to catch the free Summit Stage Bus, and meet our friends at the bottom of Peru lift at Keystone Resort. Apart from the pleasures of riding in blue bird conditions each day, we had the benefit of sleeping in and retiring early each day, as we knew there was another day to enjoy tomorrow.

We were blessed to have a taste of home while we were “living” in Summit County. It was so awesome to have the Riddells, Simon and his dad Graham, come to spend time with us. A detour after doing business in the States, they decided to come to Summit County to hang out with us and get some riding in the mix. We loved hanging out with them (Susan missed Nicola heaps!); so much fun snowboarding, snowmobiling, and enjoying hearty meals together.

Our best friends from Christchurch Tim & Hannah also came to visit us the week after the Riddells, it was like being home again because home is with those you love. Except this was in Colorado! We laughed continuously at anything and everything and talked and played till we had no more energy. As always, the boys dominated the kitchen making amazing pizzas for dinner while Hannah and I would sit on the couch babbling on and having a good ol’ yarn! I don’t think that will ever change. It was definitely a highlight for us to have our visitors, we love you guys!

Although snowboarding everyday sounds like a life of fulfilment, this was only so for us because of the amazing people who were part of our adventure while we were at Summit.

To name a few memorable people (who we still look forward to doing life with):

Brooke & Seth – Brooke’s crazy love for health foods and all things organic, especially your green powder berry spinach banana concoctions (which were amazing), and Seth’s amazing guitar playing loo stories. Also a special shout out to Stuart, THE most amazing dog in the entire world (we have looked!), let us know when he has descendants... we want one! Your family made our world smile.

Max & Alyssa – Our dedicated riding companions, cheerleaders, and challengers. Our Flight Of The Concord buddies... “Brett... Brit... Brett... Britt”. Our true encouragers in a new environment, you took us under your wing and loved us like family. We love and appreciate you both.

Our time in Summit County was made more special by living with the Rode Family for two and half months. Three kids under the age of five under one roof equal nonstop entertainment and unending laughs. From Caleb swallowing a quarter, to little two year old Zane taking Brett’s fingerprints for his drawings, shooting a 9mm pistol (at the range) with our dear friend Lisa, and having rather mature conversations with five year old Rose, every moment was memorable. We loved learning more about American culture from you! We still laugh at memories of running round the dining table with the kids, changing Zane’s diaper, and enjoying Candy “tweets” after dinner with them. We love you guys dearly; thank you with all our hearts for being our home away from home.

Josh & Val – Being kids with you made our world so much fun. We will never forget the laughs we had playing Fax Machine, your Art Auctioning game, your teenage shopping mall game, and watching your finely rehearsed Wii dance moves! Your passion for SFC and genuine love for people is truly inspirational. We will be forever grateful for lending us Josh’s precious baby to do our roadtrip around the States!

Matt – You are crazy and we love it. Our favourite memories of you: PBJs, second hand cafeteria food at the resorts, homemade tomato soup which consisted of ketchup, creamer, and hot water, your GoPro enthusiasm, your activator spirit, your generosity and your love of life. It is a pleasure to have you and Kate in our world.

Dom & Diane – Late night dinner and cookies (stealing the neighbour’s ingredients)! Laughs and heart to hearts, can’t wait to have more with you, come to NZ!

To our good friends in SFC & Lifegroup – Fuko & Risa our Japanese pro riders, Zach, Donnie, David, Jason, Brian & Aurora – we love having you as friends and hope you come to visit us in NZ.

Our hearts are still pining for the snow, we love winter and we love the sense of fun and adventure. Will our journey lead us back there for another adventure at some stage in life? I guess we will have to wait and see...! If you want to read about Susan's snowboarding injury during out time in Colorado, please feel free to read our next blog! We look forward to hearing from you :)


All our photographs have been captured on our Canon 5D Mark II or our professional's version of a pocket camera - Canon G12 Thanks to our supporters Canon New Zealand, we are able to capture these stories and moments as we travel and share with you, "How Kiwis See The World". If you have any questions, just comment below!

All the lovely colourful clothing - Earth Sea Sky, we LOVE traveling with their amazing outdoor adventure clothing and couldn't do without it... truly!

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“COLO-RIDE-O... A Season of Adventure”

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