Last Saturday at a party, one of my coworkers asked me what I was doing the next day.
I broke out in a big smile and, with great excitement, told him I was going to Denver. He asked what I was going to do and I replied, "I'm going shopping!"
This 20-something guy looked at me quizzically, with something of a look that combined confusion with disbelief.
"It's like my skiing," I explained. He smiled and nodded, but I could still see the doubt in his eyes.
Yes, shopping in Denver gives me the same thrill, exhilaration and satisfaction that skiing does for others. The two activities have more in common than you might think.
Just as those who live for skiing or riding glean their preferred partners from the field of friends for a day on the mountain, I won't go shopping with just anyone.
In both cases, you must have the same skill level and sense of adventure. You must both want to cover the same terrain. The pace and endurance levels must be in sync or the entire day can be thrown off. And you need to share the wisdom to know when to call it, pack up the gear and head home.
A day of shopping in Denver is the epic powder day of the mall. Hit the road early, put on the skins and hike up to hit the stores that open early, then get first tracks at the mall as soon the doors open. I know exactly where I want to go and the most efficient way to navigate the terrain. I can find the best stashes, hit the sales and avoid the stores that are skied off or full of gapers.
Having the right gear is essential. I must be properly attired to ensure I don't get cold or overheated or, God forbid, get sore feet. Nobody wants to have to stop and mess with annoying clothing mid-run, so comfort and functionality are paramount. But looking good is just as important.
Whether skiing or shopping, it's imperative to have everything I'll need for the day on me. A head-to-toe check is in order before departure for either activity. Often, forgotten items include lip balm, Kleenex and snacks. Hydration and nourishment are the keys to a full, satisfying day. And just as a powder day is ruined without a ski pass, so is a shopping day without a credit card.
I get the same sense of giddy anticipation about a day in Denver as my son does about the day the terrain park opens. Neither of us can wait to hit the places we know to see what's different and check out what's new. Running through the same park over and over again never seems to get old. Just as he gets a sense of accomplishment in hitting the sweet spot and pulling off a new trick, the satisfaction of finding the perfect items I have long been searching for is exhilarating.
Talk about adrenaline!
What made this particular day even better was going with one of my best friends, who also happens to be my preferred shopping partner. We're both working moms, so to find a day that we can both go is rare.
Getting to spend the entire day with one of my favorite people is like an added bonus to the powder that is the post-holiday sales.
So while I can appreciate those who couldn't wait to get out on the slopes on Sunday to make a few turns in the fresh snow, I wouldn't have traded my shopping day for anything in the world.
Linda Stamper Boyne, of Edwards, can be contacted by emailing editor@vail