Sunday, December 14, 2014

Semester Farewell

Hello all!
As suggested by the title, this will be my last post of the semester. :(
But no worries, I will be back in 2015 (ohmygod) with plenty of photos and stories from the holidays!
Before that, however, it's time to update you all on the busy festivities of my week.
I've heard many say that it's not even finals week that's the scariest, but rather the week before finals that really comes for you. All your classes are rushing to finish up, any final projects or presentations are being handed in, and, perhaps the biggest burden of all, you're prepping for the huge schedule change in the week ahead (no classes, just studying and finals).
Fortunately, I'd like to think we made the best of our week before finals with my birthday festivities (woohoo!), as well as what was perhaps the best ski day I've ever had.
Heeerreee we go!

For those of you who may not know, it snowed here for THE ENTIRE WEEK. No joke. While we had to deal with the rowdy snowball fights that seemed to only happen after 11 pm, right outside our window, St. Mike's was gorgeous, and there was just that general first-snowstorm-excitement buzz about campus.

The pick of the birthday cards this year. (It's funny cuz it's true.)

Birthday dinner: our first time at the highly praised Our House (right down the street from St. Mike's), known for their crazy twists on mac and cheese. (They have an entire page of their menu dedicated to different spins on the classic dish.) I got the Shrimp Scampi Mac & Cheese (pictured above), and Jared got the Buffalo Bacon Mac & Cheese, complete with a buffalo wing perched atop the noodles. Just delish, and of course, very photogenic.
The best part? I had leftovers to bring for lunch to Smugg's the next day.

Church Street all dressed up for the holidays: an apres-birthday-dinner stroll. 

And now, the long awaited documentation of the best ski day ever.

No matter how long we waited in line or on the lift, I wasn't bothered by it on this particular day. With all the snow we got through the entire week, there was powder to spare: the mountain was beautiful, everyone was psyched, and the conditions were PRIME.

While it was a bit foggy getting towards the top, everything cleared up by lunchtime.

We spent a good part of the day at the Madonna lift, which is by far the prettier side of the mountain, if you ask me.

Into the woods we go...the best part of powder days? Getting to explore the hidden nooks and crannies of the mountain that you would otherwise not even consider. The glades were super fun, and too gorgeous not to get at least a ridiculous amount of pictures (trust me, I've spared you with the two). 

Normally, stopping for a picture in wind-tunnel conditions wouldn't birth this smiley of a shot. But this day was different.

I absolutely can't wait to (finally) get on my brand new skis over break, and it'll be even more exciting to bring them back to school in January for some Smugg's action. 
Until then, I wish everyone a very happy holidays and a relaxing break! 
Stay tuned next year! <3

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Storm @ St. Mike's: Photos From the Front Line

Just a few photos of phase 1 and 2 of what's turning out to be quite the blizzard here at St. Mike's...we've been waiting for this!! Here's hoping roads will be clear in time for a nice satisfying ski day on Saturday.

Last Night

The beginnings weren't promising...but once the night was through, the wet slush pouring down would get thicker and accumulate.


 ...the walk to breakfast.

It's lasted all day, and is projected to last through the night.

Study views...excluding a bold pair of cross country skiers who just whizzed on by.

For more photos like these, follow me @claire_cavanaugh on Instagram and @CavanaughClaire on Twitter.
Until then, a pleasant storm to all, and to all a good pair of snow boots.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Ski Season @ Smugg's: Day One

This Saturday was the day we've all been waiting for: my first ski day of the season!
While it poured all day at St. Mike's, precipitation got snowier and snowier the closer we got to the mountain. Once we got there, we were immersed in complete snow.
It was the best first day we could ask for: some fresh snow on the ground (nothing powdery whatsoever, but hey, it was the first day!), not too cold, not too crowded. We were even able to meet up with a few friends.
Before I get into the details of day one and how to get the best bargain out of your day trip, here are a couple of shots from my week.

I've started calling this "the moon buttons picture". 

Dinner out Friday night! I'll never say no to Chipotle. Always good.

Sunny Sunday morning today. (Yes, Jared is wearing shorts.)

We've been planning our first ski day for weeks: no matter what kind of day it would be, we decided that we'd be going the first Saturday after Thanksgiving break. And what a picture perfect day it turned out to be!

The greatest photo-bomb of all the photo-bombs, if you ask me. This was right after I'd found the perfect overlook for a picture: the trail was actually closed, so it looked extra pretty and untouched, and there weren't any uninvited models tainting the shot. 

Same overlook, same model: a little fun with the Reflection app, one of my new favorites.

I feel like this should be in some sort of outdoor gear catalog.

Now that I've shared some photos from the day, it's time to discuss the best way to save as much money as possible.
If you end up going every Saturday of the season like Jared and me, saving will be key. Thankfully, we've found little ways through the past year or so to cut all sorts of corners.

1.) Bring Lunch

Whether you're smuggling a grilled cheese out of Alliot after dinner on Friday night or buying a few Walmart brand cold cuts, it's always a big money-saver to bring your lunch instead of buying it at the mountain. While the chili bread bowl and deep fried goodies will always be tempting, we've always brought lunch, so we don't really know what we're missing. But, mountain food has always and will always be expensive, so it's best to bring. (Plus, you stand in enough lines all day long. Might as well ditch the food line!) 

2.) Carpool

Since Jared has had a car ever since we started going up to Smugg's, I've always liked taking a car and being able to bring others along if they felt inclined. If you're lucky enough to make it on the St. Mike's shuttle sign-up sheet, that'll save even more gas, but just know that it's only available after Christmas break, and you'll have more freedom to get to the mountain and leave the mountain as you please if you happen to have a car, or a friend with one! 

3.) Take Advantage of the Pass!!!

The St. Mike's Wilderness Program offers a $65 season pass to Smugg's for students every year!!! And yes, that will pay for itself in a single day of skiing, so even if you don't think you'll be making it to the mountain more than two or three times in the season, it's still very much worth it! Take advantage of it! 

That's all my tips and tricks for the day, make sure to stay tuned next time for more skiing photos, and more everything!