Greg Johnson: Hunting for the perfect Christmas tree
December 8, 2014
Steamboat Springs — Every year I see the Facebook posts and hear people talking about heading up to Rabbit Ears and chopping down, or in one case, shooting down a Christmas tree. Last Sunday I finally got my opportunity to take part in this Steamboat tradition.
I am lucky enough to have a roommate who has property here in Routt County. Instead of heading to up to Rabbit Ears we went to his plot on Thorpe Mountain to find a suitable tree, no permits needed.
We hiked uphill and broke through the crusty layer of snow as we pointed out possible Christmas trees for our living room.
We saw flaws in the trees as we passed. Too tall, not enough branches, strange looking, etc. Until, off our path my roommate saw the one. It was a Clark Griswold moment in the opening scene of Christmas Vacation. The light had shined down upon this tree as it called to him. Saw in hand he lumbered through the snow to claim his trophy.
The act of cutting down the tree was anticlimactic. No chopping or hard work, just 30 seconds of sawing and we had our tree. We tossed the tree down hill and it slid on top of the icy layer as it made it's way to our car. It was an unnatural, captivating site to see.
We didn't want to waste a trip hiking up without enjoying the ride down, so we brought along our snowboards. Intent to get one run in, we went to work on breaking through the crunchy layer to access the softer snow below. We hiked down and then back up multiple times puncturing the top layer with our snowboards as we continued on. Was this labor going to be worth the effort?
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My roommate strapped in and headed down for his first run of the season. Timid at first, he found his comfort level and pointed straight down the run as he cruised on top of our handmade groomed trail.
I had a cynical attitude that the snowboarding wouldn't be any good, but was proven wrong. I kept the nose of my board up and made few turns while I surfed on top of the soft, but heavy snow. We really earned our turns on that run. Something about that makes every second much more enjoyable.
Once our day on the makeshift run came to a close we hoisted the tree in the bed of the truck and were anxious to see it in our home as our prize of the day.
Once the tree was set up, the decorating phase commenced with the help of our other roommate. The new living room center piece was finished and we were exhausted yet, happy. It can be tough having family around during the holidays, but that Christmas tree makes Steamboat feel a little more like home and brings my Steamboat Family a little closer together.