Pagosa Springs, CO — The Rocky Mountains were frosted in white with soaring evergreen trees protruding through the snow. Adults and children glide down the slopes with skis or snowboards strapped to their feet, some tumbling while learning their new craft.
The picturesque scenery was in complete contrast to the arid Chihuahuan Desert Mountains of El Paso.
Twenty-two members of the Fort Bliss community traveled eight hours to spend time at Wolf Creek Ski Area, in Pagosa Springs, Colo., during an Outdoor Recreation excursion Presidents Day weekend.
The Wolf Creek trip was good for beginners, those getting back into snow sports and advanced snowboarders and skiers.
Spc. Shaylene Jones, a PATRIOT launching station enhanced operator/ maintainer with 5th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, went on the trip to snowboard for her first time.
“I was really excited when I was actually able to stand up
on a snowboard without falling down,” said Jones. “It was fun, but I am really sore.”
While the event was a good opportunity for Soldiers, all of the Fort Bliss community was invited to join. This was evident with the array of people participating in the trip.
Axel Ressin, an information technology administrator for the German Air Force here, has been snowboarding for more than ten years. Originally from Germany, Ressin has been at Fort Bliss for seven years and participated in the trip last year.
“I really liked the big snow area,” said Ressin. “The best part of the trip was the snow and meeting new people.”
Everything was well organized, from purchasing tickets to travel arrangements, described Mike Karsten, also an IT administrator for the German Air Force. “We just loaded up the van and left.”
The logistics of the trip went smoothly, but the act of snowboarding or skiing often takes more of a toll on those participating.
“It’s gonna burn right through your legs, it’s gonna burn through your calves and your feet are gonna feel like they are on fire,” said Spc. Thomas Smith, a petroleum supply specialist with 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division. “Depending on how many times you fall, it’s gonna burn through your back too.”
The trip started off with an enthusiastic group and ended with a bunch of people worn out, but content with their long weekend excursion.
“These trips are important because they boost morale and get Soldiers out of the barracks,” said Kris Brown, recreation specialist for Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation Special Events. “There is something to do for anyone who goes on the trip. We plan on doing this trip again next year.”
This is one of numerous trips FMWR Outdoor Recreation organizes throughout the year.
For more information on upcoming events, call 744-2415 or visit the Soldier Activity Center located at Bldg. 20732 Constitution, across the traffic circle from Soto Physical Fitness Center.