A Shoulda Woulda Valentine’s Day

Two days ago, upon seeing photos of the snow and mountains on the Facebook wall of my friend and business partner, Pamela Sorensen, I got online and started checking flights. She was in Aspen, one of the few Colorado ski resorts I haven’t visited, staying at a beautiful luxury resort, The Little Nell, with her boyfriend and his family. I said, “I want to go!” and she said, “come!”

Everyone who knows me well knows that despite growing up in California, I’m a mountain and lakes girl. That’s where I feel at home. The high altitude, the crisp air, the majestic beauty. Sure, I can appreciate a beautiful tropical beach and often do, but — when it comes to places that take my breath away, the mountains win.  So, it seemed like this week would be the perfect time to work on one of my New Year’s resolutions — to be more spontaneous — and book a last-minute get away. I’d meet my friend and her friends to go snowboarding and enjoy a little solace. No better place to write than a mountain cabin with a fire going, the snowy mountains my backdrop, and a hot toddy in hand. “I’m gonna make the mountains my Valentine this year,” I said. As luck would have it, I found a flight for less than $200. It was meant to be!

Hotel Jerome

Now all I had to do was find accommodations during President’s Day week, one of the busiest times of year in the Colorado Rockies. Most were full, but I found a little gem in Auberge Resorts, Hotel Jerome. And then it was time to get my lift pass (Aspen got a few inches of fresh snow overnight – yay! powder!) and make sure all was set. I had my card ready and was getting ready to book the flight, when….

WHAT?!?

NO!!!!!

The flights had gone up overnight. Come on, you must be joking. Quadruple the cost overnight? Had everyone else decided to be spontaneous and head for the mountains too? I should know by now as an experienced traveler that you don’t wait to snatch up a great fare when you see it, but how was this possible?

I scrambled to search every last-minute fare trick in the book. I called, I googled, I tried different departure cities, I tried different days, I called again hoping to get a different airline representative on the phone. No luck. Then it was time to decide whether to use my mileage rewards points. American Airlines has a nonstop flight to Aspen from LAX. Ok, things were looking up. Only, even on a little American Eagle 2-hour flight, the round-trip two-day getaway would cost me 25,000 points. Seriously? As much as I wanted to get away, I just couldn’t justify using so many points for that.

So, now, instead of filling my heart with mountain love on this Valentine’s Day, I am heartbroken that my schedule won’t allow me to get to the mountains until March. Not that I’m complaining… I’m actually heading to Yosemite in a week and a half and WILL get to play in snow. But the Rockies are the Rockies. And to them on this holiday, I say, “I’ll be there soon enough lover!”

*This post also appeared on The Pacific Punch here.

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