We recently ran not just one but two alumni-only skate tours in Colorado. The idea for an alumni tour came to us last fall and given our long history of running inline skating tours, naturally we selected that sport for our first-ever alumni tour. The tour concept was a hit and sold out within a month, leading us to add a second tour.
The groups of 18 and 27 skaters and bikers (including guides) spent five days on the paved trails of Colorado, my home state. We spent time in Summit County, skating between the cities of Frisco, Dillon, Copper Mountain, Breckenridge, and Keystone – paved paths connect them all. We then traveled to the Mineral Belt Trail, a 13-mile paved trail that circles the town of Leadville at over 10,000 feet in elevation, an amazing trail that is difficult in large part because of the lack of oxygen. Our next two trails were the long Rio Grande and Glenwood Canyon trails near Glenwood Springs and we capped both tours with an overnight stay in Boulder and a skate on my local skating path.
We didn’t know what to expect from our first-ever alumni tours but they both turned out great. There certainly were advantages to having all veterans, including the ability to skip our standard “Setting Expectations” talk about how Zephyr’s tours run.
I didn’t actually guide the first, smaller tour since we only needed two guides on it but that didn’t change the fact that the highlight of both tours for me was the same. My girlfriend and Zephyr High Roller Devon and I hosted both groups at our condo – the first for dinner and the second for drinks and appetizers. This was a very cool way for me to connect with two groups of very important people on a personal level, a level that goes beyond the deep connections I already had with many of the Colorado tour participants because it involved people actually coming into our home.
In fact, sometimes as guides we run a tour, have a great time, and let loose a sigh of relief when the tour is done. Some of the tours require a lot of work hours, after all. Having people over to my home, though, really made me realize what Zephyr’s adventures mean to our participants. This is a week of vacation that most of them had been planning for nine months and which they had eagerly been looking forward to doing. It was also a chance for these groups of alumni to connect with old friends, meet new ones, and feel part of what we like to call the Zephyr family.
My biggest takeaway from these alumni tours is they made me proud that Zephyr Adventures has been running great tours for 12 years, tours that add enough to people’s lives that they keep returning year after year.
Stay tuned for our Alumni & Friends tours for 2010!
(Photos provided by Marlena Crovatt-Bagwell.)