Monday, June 4, 2012

2012 USASA Nationals Recap Part 3: Hot Water

On Sunday, April 1, the first day of competition at Nationals, Rebecca and Nick spent time riding around at Copper, Eilis took a break to spend time with a friend, and Jb and I watched some of the open class boardercross races. Later that evening, our plan was to head west to an "unknown special surprise destination" that involved bathing suits and some hot water. 

Some of those open class riders are absolutely incredible, and in fact two of the riders we watched compete (Jacqueline Hernandez and Hagen Kearney) were just named to the USASA 2012-13 Snowboard Team. The following is some of the Open Class race footage that Jb and I filmed with the GoPros:

View from the car
After watching the races, we headed back to the condo and Jb prepared his incredible lasagna. The rest of the crew returned from their adventures, and we left Copper for the “special surprise” that Jb planned for the group. We were told to bring bathing suits and $20, and the crowd (plus Deep, one of Jb’s fraternity brothers who hung out with us during the week) headed west on I-70 towards the unknown destination.

From Chronic and Williams Roadside Geology of Colorado
I brought my Roadside Geology of Colorado book with me and, coupled with the need to bring bathing suits, figured we were headed to the Glenwood Springs area.  Past Vail (see the 2012 USASA Nationals Part 2 post for details on the Copper Mountain to Vail drive along I-70) there is a gradual change in the rocks observed while driving towards Dostero, from redbeds to light gray shale to dark gray marine shale. One of the most impressive features during the drive was seeing some of the lava flows on top of the sedimentary rocks (near Eagle).  We then passed through Glenwood Canyon, an incredibly beautiful gorge created by the Colorado River. The gorge developed as floods during the Pleistocene (e.g., the Ice Age, ~20,000 years ago) initially widened the contact between Mississippian limestone (hard) and Pennsylvanian shale (soft). Further development of the canyon resulted in exposure of older Paleozoic rocks and Precambrian granite and gneiss. The whole time we drove through the canyon, whenever we saw some of the Precambrian granite, all I kept saying was, “wow, 1.7 billion years old.”

Drive through Glenwood Canyon

From Chronic and Williams Roadside Geology of Colorado

We made it to the Glenwood Springs area, although we drove past the major swimming pool/hot springs area and continued to the Yampah Vapor Caves. We actually went down into caves, where hot water flows through the rocks at 125°F. It was very hot, and all I kept thinking about was geothermal energy. Shattered rocks along a fault zone along the Colorado River allow the hot springs to flow (see cross-section above) and this particular geologic feature provided us with some nice relaxation time before we went into full pre-competition intensity mode with the upcoming boardercross races. 

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