Everyone was a bit tired this morning so Mike and I took advantage and went out skiing without the kids. Andrew joined us mid morning and then Mike went back to watch the kids and start packing up our stuff. Andrew and I did some harder runs. We headed up the Silver Queen Lift and went down Crystal, Twister and Upper and Lower International, which were all black runs. I definitely preferred the black runs that did not have a ton of moguls. Upper and Lower International were actually fantastic runs. It was so much fun skiing with Andrew. He is such a fantastic skier.
It was a sunny Sunday on the Mountain. Everyone was a bit slow to get going, but once we did, we were off into a beautiful sunny day. Andrew stayed behind with Madeline to get some rest and to let his hand recover a little more. The rest of us went up the Silver Queen lift and took some of the first turns through Paradise Bowl. Early morning is a lot better than when the lines have been all chewed up by everyone else. Bright sunshine was nice as well because it was easy to see where you wanted to go. The lines were fast and the bumps were easy. It was a nice way to start the day. Abby crushed another black today, so it was nice to see her progressing toward hitting any run on the mountain. Paradise Bowl is a wonderful cruiser that you can follow all the way down to the East River lifts. It's quite a run. At lunch, we all met back at the apartment. Madeline ate half the watermelon and then put on Abby's helmet because she didn't want to be left out. Sorry Madeline, you can't ski yet! After lunch Sara and the boys headed out, then Emma joined them for some more afternoon turns. Abby and Dad watched Harry Potter while Madeline took a nap.
It's hard to imagine a more serene feeling than carving down a mountain in the early morning sun. That's how our day started. Bright sun. Fresh snow. Empty mountain. Actually, our morning started with eggos and milk, but the snow came soon after. At the end of our condo, you drop down to a little lift that takes you through the Aspens. From there, you can grab an express lift to the top of the mountain. Sara stayed with Madeline for the morning and the rest of the kids and me took the first turns on fresh groomers and fresh powder. It was sublime. Abby even crushed her first black run with no problem. Andrew was catching good air and floating in the powder and Peter was ripping down the mountain as fast as possible. It was fun to see the kids crushing it. Unfortunately, Andrew got some huge air off a jump and landed weird and messed up his thumb. Since it was swelling quickly, I took him down into town and called the on-call Orthopedic Surgeon. He came in with his daughter, took some X-rays (no fractures!), and put a cast around Andrew's thumb and wrist. He was one of the nicest most mellow Surgeons I have ever met, and he didn't charge us as a professional courtesy. People like that are the reason I became a surgeon, and its good to see there are still great people like that out there.
After lunch, Sara went back up with the other kids and I met up with them a little later. The kids had fun skiing down the Paradise Bowl down to the Paradise Express lift while Sara tried out her new GoPro 6. With voice control and a bunch of new features the GoPro was fun to use. She even got a new handheld stick so that she could get lots of great angles. Eventually, the clouds rolled in and it was a little overcast, but the cruising was still good. Any day on the mountain beats a day in the office. Life is just better in the mountains.
Today we got up and finished the rest of our packing before heading to Crested Butte. Mike had a few patients to see up at the AFA and Urgency Center and stopped by Memorial Hospital to see our friend who was admitted to the hospital the night before. It was a busy morning for both of us. I wasn't moving very fast because I was sick with RSV that I got from Madeline who had been sick the previous week. By the time everything was all packed and ready to go we double checked our reservation and had quite a scare as the website said our reservation had been cancelled. We called the place where we were staying and were relieved that our reservation was still good. We got in the car and headed to Rudy's and had quite a fabulous lunch of brisket, chicken, potato salad, and chocolate pudding. From there it was a relatively easy drive all the way to Gunnison where we stopped at the City Market to stock up on groceries. It's a good thing we were close to Crested Butte because we were all tired and hungry. This year we found a VRBO at the San Mortiz Condominiums. The placed was pretty great with enough space for all of us. It was a little older than the place we stayed at last year but more convenient in many ways because it was a ski in-ski out. We unpacked all our gear and made a quick dinner of hot dogs and milk. After putting Madeline to bed we all watched the new Jumanji move and laughed so hard at all the funny parts.
FEBRUARY 17, 2017
We had the BEST holiday weekend skiing at Crested Butte with our good friends, The Holleys. Since the kids didn't have school on Friday we were able to leave early enough to arrive by the middle of the afternoon. The drive along the 14ers was absolutely amazing. Once we popped out on the other side of the mountain range towards Crested Butte the view was equally amazing. The cute town of Crested Butte was hard to see with the high piles of snow drifts on the sides of the road. Mike found us the coolest little single house to rent for the few days while we were there. The driveway was horrific to park in but between Mike and Andrew shoveling some of the snow they were able to fit the car in the driveway in front of the garage. We ended up using the garage to store our skis and boots. The inside of the house was pretty awesome with a gourmet kitchen and good sized living room. The kitchen was really the selling point so that we could do dinners with our friends every night. In the basement there were three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and even a laundry closet. The boys shared a room and the girls shared a room and everyone was thrilled that they got to sleep on real beds...no sleeper sofas this trip. Not only was the inside of the house amazing, but we were literally only a 5 min walk across the street from the main ski lifts.
After unpacking our things we worked together to make dinner for everyone. The first night we wanted something that reminded all of us of Japan so we cooked Mike's famous Japanese curry and rice. I think everyone was transported back to the time we all lived there. It was so good to be back with our friends again.
FEBRUARY 18, 2017
The next morning we got ready for our first day on the slopes. Mike took the kids out first while I stayed behind to pick things up and get ready for our swap at lunchtime. Josh, Sean, Andrew and Peter took the Silver Queen Express lift so that they could do some black runs while Mike, Sam, Morgan, Emma, and Abby rode up the Red Lady Express lift to ski the Paradise Bowl. They were all having a great time until they came to the Teocalli 2 person lift and saw the enormously long line. Instead of waiting in the line they decided to ski down to the East River Express Lift instead. The line at that lift was even longer and since there was no where to go except up the lift, they waited the hour wait to get on the lift only to have to ski back down the mountain to meet for lunch. It was a bit of a crazy morning. It's amazing how the sun and food can make people happy again. After lunch the little girls were done skiing so they went back to the house with Mike and Madeline. Josh, Sean and Andrew headed back up to do some double black diamond runs while Sam, Peter and I took the Red Lady Express so that we could ski Paradise Bowl and the fun runs in that area. We spent a good portion of our morning skiing down Paradise Bowl and Ruby Chief which was a double blue run. We also enjoyed the fun little terrain park that was all rolling hills and fun turns. It was like riding on a roller coaster ride. We ended our day skiing some of the blues near Prospect. The homes that were over there were absolutely amazing. When we got to the bottom we enjoyed hearing about Andrew's adventure with Josh and Sean and how they did 2 double black diamond runs. I think it's safe to say that Andrew has surpassed my skills on the skis.
FEBRUARY 19, 2017
This morning I took the first shift skiing with the kids while Mike watched Madeline back at the house. Josh and Sean headed off on a backcountry tour while the rest of us headed up the Red Lady Express Lift to ski near Paradise bowl again. We did more of the same runs we had done the day before and even got Abby to ski down Ruby Chief, a double blue run, without too many problems. Everyone loved the hilly terrain park run and it seemed like everyone was just happy to keep doing that run. After we took Abby on that the first time she perked up and started skiing a little faster. She was so excited by how fun that run was. We spent most of the time on the runs near the Paradise Express lift. As it got closer to lunch we headed down to the Teocalli lift and took that up so that we could ski Poverty Gulch down to the bottom. The lines weren't bad at all today. After lunch Mike, Andrew, and Peter went back out to ski. Unfortunately, the good weather turned quickly into snow and wind. I'm not sure how much the boys enjoyed the afternoon skiing but they still managed to get in a few good runs while the girls and I enjoyed some girl time back at the house. Emma and Abby played for a while in the snow next to the driveway while I introduced Madeline to snow. I actually put some of it in her hands to see how she would react. She wasn't really sure what to think of the snow. It didn't put a smile on her face and it didn't make her cry. She learned pretty quickly that it was cold and when I put her hand near the snow bank to see if she would grab it, she knew better than to touch that cold thing.
After everyone was done skiing and showered we spent another fun evening together with our friends. Tonight we ate Southwestern Chicken Skillet and boy was it yummy. The best part was watching Peter and Sean being super silly as they cleaned up dinner.
FEBRUARY 20, 2017
Since this was our last day to ski we packed up everything into the car and Mike drove to park the car in the free lot while I took the kids to meet our friends at the lifts. Andrew and Peter decided to join the girls this morning and we did more runs on Paradise Bowl and then headed down to the East River Express lift to try some of the blue runs over there. The girls took the Floresta run to Lower Treasury and skied to the bottom while Andrew and Peter tried the Double Top Glades run which was a black mogul run. We ended up waiting at the bottom a good 5-10 minutes for those boys. When we got back to the top of that lift Emma wanted to try that run so I took her on it. The first part of the run was small moguls through the trees. It was awesome at first. Then we came to the cliff and as I looked down I realized we had gotten ourselves into a really tough run. The pitch was steep and the moguls were almost as tall as Emma. We did pretty well for the first half of that section until Emma lost her footing and tumbled 20 feet below. She was ok but lost her polls. A kind skier coming down after us was able to grab her poles and handed them off to me. I was terrified as I saw her tumble and tumble and was so relieved when she finally stopped and said she was ok. Everyone was waiting for us at the bottom and after retelling what had just happened, I was once again so relieved and grateful that Emma didn't get hurt. We all headed back up the lift to the Teocalli lift so that we could head back down the mountain to meet Mike for lunch. After lunch Mike went on a few runs with Josh and all the boys before the Holleys had to leave. Then he went on a few more runs with Andrew and Peter. At one point he got separated from Andrew and Peter and so everyone came back down to the bottom. There were words exchanged. Mike was not so happy about what happened, but then he put on a happy face and did another run with the boys so that they could end our trip with smiles instead of frowns.