It was a lot nicer to sleep in and then not be so rushed in the morning to get to the gondola. We parked at the Solaris parking garage again and headed to the lift line. Once again, the line was extremely long. We even got there when the gondola opened but it didn’t matter, there were just so many people at Vail who wanted to ski. It took us about 20+ minutes to get through the line again but this time at the top we all stuck together and decided to ski together for the day. We headed up the Wildwood Express Lift and decided to all ski down Hunky Dory together. Madeline did great on this true blue run and even did the harder pitch towards the bottom. From there we headed up the Mountaintop Express Lift and went a short way down the Timberline Catwalk before attempting a new run. Peter went down the black Northstar run while Abby went down the blue Northwoods run. Emma apparently went all the way down the catwalk, so Mike went after her while I attempted to do Northwoods with Madeline. There were two steep pitches that she did fairly well getting down. The second steep pitch she fell over and I had a little trouble getting her upright and started back up again but really, she did awesome on that hard blue run. I was super impressed with her mad skills. We met Mike, Emma, and Abby at the bottom. Peter was already in line to head back up to the top, so we told him to ski it again and meet us on the Highline Express Lift but then later just had him meet us at the top for lunch. We got to the top right when our reservation to eat inside was ending. We didn’t anticipate how long it would take to get through the lift lines. Fortunately, I had cute Madeline with me and when I explained that we missed our reservation and if they could just find us a table for even 5 minutes, he took pity on me and he found a table for all of us for a new reservation. It was glorious to sit inside to eat lunch and relax for a little bit. After lunch, we headed down Boomer and then headed down Flapjack all the way to the bottom. We made our way over to do Swingsville a few times and then Madeline was kind of done so Mike took her and Abby and headed down on the gondola while I went with Peter and Emma and skied down Riva Ridge. Riva Ridge was a fun run, but definitely hard in some spots. We went through some more groomed steep sections and then some deep mogul runs. It was a blast and a great way to finish off our amazing ski weekend at Vail.
We got up super early to get everyone ready and out the door by 5:30am. We did pretty well and actually left the house at 5:50am. Since I-70 was a mess we choose to drive the back way through Breckenridge. The roads and weather were actually pretty good until we got closer to the pass before Breckenridge. The roads became snowier and everyone seemed to be very cautious, so it took longer to get to Vail. We got to the parking garage around 9:30am only to find that it was full. Luckily, the Solaris parking garage was open and only $10 more per day so we opted to park there. We must have gotten there at the perfect time because we were able to park close to the front of the garage. We got on our gear and headed to the line at Gondola One. The line was extremely long, and it probably took us at least 20-30 minutes to get on the gondola. At the top, Mike took Abby and Madeline while I headed off with Peter and Emma to see if we could ski some of Blue Sky Basin on the backside of the mountain. By the time we got all the way to Poppyfields, I could tell this time would be very different than our last ski trip. There was so much snow it was almost harder to ski. I felt very uneasy skiing on so much powder with so many people that didn’t seem to know how to ski on powder. We opted to ski all the way down to the Tea Cup Express but were surprised to see the line was uncharacteristically long. We actually took off our skis and walked around to get in line since the “official” line before the bottleneck wasn’t moving. It was kind of a nightmare but after a few minutes of waiting in that we heard lots of cheering and massive amounts of people in line left to head over to the Skyline Express Lift because apparently Blue Sky Basin was opening up. It was marvelous to not have to wait so long to get on the lift. We headed back up to the top and then skied down Sourdough to try and find Mike and the girls. After getting in touch with them we realized that we could ski all the way down Flapjack and up the Highline Express lift and then meet them at the top for lunch. Apparently, Madeline and Abby had been having a great time skiing on the front side of the mountain. Madeline didn’t seem to have any trouble with more snow on the runs and at one point she fell and before she got up, she said to Mike, “I think I broke my legs.” She was ok and didn’t even cry but it was funny what came out of her mouth. We all met at Two Elks Lodge and had to eat outside because we missed making an inside reservation. We all skied together the rest of the afternoon and had a great time. We ended our day skiing down Swingsville a few times. Peter and Emma took Riva Ridge down the mountain for their last run and Mike and I took Abby and Madeline down the gondola. However, Abby got separated from us and when we got to the top of the gondola steps, she wasn’t there. We headed down the gondola thinking she had already left but when we got to the bottom she wasn’t there. Mike headed back up the gondola and found her at the top waiting. The rest of us headed to the car and started to pack up our ski gear. Then we headed to our hotel for the night and got settled, ate dinner, and watched Ponyo together.
On our last day of skiing at Vail, Mike went with the older two down Poppyfields to ski Blue Sky Basin. The kids took him on Poppyfields East and West and he loved it. They spent most of their time skiing Grand Review and The Star runs off of Pete’s Express. Apparently, the snow wasn’t as good as the day before. I took Madeline and Abby and we skied down Boomer a few times before taking Flapjack all the way to Northwoods Express Lift. At the top Madeline was a little cold and hungry so we stopped at Buffalo’s Henry’s Hut to use the restroom, warm up and have a quick snack. Then we decided to head down Swingsville. The first half of the run Madeline did well but then her legs started getting tired and she fell. She was ok but I could tell she was a little shaken up. I kept a close eye on her the last steep pitch. After I made it to the bottom, I looked behind me to see where she was, and she had fallen again. I took off my skis and jogged in my boots up to her. She started crying because her leg got twisted and she was just tired. She cried for most of the wait in line to get on the chairlift and most of the ride on the Mountain Top Express Lift. After some soothing songs her spirits were lifted, and she made it down the Timberline Catwalk without any problems. She was so excited for lunch and we took off her boots so she could relax. After lunch I headed off with Peter and Emma while Mike, Abby and Madeline headed down the mountain back to the condo. Peter, Emma and I headed to Blue Sky Basin and skied down Cloud 9 which was about the same as yesterday. We went down Grand Review again but it was much too icy so we decided to head on some of the blacks where there would be more powder. We did Hornsilver first and that was a pretty good run with plenty of powder and lots of moguls. Then we decided to try Resolution. We learned about this run with Andrew the last time we were at Vail. This is probably one of my favorite black runs because it is a good mix of powdery moguls at the top and a fun powdery run at the bottom. By this point, our legs were pretty tired, so we decided to head down to Tea Cup Express and head back to Two Elks Lodge and head down the front side of the mountain back to the condo. We took Flapjack all the way down, then headed up Northwoods Express and then took Riva Ridge all the way to the bottom. It was another great day of skiing. We walked the 5-7 min walk back to our condo and just relaxed, snacked on cheese and crackers and vegged in front of the TV. Mike and I headed out a little later to eat dinner at the French restaurant right next door. The food was beyond delicious and it was nice to just spend the last night on being able to hang out together.
This morning I got to go ski with Peter and Emma at Blue Sky Basin while Mike took Madeline and Abby to ski the easier stuff. After getting up to Two Elks Lodge we headed down Poppyfields West to the bottom of the Skyline Express Lift. We were so excited to head up to Blue Sky Basin but realized that the lift didn’t open until 10am so we headed up Tea Cup Express back to the top and skied down Poppyfields West again and then took Orient Express so we could ski Poppyfields East. Poppyfields was such a fun back bowl run and I’m glad we got to ski it three times while we were able to get first tracks. We then headed up Skyline Express Lift and took in the amazing views at the top before heading down Cloud 9 to the bottom of Pete’s Express Lift. We did Grand Review several times since it was groomed, and the snow was pretty good. I was able to get some great video and photos of Peter and Emma bailing down this run. Those two are great skiers. Then we went back up the mountain via Orient Express and met Mike and the younger girls at Two Elk Lodge to eat lunch. We made a reservation to eat inside and that made lunchtime so much more enjoyable. Before lunch Mike, Madeline and Abby skied all over the front of the eastern side of the mountain. After lunch we decided to all ski together. We skied Flapjack all the way down to the Northwoods Express Lift. We loved watching Madeline crush every run with her amazing turning skills and her cuteness when she went through the wooden signs. She took every turn like a pro, even with some turns looking more like parallel turns. Then we decided to take her on an official blue, even though some of the other green runs she did all had steeper blue pitches at the end of the runs. We took her on Ramshorn which had an easy start and then got progressively harder. There was one steep pitch that I was so nervous for her going down so I popped in front of her so that she would follow my wide turns. She made it down rather well and didn’t freak out or stop at all. When I looked back up that section looked more like a black than a blue. We finished off the day with our last run down Swingsville.
We spent our first day all skiing together in the morning. We took Madeline with us up Gondola One to the middle of the mountain. We decided to head up Wildwood Express to take Madeline on The Meadows run which was the easiest green run. Peter and Emma went down Hunky Dory twice in the time it took us to go down the long Meadow run. Madeline did really well on her very first real green run. The Meadow had too many flatter sections, so we opted to head up the Mountaintop Express Lift to the left side of the mountain to try all the green runs over there. Peter and Emma headed over to Game Creek to do some harder runs while the rest of us took the Timberline Catwalk all the way over to the Sourdough Express lift and spent the rest of our morning taking Madeline down the Boomer and Sourdough runs. Madeline amazed us with her awesome turning and fearless nature. After a few runs we headed up to Two Elk Lodge to eat lunch. We found a table outside right away and waited for Emma and Peter to show up. It was a bit cold, but we managed. After lunch Abby and I took Madeline down some more fun green runs and Mike went with Emma and Peter over to Blue Sky Basin. Madeline ended up loving the Flapjack run and she crushed it, even the steeper sections. We had initially planned on just heading down the mountain, but when we realized that we got headed down an annoying catwalk, we decided to head back up the mountain on the Highland Express and take Flapjack down again, head up Northwoods Express, down the Swingsville run and then ride Gondola One back down to the bottom. We had several people ask how old Madeline was because people just couldn’t believe that she was only 4 years old. She crushed every run, was happy doing it, took all her turns like a champ, and hardly ever fell. It was quite amazing to watch.
We took our time getting up and ready to leave for our ski trip. We made it to Vail in the early afternoon and unpacked the car and settled into the condo we were renting for the next few days (Vail Core Condos). We knew this place would be much smaller than the last condo we stayed at in Beaver Creek, but we were all pleasantly surprised at how awesome it was. The kitchen was plenty big, the living room area was cozy, the master bedroom was spacious, there was enough storage space for our boots and skis plus a washer and dryer, and the kids had the coolest area to sleep in up in the loft with two bunkbeds. What was even better was the kids had their own bathroom up in the loft. This condo had clearly been updated which was awesome and the walk to Gondola One was only 5 minutes away. Mike and I ventured out to walk around the village and we were shocked at how many people were there. Most were wearing masks, but there were plenty that failed to follow the mask mandate. We found an ice-sculpture path and walked all the way to Gondola One and the Riva Bahn Lift. On the way back we saw a really cool pirate ship playground that we knew Madeline would enjoy. The village was so cool to walk through and it made us feel so lucky to be staying right in the center of the village.
Today was our last day of skiing at Beaver Creek. All of the girls had lessons again. The older girls took off with their groups from the day before and Madeline had another 1-hour private lesson in the morning. After we dropped her off Mike, Peter, and I headed up the mountain. The soreness above my ankles was so bad that I just skied all the way down to where Madeline was having lessons. Her instructor was having her follow her down the longer magic carpet and eventually Mike made it down there as well. We asked her instructor if she was ready to head down the green catwalk to the bottom and she thought she might be ready. Mike and I followed them down that run and were floored with how well Madeline was following her instructor. She kept turning and following her instructor and didn’t fall at all. It was amazing to watch. When she got down to the bottom, she was so excited that she wanted to keep on skiing. So, I let Peter and Mike go off and ski and I took her back up the gondola so that she could ski down the Cinch run and take the Highlands Lift back up to the top. It was the perfect little run for a beginner, and she skied it like a champ. We met everyone again at the same place for lunch and then had fun skiing the remainder of the day. I went up with Peter to the top so that I could take video and photos of him skiing. I tried to lean forward more in my boots and that seemed to help with the leg pain. Then I skied the rest of the day with Madeline. It was so fun being able to ski with her. She was just so excited to be able to ski all by herself and get on the small chair lift. It was an awesome breakthrough to get her to this point and it made the rest of our ski trip so much fun.
Today we decided to put the girls in ski lessons. Abby skied with Level 5 and Emma skied with Level 7. Madeline skied with us in the morning until her lesson at 1:00pm. Since I took Madeline first the day before, Mike started out with Madeline and Peter and I headed up the mountain before the crowds came. We skied down most of the runs on the Red Buffalo Express Lift. I had a hard time keeping up with Peter since he seemed to be faster on his new skis. My new boots were extremely warm with my new boot liner heaters, but I was having problems with pain in my ankles, so I took it easy today and skied at a slower pace. Although Beaver Creek is very family friendly and a quaint place to ski, there aren’t that many blue runs. Everything is either green or black and since many of the black runs were not open yet, we ended up skiing more greens than anything else. We skied down Gold Dust again to meet up with Mike and Madeline and then I took over with Madeline so Mike and Peter could see for a little bit. We all met down at the bottom and ate lunch outside in a nice cozy area with a firepit next to the outdoor ice-skating rink in the plaza. Emma and Abby ate lunch with us as well. One of the biggest changes in group lessons during COVID was the fact that the kids didn’t eat lunch with their ski instructors. I actually liked that we could all eat lunch together. After lunch the older girls went back with their groups and we dropped off Madeline for her 1-hour lesson. They didn’t offer group lessons for the 3–4-year-old group this year so we opted for a 1-hour private lesson. Mike, Peter and I headed up the mountain to ski for that hour before heading back down to pick her up. We were amazed how much she learned in that one hour. Her instructor was awesome, and she did so well that he graduated her out of the 3–4-year-old group into the regular Group 1 where she would now be able to go up the gondola with her instructor. We were beyond excited. We decided to head back to the condo and drop off Madeline and then head down to Christy Sports to see if someone could help me with my boots. They gave me some heel lifts so I could wear them the next day. Then we headed back up to get the older girls from their lessons. The kids stayed at the condo while Mike and I headed over to the Park Hyatt for our reservation time to use the water sanctuary and to get massages. It was a nice treat that Mike surprised me with, and it did not disappoint.
The first day we all skied together. I took Madeline up the Haymeadow Express gondola so that we could work on remembering starts and stops while Mike took the other kids up the mountain to the top where they could get their ski legs back on the greens and easy blue runs. Madeline was a little timid at first, but she quickly started to remember how to shuffle on her skis, slow down and stop by making a wedge with her skis and following directions. After a few hours of skiing with her and enjoying a yummy snack, Mike came down the mountain with Abby and swapped with me. I headed up the Centennial Express Lift and then headed down the very icy Redtail run to meet Peter and Emma at the Larkspur lift. We headed up that lift and then skied down Larkspur which had some great sections and some icy sections which we didn’t love. We decided to head up the Birds of Prey lift and then ski down to the bottom. Since many of the black runs were still closed, we headed down the green catwalk until we met the blue Gold Dust run. That was such a fun run and a good way to get down. We headed back to our condo for lunch and relaxed for a bit before heading back out. We left Madeline, Abby and Peter back at the condo while Mike, Emma and I headed all the way to the top near the Cookie Cabin at the top of the Cinch Express Lift. We skied down Powell, Piney and Booth Gardens a bunch of times. Peter was supposed to meet us at the top but since he left late and the lifts were going to close at 3:30, he did his own thing. It was definitely a fun day for our first day of skiing in a year.
We loved skiing at Beaver Creek so much last season that we thought it would be fun to go back again this season. We found a nice condo at the Centennial Lodge just down the street from the main resort area. It was a short walk to get to the ski lift. After settling in, Mike and I headed into the village to walk around. We went to Christy Sports and another ski shop to look at new ski boots for Mike. He ended up not getting new boots, but it was good to try things on to see what may work for when he is ready to grab new boots. Everything in the village was decorated for Christmas. We loved all the cool ice-sculptures everywhere. It was fun to be in the mountains before Christmas.
We got up early and headed up to Grand Targhee Ski Resort to go skiing today. It only took 70 minutes to get there and there was no traffic whatsoever. The drive was also pretty spectacular, and we were in awe seeing the amazing Tetons. When we got there, I walked in and got my rental boots and demo skis and we headed to get our lift tickets. With the military discount they were only $45 a person. What a steal! We grabbed some snacks and water and shoved them into Andrew’s ski pack and headed up the Dreamcatcher lift so that we could head down the runs under the Blackfoot lift. One of the guys at the ski rental place mentioned that there were some great runs over that way. Well, that guy was so wrong. Maybe on a powder day those runs are great, but they were mostly icy when we went down them. We canned skiing on this side of the mountain and headed back over to Dreamcatcher and then skied down the other side of the resort until we made our way over to the Sacajawea lift. This side of the mountain was definitely where the adventure was to be had. There were a few runs that were powderier than others and overall, we had a great time skiing down the Snowdancer run and the Medicine Bowl run. With a little more powder, we would've skied down some of the black tree runs but there just wasn't enough snow for me to feel comfortable doing that, so we skied mostly blue runs. After eating lunch at the bottom, I swapped out my LINE demo skis for some VOLKL skis. I did not like the LINE skis at all. They were much too light for me. I had way more fun skiing after lunch on a better pair of skis. We skied pretty much until the lifts were almost closed. Then it was back in the car for a pretty easy drive back to Rexburg. I dropped Andrew off back at his apartment and then headed back to the hotel to shower and rest. We met up later at Da Pineapple Grill for some pretty tasty Hawaiian food.