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.
We put Madeline in one more day of ski school. She willingly went again, and we were so grateful. The rest of us, including Abby, skied straight out the back of the Charter to the Elkhorn Lift. We rode that and then skied the blue runs to get to the main area of the ski resort. We headed up to the top of the mountain and skied down the green runs, but this time Abby took us to some of her favorite runs that she did in ski school. We discovered that we really liked Powell and Piney. The kids had fun going through the Mystic Maze adventure zone. It was basically a fast and curvy narrow run through the trees. Mike and I went down it once and then enjoyed watching the kids speed down it. We had a really fun time skiing together. Eventually Andrew and Peter took off to go do the black runs off of Grouse Mountain while the rest of us stayed on the main part of the mountain until lunchtime. We headed back to the resort and ate lunch and by this point most everyone was tired from the last few days of skiing. When we picked up Madeline, she was beyond done with ski school. She had improved so much over the last few days. She completed everything on her checklist except stopping on command. She was pretty good about stopping some of the time and she even tried going down the steeper magic carpet run because her instructor thought she was ready. After one run of that she was ready to be done. Later that night Mike had a fun date planned for just the two of us. We took a sleigh ride up to Beano’s Cabin where we had the most fantastic dinner. It was a cold ride, but we cuddled together under the blankets and it was quite romantic. It was the perfect way to end our time up at Beaver Creek Resort.
We had initially only signed Abby up for one day of ski lessons but after such a great day in lessons we decided to give her one more day. She moved up to Level 5 and would be using poles so I ended up getting new poles and passed my old ones down to Emma who passed hers down to Abby. Abby was so excited when she found out that Garret would be her instructor again. She even found one of the girls she met the day before and immediately bonded with her. Madeline was a little more timid about riding in the elevator without me, but like a brave little girl, she went with the nice ladies without crying.
The rest of us spent the morning riding the green runs up on the main part of the mountain like the day before. The reality is the blue runs were closer to the bottom and somewhat icy so we stayed as close to the top of the mountain as we could. After getting bored of the green runs, Emma, Peter, Andrew and I headed back over to the double black so that we could get to the Grouse Mountain Express Lift. Mike was a good sport and skied down some of the other runs while we tried the harder stuff. I didn’t like the double black as well as I liked it the previous day. But the kids thought it was pretty awesome. We took Emma on Screech Owl and she loved it. I got lots of photos of the kids going down the moguls and off the jumps before leaving them to head to the Spa at the Park Hyatt to sit in the hot tub with Mike. Since Mike booked us massages for the evening time, we had access to the spa all day. It was so nice to sit and relax before heading back to the resort to each lunch with the kids. Just like the previous day, we ate, relaxed, watched TV, and then Mike and I headed back to get the girls from their ski lessons. We made dinner for everyone and then Mike and I went to get our massages. That was the way to do it. It’s fantastic to have built in babysitters to watch Madeline.
We took our time in the morning getting everything ready and packing the car for our ski trip to Beaver Creek. We arrived around lunchtime and headed first to the grocery store for some lunch from the deli. We ate in the car and then headed to the Charter at Beaver Creek which is where we would be staying. Since our room was not quite ready, we parked in front of the resort and then got on our ski gear and piled into the resort shuttle and headed over to the main ski area. Mike took Madeline first while I went up the mountain with the older kids. We skied up near the Red Buffalo Express Lift and did a few of the easy runs up there before Abby and I headed down to switch with Mike. The kids met Mike up at the Cookie Cabin and they skied until the end of the day. Madeline was pretty much done skiing when I got her and so we just waited at the bottom for the 3pm free warm cookies that Beaver Creek Ski Resort is known for. Madeline, Abby and I were in heaven. We decided to head over to the Charter via the shuttle to check into our room. We were pleasantly surprised by how nice the Charter was. We got settled and then Mike and Andrew headed to get groceries for the next few days.
On our first full day at Beaver Creek I got Abby and Madeline ready and headed on over to the ski base to get them checked into their ski lessons for the day. Mike bought Abby a one-day lesson and Madeline a 3-day lesson the previous day. After speaking with the instructors, we ended up putting Abby in Level 4. We wanted her to focus on more parallel turns. For this level, she didn’t need poles. Madeline went into the beginner level with the other 3-5-year olds. I was a little worried about how she would be when I had to say goodbye to her at the elevator. A sweet lady helped me label her skis and then she held Madeline’s hand and took her down to the kid center on the lower level of the resort. Madeline spent most of the day on the magic carpet with plenty of fun breaks like story time, snack time, and play time. Abby had a great time in her lesson and picked up a few new skis on parallel turns. She was excited that they made her one of the kid leaders and she had nothing but great things to say about her instructor Garret.
While Abby and Emma were in lessons, the rest of us took the Centennial Express Lift to the Cinch Express Lift and to the Cookie Cabin Summit. We spent most of the morning skiing down the easy green groomers as that was where there was the most powder…so we thought. We skied down the Red Buffalo and Booth Gardens runs the most. After a few hours of exploring this area, Andrew, Peter and I headed over to the Grouse Mountain Express Lift via the double black Golden Eagle run. It was way easier since it was mostly powder. The steep moguls would have been nearly impossible without all the powder. Once on Grouse Mountain we skied down the single black Screech Owl twice. It was definitely more fun to navigate those moguls. The boys had fun speeding down the moguls and going off some jumps. From there we headed all the way back to the Charter via the Creekside Skiway. It was so much fun to ski all the way to where we were staying. We met Mike and Emma back at the room for a late lunch. By the time we ate and relaxed, no one really wanted to go back out. Mike and I headed back out to ski for just a little longer before picking up Madeline at 2:15pm from her ski school. We hopped on the shuttle and headed back to our resort to drop her off before heading back to pick up Abby at 3:00pm and grab our free warm chocolate chip cookie. We spent the rest of the day just chilling at the resort, watching movies, and eating.
After a restful night staying at the Aspen Ridge Condominiums, we packed up all of our stuff, loaded the car, and headed over to Keystone for another fun day of skiing. This morning I took the older kids out first while Mike and Madeline had fun venturing around together. Mike put her in a little red wagon and walked over to the River Run Gondola where they both hopped on and headed up to the top of the mountain. They tried the magic carpet up at the top near the Summit House and then headed on over to Kidtopia which was a giant ice playground area. Meanwhile, the older kids and I headed up the Peru Express and then took the catwalk over to the Montezuma Express to get to the Summit House area. Abby and Andrew took the Outpost Gondola to get over to the Outpost lodge while Peter, Emma and I skied down Mozart and then took the Santiago Express to get there. That was a huge mistake as this relatively easy blue was super icy, making it a very difficult and not a very fun run. After meeting up we decided to venture over to the Outback Summit and skied many of the blues on that side of the mountain. We found some great runs and spent a good deal of time over there before heading back to the Outpost Lodge. We got in touch with Mike who told us that they were at Kidtopia. We all headed back on the Outpost Gondola and met up for lunch at the Summit House. We found a nice cozy spot next to the fireplace. It was probably the warmest we have ever been while eating our lunch. It was awesome. After lunch I took Madeline over to the magic carpet but after going down the hill and waiting in line at the bottom to go back up that I decided that maybe I would try taking her down an easy green run instead. I took her down the green Scout run and up the Ranger lift. She did fairly well in keeping the tips of her skis together to control her speed. All I had to tell her was triangle and she would push her skis out. She responded better to triangle than to pie. Since she didn’t really know how to turn, I would put her in between my legs when she needed to turn. She loved getting on the chairlift and riding that back up to the top. We did that run 3 times before she started to melt down. We sat on a bench up at the top and waited for the others to meet us. The girls were pretty tired, so they headed down the gondola with me and Madeline. At the bottom we waited too long for the shuttle to pick us up and take us over to the parking lot to meet the boys. Overall, it was another fun day of skiing!
After a few days of being lazy we decided we needed to head to the mountains to go skiing. We rented a condo through VRBO at Keystone so that we could ski two days. We headed up first to Breckenridge and skied there the first day. Mike took the older kids up the mountain first while I ventured over to the magic carpet with Madeline for her very first introduction to skiing. At first I wasn’t quite sure how it was going to go but she picked up on things rather quickly. She was walking in her skis and side stepping in no time. I spent the first few times walking alongside her as she learned how to get on and off the magic carpet. I used the clips to attach the tops of her skis together to help her as she learned how to ski down the little hill without crossing her skis and falling. She loved it. We only went down 3 or 4 times before she was ready to rest. We headed inside to get a treat and some hot chocolate. Before long, we were back out on the magic carpet but this time with my skis on as well. By this point she was able to go up the magic carpet ahead of me and get off all by herself. She could even go down the hill mostly by herself. Eventually Mike met up with us and we traded so that I could go off and ski with the older kids. I headed up Peak 9 towards the Overlook lodge where the girls were waiting for me. The boys had gone off exploring and weren’t back yet. We waited for a little bit but ended up leaving to go ski. The girls and I had a great time skiing together. The sun came out and warmed things up a bit and the wind died down, so the girls seemed to be happier than they were in the early morning. We ended up meeting up with Anna and her mom Lindsey who were also there skiing. We never did run into the boys up at the top but instead met up with them at the magic carpet at the end of the day. Everyone enjoyed watching Madeline show off her new skills and joined in with her in riding up the magic carpet and skiing down the little hill. I think it was safe to say that Madeline’s first day of skiing was a success.
I had been looking forward to this trip for a long time. We checked into a small hotel where our entire floor smelled like weed. After unpacking, we went shopping and then ate at KFC. Needless to say, it was an odd first night. The first day, we went to ski at Breckenridge, which is one of my favorite ski areas in the state. I decided to take everybody on a small hike, which gives you access to some of the peaks, where you can drop into untouched powder and rocket down the side of a bowl. It was a hard hike, but easily rewarding as we were greeted with an amazing view and endless selection of possible lines to ski. I really enjoyed skiing all day with some of my friends. That night, we basically sat at the hotel and ate snacks for dinner until we went down to the "pool" which was a 2ft baby pool, and we messed around for almost an hour. The next day we went to Copper Mountain and spent the first half of the day skiing some blues and blacks, as well as many tree runs. We eventually went to the CAT runs, which are only accessible by taking a CAT up the mountain, then hiking 2 miles to the peaks. It was a really easy hike, believe it or not, and we made it up the mountain in no time. The view from the peak was one of the best views I had ever seen in my life, and the narrow EX run was a dream of powder and trees, making it seem like the perfect winter wonderland. I really enjoyed skiing with some good friends of mine. It was an unforgettable weekend.
Since Mike was tired today I was able to go out with all the kids to ski while he stayed back with Madeline. We left a little earlier than we did the day before and made our way across the mountainside all the way over to the Two Elks Lodge area and down Poppyfields so that we could show Andrew and Abby how cool skiing is at the Blue Sky Basin. We were so happy that we didn't have to wait in a long line at the Skyline Express Lift today. Once we got to the top at Belle's Camp we got some water and went to the bathroom. Then we headed once again to the Big Rock Park run and were somewhat disappointed that they had groomed the bottom half of the run. The day before it was so powdery which made it so much fun. No big deal...we headed up Pete's Express Lift so that we could ski the runs over there. Since we had Abby, we let the boys go off and do the Revolution run while the girls tried the Star run and had the best time skiing through the BEST powder in and out of the trees. It turns out that this was the coolest place to ski. Being able to ski in the trees but then pop out onto a wider trail anytime we wanted was so much fun. The girls had fun following me in and out of the trees. Even Abby was able to keep up with me and Emma. After doing that run several times and meeting the boys at the bottom of the lift we decided to take Abby on the black Revolution run. She did really well but there were still tears since the small steep section scared her. We had fun anyways and decided to head all the way back down to the Skyline Express Lift so that we could go eat lunch at Belle's Camp. There were SO MANY PEOPLE at the top and it was hard to find a place to eat even though there was a ton of places to eat outside. The weather was actually quite warm today and so it wasn't too cold to sit outside. The boys opted to sit in the snowbanks on the outskirts of Belle's Camp while the girls and I found a few open spots at the end of one of the tables. We didn't spend too long eating but nevertheless, we enjoyed our sandwiches, chips and hot chocolate. After a decent amount of time resting and filling up our tummies, we headed out again to ski Big Rock Park and then headed over to the lifts we had been doing all morning. We did one more run with Abby through the trees on the Star run but quickly realized that she was worn out and was starting to fall apart emotionally. After quite a frustrating and slow run I left her at the Dawg Haus eating area at the bottom of Pete's Express Lift with some money for a treat and my cell phone so that she could rest while we did a few more runs. Emma and I joined the boys and decided to go down Revolution. It was as good as the day before but we were even more confident this time. The second time going down it Emma and I even tried going in some of the trees on the steep sections and then I took pictures of the kids going off the jump at the bottom of the steep section. It was a fantastic way to end our awesome day at Blue Sky Basin. After picking up Abby we all headed back to the Tea Cup Express Lift so that we could head back to Lionshead Village. On the way down the least little section I got ahead of Abby and right after I turned the corner onto the catwalk she fell. I had the sense to stop at the curve and wait but was getting worried when I didn't see her after 5 min had passed. Luckily another guy had helped her with her binding which had apparently been a little messed up. The line at the lift was a zoo by the time we got there as everyone else was heading back to the front side of the mountain. We took our usual route back to the village and when we finally made it back we couldn't find Peter until we saw him talking to one of the Ski Patrol guys. Apparently he was going too fast down the already steep and icy bottom section and got a warning. The patrol guy was nice, according to Peter, and there wasn't a fine so we just laughed about it and reminded Peter to be more careful in the slow zones at the bottom.
Today was our last day in Vail and it was another beautiful morning. Peter and Abby stayed behind to rest and help me pack up the car while Mike took Andrew and Emma out skiing in the morning. They went up the normal route from Lionshead Village and skied down Hunky Dory, which they LOVED. They said it was the best run of the day since they had just groomed it. They did Northstar before heading to the back side of the mountain. Northstar apparently was not good because the moguls were deep and ice. Once they were on the back side of the mountain and into the Blue Sky Basin, they skied down the Grand Review run and LOVED it. They also skied down the Slot run and the black Hornsilver run before heading back to meet us at Vail Village. Overall, they had a great morning and by the time we all met at 11:30 we were all ready to head home.
After getting everyone packed up and feeding everyone dinner, we loaded up the car and headed out on an epic weekend at Vail. The drive would have been pretty pleasant if only Madeline had not gotten sick twice in the car. This was the first time she had actually thrown up since being a baby and it was unpleasant for everyone in the car. Poor little thing finally fell asleep right before the Vail pass which was good because the weather started to turn nasty and it was a white knuckled drive from Vail pass to our hotel. We did make it to the Marriott's Streamside Villas safely so that was good. We bought an Encore package last year so that we could take advantage of staying at another Marriott Vacation Club without having to actually buy into their ridiculous program. After getting Madeline a bath and everyone settle we all headed to bed so that we could get up early to ski.
Waking up to freshly falling snow is a magical thing….its even better when you’re staying at one of the greatest ski resorts in the world. I stayed with Madeline at the condo, and Mike took the rest of the kids out into the wild. There was about 1 foot of fresh Colorado powder ready to play in and it continued falling all morning. No one was quite ready for how much powder there was on the slopes. It took everyone a few minutes to adjust. They headed up on a high speed quad and made their way up to the Mountaintop Express lift. Once there, the boys went off in search of steep stuff and Mike took the girls down some tamer runs to get them used to turning in powder that came up to their thighs. Abby was having a tough time, so they dropped her off at the top of the mountain in one of the restaurants. Emma and Mike then joined back up with the boys and went down Northstar which was a groovy black that had so much powder that it was hard not to giggle while skiing. After a few laps, they went back to find Abby. To their dismay, she had made friends with a bunch of older skiers and was regaling them with stories of Madeline throwing up in the car on the way to Vail. It was pretty funny. Mike left Emma there to warm up and did a few more laps around the top of the mountain with the boys. After that, they grabbed the girls (who were warmed up with hot chocolate and brownies) and headed to meet me at the bottom of Vail Village. They took Riva’s run, which is a great black run all the way down to Vail Village. This involved the infamous tourist trap which is a steep and pitchy black run. Abby handled it like a champ. In all, it was an amazing morning with killer freshies on amazing snow.
After meeting everyone and switching at the car, we took Gondola One from Vail Village while the older three kids ate their lunch on the way up. From the top of the Gondola we got right on the Mountaintop Express Lift. The kids took me on the black Northstar run and the blue Northwoods run. There was so much powder that I was really having a hard time skiing with good form. It took a few runs just to get the hang of it. Between the intense powder, the low visibility, and the snow that was falling, it was a harder ski day for me than for the kids. On the way back down the mountain we took Ramshorn and Upper Lions Way to get back to Lionshead Village where we caught the shuttle back to our condo at the Marriott.
After a snowy start to our ski vacation we were all eager to get up this morning to hit the slopes with fresh powder. Since Andrew wasn't feeling well and Abby was too tired to ski, we left them back at the room with Madeline. Mike, Emma, Peter, and I headed to the Gondola at Lionshead Village and made our way towards the Blue Sky Basin which Mike and my favorite place to ski when we were here a few years ago. From the top of the Gondola we headed down the Game trail to take the Game Creek Express Lift up. Since Vail is such a big mountain it took us a little while to get all the way over to the east side of the mountain before dipping into the back side. First we took Hunky Dory down to the Mountaintop Express Lift. This was such a cool run with the freshest powder we have ever skied in. It was a nice treat after walking on mostly flat terrain for 5 minutes from the top of the lift to the top of this run. Peter, Emma, and I took a short mogul run off of the main trail and met up with Mike at the bottom and then headed down to our next lift. From the top of Mountaintop Express Lift we took the Timberline Catwalk all the way to the Sourdough Express Lift. This is probably one of the only catwalk trails that is actually fun to ride. It is nestled between a wall of trees on both sides. With the trees covered in all white it was quite a site to behold. Finally, at the top of the Sourdough Lift we were able to pop on over to the backside of the mountain. We took the Poppyfields run all the way down to the Skyline Express Lift which takes you up to the top of the Blue Sky Basin. It took us about 1 hour from the start of our day to get to the top of Blue Sky Basin and it was TOTALLY WORTH IT...even with the 15-20 min it took to get on the Skyline Express Lift up to Belles Camp. We took the kids down a little bit of Cloud 9 until we reached Pete's Bowl and skied down Big Rock Park. This run is like zigging and zagging in and out of beautiful giant trees. It is a hoot of a run to ski. After getting to the bottom we spent the majority of our morning going up Pete's Express Lift to ski Resolution which was the coolest black between Big Rock Park and Grand Preview. Emma and I were a little nervous at first but it turned out to be very doable, especially with lots of great powder. It was so fun to be able to ski where there weren't a lot of people and to try and perfect our skills of getting in and around powdery moguls. We spent most of our morning in this area of the mountain before heading back up the Skyline Express Lift to Belles Camp to eat lunch. We said goodbye to Mike while he headed back to see if the other two kids want to go out and ski. Peter, Emma, and I had lunch at the hut at the top of Belle's Camp. We split a sandwich, chips, hot chocolate and a treat and after that we were ready to hit the slopes again. We spent another 2 hours doing more of the same runs before making our long trek back to Lionshead Village. It was such a fabulous ski day with the most perfect weather conditions and lots of powder to ski on.
Skin on! Today we got to ski with the cousins. Jake and Josh came with us up to Park City. Mike was able to get them a military discount, so the lift tickets were more reasonable. We cruised some blues at first, then Andrew, Peter, Jake and I headed up to the double blacks again. It was just as much fun this time as it was the first time. Peter and I were a little more confident this time. Mike, Josh, and the girls explored every run they could find on the mountain. They had a ton of fun. Their favorite run was definitely Assessment. It was long, flowy, and the snow was great. The worst was Parley’s Park which was a total sheet of ice. We all met up for lunch at Miner’s Cabin again. Everyone had sandwiches and of course a brownie which was really, really good. Then off for an afternoon of hitting it hard. I think the favorite run was the black run which was moguls, but just right (Sampson). Too bad the lift that services it was so slow. At the end of the day, Mike found these great hand made doughnuts that you dip in chocolate and then add your own toppings….they were possibly the best doughnuts of all time. It might have been the best way to end a great day. We were so grateful to be able to ski and to be together as a family. Families that ski together, stay together…or at least meet at the bottom of the run at some point.