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.