July 11, 2011
Our annual trip to Colorado got off on the wrong foot this year, when both boys came down with bad ear infections and were in no condition for air travel. We literally were told by the doctor the afternoon before our flight that they could not fly! Instead, we booked a last minute car rental, and set out on a ROAD TRIP at 7 pm that night. Fast planning, but we were desperate for this trip and all the fun that it brings our family yearly. We could not miss it over an ear infection!
Let me just say, I don’t think I have EVER stayed up all night before. Not fun. Also, we had conveniently blocked out the fact that there was a major winter storm and ice storm that had just hit Oklahoma, and 2 hours into our trip we were down to 20 mph and driving on a complete sheet of ice. Terrifying. Luckily the weather moderately improved in Kansas, and after a disastrous breakfast stop at a Burger King in eastern Colorado (Pierce spilling a giant mug of coffee on the floor, and Hayden eating French toast sticks until he threw up), we finally pulled up to Denver International Airport to pick up my parents (who took the flight we were supposed to be on!). We actually beat them, so Hayden was able to watch airplanes take-off and land for about an hour, which was a total bonus. Then off we went to the mountains. As usual, pulling up to Grand Timber Lodge was thrilling, knowing that our week ahead would be full of great family memories and fun snowy experiences, and the unit we got this year was the best ever, with a great view of snow-capped peaks and trees. Nate and I kept thinking of how wonderful it would be to wake up to that view out your bedroom window each morning!
For me the absolute highlight of the trip was seeing Hayden ski for the first time, and be as passionate about the sport as I am at such an early age. It thrilled me and gave me a glimpse into the future and all the fun we will have as a family on the mountain. It also gave me a glimpse into my past, LOL, in that I never had any idea how hard my parents worked to get us on the slopes! As you can imagine, a child is fairly incapable of literally walking in ski boots, let alone carrying gear! It was exhausting, but totally worth it.
We first set him up in a snow bank next to our condo in his gear, and he demonstrated a pretty keen ability to balance in the skis. Later that afternoon, we took him to practice on a gentle sloping run near our condo. We were all hooked up with one of those “wee-ones” child harness systems, and off we went! “Faster daddy faster” was all we heard the whole first time down the hill….while I trudged along with a camera and Pierce on my back in the baby-backpack. Well, we got to the bottom of the hill and he was just buzzing with excitement, telling us “let’s ski again mommy!”. Thus began our arduous journey back to our condo (via shuttle since I was scared to put him on the lift so soon). Obviously, because why not, Hayden needed to go potty before our next run, so the clothes ALL had to come off, and back on again, while Pierce tried to patiently wait in his hot snowsuit in the backpack. Ugh. But we eventually made it back out for a second run where I skied this time and Nate lugged the big babykins along on his back. Tons of work. Super fun!!
In fact, it was so successful that we hesitantly decided to take him on the real slopes on our last day in Breckenridge. I was super scared about the lift, but we found the beginner section of the mountain, and although it was a high-speed 6 person lift, it boarded so slowly that it would have been impossible to mess it up. Thus we were off, all the while with Hayden exclaiming that we were flying, and his daddy and I clinging to him for dear life! But he didn’t wiggle at all, and seemed to understand that it was important to sit still on the lift. It was actually smooth sailing on and off! We did the whole route twice around, with his cruising down the hill like a pro and constantly telling me to go faster, LOL. He continued to balance well on the skis, although he clearly had no concept of turning or stopping – those skills he will hopefully learn next year when he is old enough to attend ski school. But let me tell you, Nate and I were both beyond proud of that little man, who braved the cold and wind, and uncomfortable ski boots and googles and helmets, all with a complete smile and sense of adventure.
In addition to skiing for the first time, Hayden and Pierce both loved the free gondola that “flew” from town up to peaks 7 and 8 on the mountain. My mom generously offered to watch the kids so I could ski, and this was their daily activity – brave woman to do it alone!! We also did a ton of delicious cooking, some hot-tubbing and swimming, and had a few nights on the town (although these were few and far between given the fact that I do have a 10 month old and 2 1/2 year old LOL). A great adventure as usual and we are looking forward to next year!