For years, Jason and I have been talking about taking a ski trip with the kids. Before Ryder was born, Jason was very into snowboarding, constantly hitting the slopes while working in California. I have been putting it off because the last time I was on the mountain was about ten years ago in Park City Utah. We were in town for Sundance, so I figured it would be the perfect time to try snowboarding. I had a lesson booked for the afternoon, but thought I would give it a try beforehand to get a feel for it. Well I got a feel for it alright; I fell on the ice so hard, that I thought I had broken my tail bone. After waiting hours in the Park City hospital, I found out it was only badly bruised. That was day one of the trip, so I hung in the lodge for the next two days, and on the last day, I tried my luck at skiing. My experience on skis was definitely better, but to this day, I don’t think I ever fully recouped from that fall.
I knew it was time for me to put my fears aside, so we decided to take the big kids away for a little ski weekend. I spent most of last week running around town picking up snow gear for the kids. Since it would be their first outing, there was lots to buy, and I wanted to make sure they would be comfortable and warm on the mountain. Packed and ready to go on Saturday morning, we set out to beautiful snowy Stowe Mountain Lodge, in Vermont. The six hour drive up was scenic, with the snow covered landscape growing as we drove further north. Arriving late afternoon, we rented our equipment, so we could hit the slopes early Sunday morning. . Ryder and Siella were excited to try on the gear for the first time, and surprisingly they weren’t bothered by the tight fit.
The kids napped in the car, so we skipped lunch on the way up. With grumbling tummies, we headed to Hourglass restaurant, located right in the lodge for an early, casual dinner. As we ate, I could tell the kids were anxious to do something, so I promised them a special surprise if they finished their entire meal. After dinner, we walked right outside to their new outdoor ice skating rink. I didn’t think we had it in us, but somehow, we spent almost 2 hours on the ice.
As we walked to return our skates, the kids noticed a group of people roasting marshmallows, around one of the fire pits. Ryder and Siella love making s’mores, so what better way to end the day than sitting around the fire with family. With a chocolate and graham cracker high, we headed back to our suite for an early bedtime to get ready for the next morning.
The ski in, ski out option couldn’t have been more perfect since we were able to valet all of our equipment, and just be able to have it all waiting for us the following morning. Next morning came, and we were greeted by super warm temperatures. You don’t normally associate skiing in January with higher temps, I was grateful for the warmth, given this was kids’ first time on skis. Our skis were waiting at the ski valet, which was very convienent, as we did not need to lug all of the equipment to and from the room. Following breakfast and getting geared up, we dropped the kids off at Stowe Mountain’s Kid Adventures. This school offers lessons to children for half and full days. At first, we planned to pick them up at 12:30pm, but we decided it was best for them to spend all day in lessons, to get a feel for it. Over the course of the day, they were fed lunch, snacks and given continuos lesson. Their time in the center offered Jason and I some uninterrupted time to take our first runs together. I naturally started back on the bunny slopes, and felt quite intimidate but after the first two runs, my confidence increased.
Before our lunch together, we headed over check on the kids. To our surprise, and right before our eyes, we saw a boy looking like Ryder heading down the beginners slope. Both of us questioned if it was him, as we expected him to still be learning the basics at the kiddie lift. Ryder was smiling ear to ear, loving every minute on the snow. His instructor informed us that he had graduated from the training area by 1pm, so they went up the chair lift. To say we were blown aways was a complete understatement. Siella was enjoying herself as well, spending most of her time in the training area, perfecting her “pizza stance.”
Knowing that the kids were in good hands, Jason and I went for lunch together at the Skinny Pancake, in the middle of the village. The Pancake has a variety of crepes and salads, and plenty of local brew and cocktails. After lunch, we had time for a few more runs, before picking up the kids. Since we had 40 minutes before the lifts closed, the four of us took a few runs down the bunny, to show off what they had learned that day. Siella needs to definitely work on her turns and stops, but she made it down the hill!
You can’t ski without stopping for hot chocolate. We used this time to talk about how the kids tore up the slopes and how they wanted to ski every weekend. After our hot cocoa, the kids and I headed to the spa, where they received chocolate facials, and I enjoyed a hot oil wrap massage. My 5o minute treatment was absolute heaven, and it was exactly what I needed after a day out on the slopes. With all of my back problems, I tend to get a bunch of massages, but I can honestly say it probably the best massage I’ve ever had. I was temped to extend the session, but I was afraid to miss our dinner reservation at Solstice.
Solstice is the upscale restaurant, located inside the Stowe Mountain Lodge. Their menu was filled with dishes sourced from local vendors and produce, with cabot grits, and a neighboring bakery’s breads and jams. We were so full from dinner that the kids didn’t even want dessert. Ryder was anxious to get back to the room and get to sleep, so we could wake up and get back out there.
The next morning, it was the same routine. A quick breakfast at the Beanery cafe, before checking the kids back into ski school. Knowing we needed to leave early to pack and drive home, we only checked the kids in for a half day. The afternoon came quicker than expected, and we literally had to drag the kids off the mountain.
They became instantaneous ski bums, and we are already planning our next trip. I’m excited that after all these years, I’ve overcome my fears, and have introduced my children into this whole new world of winter sports. I see tons of trips into our future, and look forward to eventually taking Gemma along. A new family activity is born.