Thursday, February 13, 2014

First family ski trip to Stratton

Grab a cup o' Joe because if a picture's worth a thousand words, I've got a million...

You know how I get snap-happy ;) 

So we are not the type of parents who run away from the children whenever we get a chance. We like to expose them to as much of 'real life' as possible. I've been grocery-shopping with them since they were weeks old in the double snap 'n go, always pushing the limit of 'five pounds' in the lower carrier, and so, they now know the drill at Costco, "Humpty Depot", etc. 

So this goes double for the things that we like to do. I can't wait for them to swim and bike with mommy, we started piano lessons with a real teacher two weeks ago, and hubby has been carefully calculating the exact timing of starting them on *skis*, something I have zero experience doing.

This has been a life-long love of his, as his father put him out on the snow at the age of four. The story goes, that his Dad placed him on the snow, reached around to buckle his own boot, and the four-year-old version of my husband was already sailing halfway down the hill. Had he been taught how to stop, he claims, he would have never fallen down.

So, although we live on the Main Line in close proximity to the Poconos, those are apparently "not technically mountains", so for the twyns' first time, hubby wanted to do it right and start in the beautiful green mountains of Vermont. Stratton is one of the closest mountains and very 'classy', for lack of a better word...the village, shops, school, and lodge all closely resemble a western resort-style mountain. My father-in-law splurged on a village three-bedroom condo, and I couldn't have been happier with the setup. The kids would be in ski camp from 9 to 3, and I would take my lessons from 9:30 to 12. If anything went wrong, or anyone got scared or sick, we could hop over to the condo and take care of business. We actually had a great view of one of the ski lifts from our condo terrace, and a fireplace! I highly recommend this endeavor. 
Skis and Grandfather all tucked in to the minivan.
Stratton was about a three and a half hour drive from my father-in-law's home in New Jersey, and we were about a two hour drive from there. So in about five and a half hours, you too could be on one of the premier mountains on the East Coast. My husband and his father typically stopped in Troy, NY, outside of Albany, for lunch or dinner, depending on when they were driving up. When we approached Troy I put the word "food" into my GPS and Dinosaur BBQ came up. My father in law immediately recognized the name and we pulled in. It was the perfect road trip stop. 
Family-friendly, crayons and everything, pretty good bbq
My son was thankful for the ski trip before it began
Cool bathroom decor... [yes I was snap-happy getting started]
The kids fell asleep heading into the mountains and we put them in their bunks right away. I quickly took a look at the rest of the apartment and was absolutely thrilled it was so spacious and comfy, in case my worst fears were realized and one of the three of us was done with skiing prematurely.
Four bunks. Room for friends for next time!
 Living Room with fireplace
Master with terrace
Third bedroom
These are private condos, so no two are the same, but I have to imagine that the management company does a good job of keeping amenities consistent.

Now...for the skiing part! We got the kids outfitted at the camp and then took care of ourselves. Because my lessons were very close to the kids' learning area, I got to snap a few pics. ALL of the little bundled-up snowmen were freakin' adorable. I could have watched them all day. Even the ones who were melting down, bless their little spoiled selves. I honestly was waiting for one of mine to do the same.

Ski pros
Absolute Amateur
The "Caterpillar" was my moving platform up the learning hill
I took the adult group lessons and the first day was slow-going. I'm more of a trial-and-error type of girl, not 'let's learn form first.' But it was great to bond with my fellow newbies and watch each other try. So after my lessons I hit the "caterpillar" platform and was ready to take my first run down the learning hill. Thank goodness my husband texted me he was on his way, because I sat on the bench for about five minutes wondering how I was going to make it down. My hero came barreling out of the caterpillar and started my 'real' lessons. I felt sixteen again, I swear. I've never seen him so confident, and I'm still wondering why it's taken us fifteen years to do this together.

I let him go back to his 'real skiing' and did the learning hill about twenty more times on my own and was ready to go pro, deciding on who would be my sponsors.

I picked up the kids and asked them, "Did you like skiing?"

Of course they did.
My son especially. He just loves the snow!
We went out to eat at "Mulligan's", a pub in the Village, and lo and behold, the decor was lovely:
You know Vermont has some crafty quilters. 
Little guy fell asleep on the couch like this after Day 1.
Day 2. Headed out with the Pro's like myself. Hubby carried my skis like a teen dream.
I tried to express to the coaches at the Group Lessons that I was already a pro and ready for more. They tested the fifteen of us going down the learning hill and separated us into three groups. Apparently I was "advanced" so they put me up on the lifts to the green courses.
Here's me, the calm before the storm.
Let's just say that's where the skiing photos end. My group was four beautiful ladies, all of whom had been on a green course before. One was from Russia, one from Spain, one from the U.K., and here I was, in my own little mini-Olympics downhill race, representing the good ol' U.S. of A. I did not get on the podium.

Me and my big ol' mouth, getting me into a world of trouble. I swished, I swayed, my ski popped off and I fell. I got back on, I swished, I swayed, and my ski popped off and I fell. I got back on the lift, I tried again and again, but eventually my legs stopped listening to the directions my brain was giving them, so I figured I needed to call it a day. 

Met these guys for a sunny lodge-side latte & cookie, and returned my rentals.

The kids' made a lot more progress the second day and moved 'up' again in their levels. My husband caught a video.

And, as is my obsessive way, I was Google-ing Poconos' kids' ski camps later that afternoon so that we could take a day-trip and reinforce what they've learned close to home sometime before this [extremely snowy!] season ends. 

That night we headed out into the snow sans-kids to Manchester to my father-in-law's favorite local restaurant, Ye Olde Tavern. It was absolutely delicious - I had Crispy Duck with blackberry sauce and a Doughnut Bread Pudding. MMMmmmm. I could get used to this cold-weather-New-England-comfort-food.

The best part of the trip was being introduced to a past-time of my husband's that really speaks to him. When you have that "Ahhhh yes, I'm good at this!" moment, you want your partner to see it and remember it so that when you have those "Ahhhh sh**, I suck at this!" moments, you still respect each other. 

So we had both in one long weekend.  And I had my 16-year-old moment, which makes me feel like I just landed a ski coach for a boyfriend. Hey, I don't judge what makes your marriage work...;) 

Happy Snow Day! 
Have you done anything outside your comfort zone lately?


  1. Love this! Aubrey & Graham have been begging to get on some skis, and the Olympics have me itching to try again as well. Last time we were out, I was pregnant. You could say it's been too long. ;)

    1. We'll have to find a day to get out to Poconos together! It's so close!!

  2. Nice story. Sounds like a great time.

    1. Who knew I would survive, eh?? The Polish/Pittsburgher in me emerges...

  3. Looks like a great weekend! Nice work stepping outside your comfort zone, thats how you grow!


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