Saturday, February 28, 2015

Skiing Vermont #skifamily

Let's talk about Stratton.

As ski season starts to melt around us (wishful thinking?), let me post about our second annual ski trip to Stratton, Vermont a few weeks ago!

Once again, on the drive up, we stopped at Dinosaur BBQ in Troy, NY, and it did not disappoint.

My father-in-law is really getting to know these ski critters most people call granchildren.

He and his wife have been traveling up to Stratton a lot this year and know all the ins and outs to show us how it's done.

So, Stratton is this adorable little small town that they have built a ski mountain around.

Just kidding, it's a manufactured little village-of-a-town that accommodates the needs of the skiers on Southern Vermont's highest peak. Think of it as Disney's version of Switzerland. I love capitalism.

So much has changed this year, and I can finally say I actually skied Vermont this year. Last year I was just rocking the magic carpet, falling down the tiniest green slope, and hitting the spa when my rental boots began screaming.

This year we have invested a lot of time and money in this hobby. An investment in our future, as we see it, because my husband and his father have enjoyed this past time for over three decades together.

This investment, among other things, included a real 'ski jacket' for me so that this Florida girl didn't mind 0 degree weather! As long as it meant fresh powder brah...
Upper Wanderer
My husband said I was lucky to experience conditions he hadn't ever seen on the East Coast in his lifetime. They took me across the mountain to the other, less populated, side, "Sun Bowl", and we found a windy trail that led us through some trees as the snow fell gently around us. It was truly magical (even if I did fall and get some snow on my Goggles.)

The twyns were enjoying the Ski School and moved up the ranks to Wolves this year! That is two steps up from where they left last year, and one step down from attempting the Black Diamond level trails! They took to the whole thing really remarkably. As a mom who is still prone to wiping their noses and stuffing their mouths with snack after snack to stave off meltdowns, I just couldn't believe I didn't get a call every five minutes to come help my whiny little brats cope with someone forcing them down a cold wet hill of ice and snow strapped to an uncomfortable apparatus of uncontrollable plastic.

This is definitely a "whole family" hobby I could get used to.

Plus, it had the added benefit of kicking my a$$ into gear for marathon training! A series of what feels like 90 second squats as you are careening down a hill is certainly going to get your muscles in action.
The Meadows, overlooking Bromley Mountain in the background
Let me flash back to say we started off the trip with some good ol' fashioned tubing. My husband and his father were shocked to see the "Sun Bowl" side of the mountain fully developed with a full parking lot and all kinds of snow sports activities that didn't involve skiing. This is also the side of the mountain where the Ice Castles were.
Tubing fools
The tubing was some serious fun! The handlers will sometimes give you a nice extra push so they can bet which one of their customers is going to hit the barrier at the other end of the chute. Don't worry, it is all snowy and cushy...well, not really, but it is a lot of fun. Also you get to 'ride' up the tubing-specific 'lift' they have created so that you don't have to carry your tube back up the hill. I would say for the hour-time-slot, we got at least 12 rides in? Maybe my son got in a little more! It began to snow a little as we were leaving and in the lights, it was a little bit magical and a really fabulous welcome to our time there. 

Our view from the Manchester View
We stayed at the Manchester View and it was about a 25 minute drive to Stratton Mountain. The views were beautiful and the twyns loved playing with the "crystals" , as they called them, instead of their usual name, icicles. 

It was very convenient for me to watch them from inside the room. 

They set up the firewood and starter for you each night so that you can enjoy it without much effort as soon as you return from a day of swishing, swooping, and flopping, on the slopes. 

very necessary
The added bonus to this hotel was that my father-in-law's doggy could join us, meet Teddy:

We ate at three very nice, local restaurants: 

Mulligan's Pub. Great Clam chowda & burgers. Very family friendly.
Raven's Den. Finer fare (I had delicious mussels) and a lovely roaring fire.
I really enjoyed the simpler, "Meadows" trails and a few blue-square trails like "Black Bear." By the last day, the twyns didn't want to stay in the ski school for the whole day, so we took them out and enjoyed the afternoon together. I honestly could not. keep. up!! My father-in-law and I had become quite compatible with our ski styles and needs for rest (as I am still beginning, and he is just cruising.) Once the twyns joined us, there was no more rest. I watched them ski down to the next little plateau and thought, "For sure, they will stop and wait for mommy, as they were taught to wait for their coaches the last two days." Nope! Shoop! went baby B and Shoop! went baby A on down the next slope without pause or care in the world. My father-in-law found the boy only because he had fallen and was trying to get back up. I caught up to the girl only because she did not have poles to shush herself on one of the flatter sections towards the end of the trail.

With all they accomplished, we hit Bob's Diner (one of my father-in-law's and wife's faves) and received shiny new Stratton ski pins from their grandfather!

Well, it was just a great, fabulous, second annual trip! I stress annual as I hope we will be back next year! 

Thanks for reading! Hope you are hitting the slopes today!

If not, what are you hitting? The books? The pavement? The foam roller? Do tell! 

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