Hello! How are things? I can’t believe we are halfway through the week already! And as we have a fun trip to a warm destination planned for the end of the month, I’m more than happy to watch the February days tick by…ha! But back to reality – let’s talk winter and SNOW! This past weekend we took the kids away skiing, and just had the best time. And while I wouldn’t call it a vacation – outfitting young kids with ski gear and then teaching them to ski is absolutely exhausting – it was a really fun family getaway. And since I’ve got a ton of pictures to share with you guys, let’s jump right in!
We hit the road Friday afternoon right after Graham got off the bus, and by 6:30pm we were checked into our rental house and eating spaghetti that I quickly assembled when we got there. And because we knew we wanted to be skiing by 9am the next morning, we all chose an earlier bedtime.
Saturday morning after feeding the kids breakfast and enjoying some coffee, we headed to the slopes. We skied at Big Bear in Pennsylvania, and while it was on the small side, it was perfect for beginners. Plus the employees are all so nice! After purchasing lift tickets and suiting up, we were skiing at 9am.
Surprisingly Graham was a bit tentative at first, so we spent some time on the beginner hill until he got comfortable. It has been a year since he’s been on skies, and it took him about 45 minutes to really get the feel for things. The beginner area is really great at Big Bear, and it had a nice, wide trail with a “magic carpet.” We did about 5 runs on here together before he was ready for the big hill.
While I was working with Graham, Nathan was harnessing Reagan on her first few runs to assess her ability. She’s a daredevil by nature, so Nathan could quickly tell she wasn’t ready to come “off leash” just yet. Thankfully she is fine with the harness (probably because we go “super fast”)!
The nice thing about Big Bear is that even though the slopes got crowded at times, we never stood in a lift line. Graham and I shared some nice lift rides together in the morning 🙂
Once Graham really had the hang of things, Nathan and I switched kids. I honestly don’t mind harnessing Reagan (although my quads might disagree…) She and I had a great time zooming down the runs and riding the lift together. I won’t pretend I wasn’t terrified of her falling off the lift though. Just one of my irrational “mom fears” I suppose.
By 11am everyone was a bit tired (and cold, and hungry) so we decided to break for an early lunch. The lodge there is huge and looks really new, and we were able to just leave our lunch cooler there in one of the cubbies. I packed lunches the night before, and everyone devoured their food while we all warmed up in the lodge.
After lunch we all headed back out, and Graham insisted he wanted to ski with just Nathan (no girls allowed)! So the boys went off on their own and us girls did some runs together.
Reagan and I had a blast skiing together! Lots of singing, pretending to be airplanes and birds, and just overall goofiness. I knew I needed to keep it fun, as age 4 definitely comes with its challenges. Thankfully I was able to keep her entertained and happy, so we got some good solid runs in together.
We met back up with the boys around 2:30pm, and Reagan declared she was DONE. Nathan took her back to the house, and Graham and I were on our own to ski together.
At 4pm Graham also decided he was done (thank goodness!) and we headed into the lodge to wait for Nathan and Reagan. They picked us up, and we all headed back to the house to shower (the house we rented was only 5 minutes from the mountain). Once everyone was clean, we headed back out for dinner. The lodge has a nice restaurant, and we were happy to order burgers and fries. Skiing burns some massive calories!
After an early bedtime for the kids, Nathan and I watched a few shows and then crashed. We were exhausted!
Sunday morning we were all up and excited for day#2. We headed back to the mountain, and were once again skiing by 9am. The weather was warmer, but overcast (snow showers were in the forecast).
Nathan and I talked about it Saturday night, and we decided to attempt to take Reagan “off leash” first thing Sunday morning when her energy levels (and attention span) were high. So all 4 of us headed right to the bunny hill, and Nathan and I worked with Reagan while Graham did some runs on his own.
I’m not going to lie – it was super stressful. Trusting that she could stop herself at the bottom of the hill was terrifying. I could tell Nathan was a bit freaked out, so he and Graham headed off on their own while I worked with Reagan one-on-one. It took about 6 runs, but once she had it, she had it. I quickly texted Nathan to tell him to come back to the bunny hill.
This picture about sums up the morning. Complete comfort for the little one – sheer terror for me!
All four of us decided to take a run together, and while I still harnessed Reagan on the steep sections, I was able to just let her go on the other parts. Here she is telling Graham “wanna race?!”
We all went in for lunch around 11:30am, and by then the snow had picked up quite a bit. Graham has decided he loves fresh powder and is ready to ski out west. Me too big man!
And while Reagan was working hard at skiing without her harness, Graham was practicing some parallel turns! He really wants to be a good skier, and understands that form is crucial for being able to do the steeper terrain. Thankfully he’s been a great student so far (and Nathan is a super patient teacher)!
Here’s Daredevil McLean in all her glory. At one point she told me she could do it on her own, and “you can go find something else to do, Mommy.”
Nathan was scared to death the first time we let her on the steep sections on her own. He was definitely much calmer teaching Graham to ski.
Stopping just long enough for a picture.
This big man absolutely KILLED it with his skiing!
Taking a mid-afternoon break.
Reagan and I quit around 3pm, but Graham insisted he had more runs in him. So the boys skied for another hour while the girls warmed up and relaxed in the lodge.
And Nathan texted me this picture around 3:50pm and declared Graham DONE. Just look at that face!
And with that, another successful family ski vacation is in the books! You can read about last year’s ski trips here and here. We are already planning our next trip, and are hoping to get away over President’s weekend (still trying to figure out exactly where). And if the weather holds steady we’ll be taking a day trip in March.