Sunday, March 5, 2017

Snow Much Fun, Vol. 1 (Of 2, Don't Worry)

Pop Quiz Time!

1.  I wanted to take the kids to Utah to experience snow to:

a. broaden their horizons
b. visit family we have been missing
c. make memories
d. finally get them to shut their pie holes about not ever seeing snow in their lives

The first thing we did after landing was head straight to Grandma Henrie's house to pick up some snow clothes that could get us through a couple hours of first day sledding.  Her yard was covered with about 2 inches of fresh powder, so upon arriving the kids could barely wait for the car to stop before jumping out.

After at least putting on some knitted hats and gloves, we made some snowballs and tramped through her yard, freaking out like total Florida weirdos.  

Watch how the pros do it, Luke

This picture reminds me of:

a. that shave ice I once ate in Hawaii
b.  how my hair used to look when I was a kid
c.  how knitted gloves are terrible in snow
d. Spinelli from the cartoon Recess


We knew we were burning daylight, so we got right on the road to Robert and Brooke's house to make camp and get ready for some sledding! The view coming over the mountains down to their house was incredible.

We began by sledding on the hill at the side of their house, but the snow was only probably about 1 inch deep and left something to be desired.  So Brooke and I got in the van and formed a scouting party.  

2.  We ultimately ended up finding an epic local sledding hill by:  

a. Scouring Internet message boards
b. Driving around aimlessly and then getting really lucky
c. Asking Siri
d.  Asking two random kids on the street where they sled and following their recommendation

It's no joke, kids know where it's AT!

That little hill was ridiculously steep, which meant it was actually fun for Jacob :)  And also killer on your legs and thighs.  I could barely even get up the hill more than twice without falling over!

We stayed for about 2 hours and I have to say the kids had moderate fun, but overall were just COLD. Which put me into panic mode that I had dragged them 2,500 miles only to suffer and be unimpressed. But this misery was mostly due to the fact that we weren't exactly layered properly and wearing everything we needed. Wet snow was ending up down the backs of jackets and in people's faces and we weren't wearing the correct gloves or hats.  So the first day of sledding felt like this:

Why do you hate me, mom?

3.  In fact, this picture shows Luke:

a.  frolicking in the snow
b.  running from his cousin who is chasing him
c. showing you just how deep the snow was that day
d.  running to car to get warm, thus giving up on sledding and joining Cindy who had already left 25 minutes earlier to do the same

However, there was an awesome silver lining to that experience that turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  We were able to troubleshoot all of our coldness/under-preparedness issues in time for Saturday's skiing session. YAY!

4.  Overall, the best part of sledding was:

a. being outside in the crisp, refreshing air
b. going down the hill at tremendous speeds
c. the kids realizing their lifelong dreams
d. Going home afterward and actually needing to drink hot cocoa.  (Because we were so cold.  Did you hear what I just said!!? We needed to drink it!  It wasn't just a pretend ritual that makes you have caloric guilt.  And we also needed to put three inches of whip cream on top too.  It was necessary. ) 

Good Morning, Utah! Time to go skiing!

Saturday morning was the day of all days: ski time.  I was so nervous about this part because this was pretty much what the entire trip was about.  Would I love it? Would I hate it? Would I break my leg in three places in a fiery crash?  Would I be skiing black diamonds by the end of the day because of my phenomenal athleticism and good looks?  

Ummm, I think we all know the answer to that one: 

We headed out early to Snowbird with Sean and Tara leading us the whole way.  They had completely outfitted us with approximately one million choices of ski pants, jackets, goggles, gloves and layering accouterments. And since we followed their layering instructions to a T, we were not cold the entire day.  I dare say at one point, I was even sweating. 

5.  Which could have been because: 

a. I put everything on too early while still inside the resort
b. Luke and I got lost in an elevator and thought we would die of heat stroke before we managed to find our way to the Chickadee lift
c. we are from Florida and our bodies only have one temperature setting

Skiing turned out to be a pleasant experience!  Sean and Tara were great teachers and Jacob and I picked it up way faster than I thought we would.  Luke: loved skiing and was a little Bode Miller by the end of the day. Cindy: skiing she no likey.  But I was proud of her for simply giving it at least one try.  Tara's calling and election was made sure by the 45 minutes she patiently spent trying to help Cindy learn to ski. I actually didn't even get one picture of Cindy in her ski clothes because we kind of got separated and by the time I found her she was inside planning her escape home :)

Here is some amazing footage of Luke captured by skiing sensation Sean Sweeney.  Seriously, skiing and taking video at the same time is HARD!

I call this, "I've watched four YouTube videos on how to ski. Out of my way!"

Whoever said that skiing is like ice skating was totally right. And not just because it's slippery, awkward at first and involves excruciatingly uncomfortable footwear.  (In fact, my new phrase for looking on the bright side of a bad situation is, "Well, at least we aren't wearing ski boots!")  The turning is very similar, so at least that was on my side, as I am a pretty decent ice skater.  I was proud of myself for how well I did.  The first hour was pretty dicey, but after that things got easier and I finally got the flow of how the skis worked.  Chickadee run became our little training ground and was just the right mix of incline and length.

Jacob actually was a whiz out there, I was impressed

Sean, Me, Brooke, Jacob and Luke

Luke really likes his Uncle Sean :)
And why wouldn't he?  He SKIED him down a mountain.  More than once. And he liked it! A LOT!

Halfway through the day, Robert treated us to a crazy-overpriced, but very good bacon cheeseburger at the resort snack bar.  Cheeseburger, $14.50.  We think that's fair. That's what we charge in our country.  

Brooke, Robert, Jacob and Me

6.  The craziest part of eating lunch outside in 28 degree weather while it's snowing is:

a.  watching the flakes land on your hamburger
b.  having the snow go up to your knees while you're sitting down
c.  trying to eat Cheetos while wearing mittens
d. getting a cup of water from the concession stand and having it get COLDER the longer you sit there!  Seriously, it was wild!

28 DEGREES.  And yet I continued to live.

After lunch Sean and Tara convinced us to try a little bit higher of a run.  We stupidly decided to give it a try.  

Going up Mid-Gad lift. To our deaths.

I'm gonna die coming down this thing, aren't I?

So from up top it looked like this:

But it felt like this:

The only legitimate moment that  actually gave me a heart attack the entire day was when Luke decided to go down this run with reckless abandon and no one with him.  He dug in his poles, and off he went. I may have had a small hyperventilating moment all while commanding Sean to go after "my baby" and save him from his own stupidity.  Which he dutifully did!  Jacob, Luke and I made it down in one piece, but that's because I slid sideways down the entire run and Jacob would use the ingenious "just sit down" (and crash) method of stopping whenever he got going too fast.  As Sean and I were up a little higher taking our time, we watched Jacob for a few minutes and saw him use his "stopping" technique a few times.  

7.  As I was laughing, I looked at Sean who said:

a.  "Poor guy!"
b.  "Well, at least he's not getting hurt!"
c.  "He's actually doing really well!"
d.  "That's for making me eat a jalapeno, Jacob."  (Best. Moment. Ever.)

Clearly, we lived to tell the tale of skiing Mid-Gad (barely), but I would be lying if I said that it wasn't terrifying at certain points.  By the time we finished the run it was almost 3pm and our leg day, I mean, ski day was kicking our butts.  Luke was BEAT!  Here he is waiting for the ski shuttle.

And here he is in a crumpled, yet satisfied pile as we finally drove home.

There is tired and then there is skiing tired.

It is no joke that skiing takes a lot of physical energy.  I was trying to figure out where I would rank "skiing tired" on my Tiredness Totem Pole.  I think I finally decided:

Coming out of Snowbird was crazy!  It had totally started snowing and you forget that there are about a million other people trying to leave as well, so you get a nice, slow drive down the canyon to once again see the beauty of the snow.


I realize now that the conditions were 100% perfect for a first time skier.  The snow was the best powder ever.  Absolute heaven.  No crazy slick ice, super soft and a pleasure to wipe out in.  And I should know.  I bit the dust hard about 6 times during the day, but thankfully nothing that scared me off or caused significant trauma.  Luke did have a very uncomfortable derailment that left him in the "downward dog" crash position, but he handled it like a champ and had a great day.  In fact, in the week since we have been home he has said the phrase, "I really want to go skiing again" about 114 times.  Which, I can say, will probably happen again :)  Hey, when you got Sean and Tara and the warmest ski clothes ever, how can you say no???!

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