Given that I didn’t once don skis even once during the 2014-15 ski season, this season couldn’t possibly have been any worse! Last winter was all about obsessive run training. This year I was determined to get back on the snow in something other than running shoes. It was great!
We had four days at Keystone with the kids bracketed by a resoundingly meh backcountry trip in November and a glorious ski date in April. We enjoyed four days with the kids at Keystone quite a bit; it’s bigger than the resorts we are more familiar with (Loveland, Eldora) with lots to explore (which is my big driver). There are lot of kid-friendly aspects to keep everyone happy as well. One of the main lodges and the bunny slopes are up at the top of the mountain so everyone starts out with a gondola ride and spends the day at 11k with spectacular views. There are other non-skiing things like a giant snow fort (with internal slides) and a traversing gondola.
Ellie (3.5), inherited the leash system we’d used two years ago with Joe and she did very well. She loves anything outdoors and typically had the attention span for a handful of magic carpet laps and maybe 2-3 on the slightly longer (but still very short) green run before she got tired or bored and just started laying down in the snow.
Joe (7.5) graduated to skiing on his own now that he has a younger sister on skis. His physical intuition is impressive considering neither of his parents was every particularly “sportsy”. At the beginning of Day 1 he was doing a barely-controlled snowplow down the magic carpet. By the end of the day, he skied the 3.5-mile-long Schoolmarm all the way to the base of the mountain (twice!). By the Day 3, he was bombing (still in a deep snowplow) down the easy blue runs and by Day 4 I don’t think he ever came inside the lodge to rest! Amy or I can now ski with Joe and it’s actually fun for everyone. Wow!
Amy got a lot more comfortable on her skis and even finished the season by tackling her first black run. I got in probably a dozen runs on my own including a nice blitz of back-bowl tree skiing with fellow-dads Jeremy and Rob on the last day.
We finished off the season with a just-the-two-of-us ski date at Eldora on “Retro Day”. Amy and I haven’t skied together in nine years for more than one or two runs, and not even that for probably four years. In order to be closer to the same level, I packed my telemark gear for our date and committed to really trying to finally internalize the tele turn. Up to this point, I mostly tele-pined on my gear when the going got tough. Not only was the weather wonderful and the company better, but, by the end of the day, I was actually kind of tele-ing naturally! It’s dreamy.
My feelings on resort skiing is that it’s kind of like golf; it’s in the outdoors, but not *really* an outdoors sport. Still, maybe that’s not the point. The whole family had a great time this season and grew immensely. Even if you’re not sweating up a storm, it’s great to be in the mountains for whatever reason.
The Danforth Adventure Season of 2016 is off to a big start and the four ski trips were the first part of it!