Friday, January 21, 2011

What We're Doing: Regrouping after a Ski Trip with Family & Friends

Safe and harmonious: it was a wonderful trip.

Armada Trunk: Pre Ski Weekend
Trip to Costco
I am particularly happy to write this post as a means of savoring and preserving the good times of our ski trip. Reflecting on the long weekend in the Berkshires with my family, sisters, their families, and good friends, three themes come to mind:  keeping warm, gathering, and sharing stories.

Keeping warm under blankets during the ride up to the mountain, ice crystallizes in intricate designs outside and inside the car windows. Thermostat reads 2 degrees!

In the morning, there are significant winds on the express 6-seater lift!  Cozying up to my husband to keep warm on the blustery lift.

The lodge becomes our warming center: hot chocolate, warming hands at the fire pit at the lodge patio...
Big bowls of spicy Texas beef hot chili , warm burritos, and New England clam chowder (a new favorite of our 13 year old son, a budding food connoisseur) in big bread bowls with bread lids on keep it warm.

Next to safety, keeping warm is a top priority when skiing. Over the years, we've tried many brands of clothing meant to keep you warm. Click on our links (we wouldn't steer you wrong) to check out the tried-and-true warmth-keeping layers that we consider essential for a day on the slopes:  Underarmour turtlenecks paradox pants...Smartwool ski socks and skull caps under helmets, turtle neck warmers, face warmers, hand warmers, and Smartwool, moisture-wicking ski gloves layered on top of thin, gold-metallic gloves. Favorite underlayers of all:  Hot Chillys!

We like Denali and Minus Zero wind-breaking jackets as extra layers, more layers with Polar Max,and Paradox pullovers, handwarmers, Boeri helmets, snow-white Bolle goggles (another favorite!)

Probably to get warm, our 16 year old tried beef barley soup at Dakota steakhouse and seafood restaurant where we sat (about 20 of us) in front of a wide and roaring toasty warm fireplace, beneath several big moose heads and an upside down canoe.

....taking long soaks in Jacuzzis at the hotel...wrapping fingers around mugfuls of hot chocolate...

Out to eat later that evening, and we're all wearing "warm":  fur hats, rugged work boots, grey flannel earmuffs, lots of fleece.

Gathering in the garage, a few days before the trip, to load the Yakima rooftop cargo capsule, assembly-line style, with boots, skis, and poles... This ruggedly durable, capacious, and sleekly-designed storage container is an unequivocal MUST!!  Check out my link; they are worth every penny.  Equipment is clean, contained, and ready-to-go. Perfect for snowboards as well. the car, the five of us, for a three and a half hour ride on scenic, rural route 22 where we see cows, horses, and 6' long icicles hanging down from the rooves of homes with wrap-around porches. We saw a frozen lake on which men were fishing and cars were driving!

Gathering in each other's suites to share a mug of Ghiardelli hot chocolate or a glass of red each other's suites for a few rounds of rough-and-tumble:

Our Teen Boys taking Turns Bench-pressing their
38-lb Little Brother...Fun in the Suite our long table in the lodge to eat  and tell stories about our experiences on Left Bank or Grand Slam or - in case of our sons and ski-loving nephew - black diamond Ace of Spades

Gathering at the table in our suite to play very competitive Scrabble, side-splitting game of Cranium and Duck Duck Goose, which our 3 year old vociferously orchestrated.  If your family does not own Family Edition Cranium, I enthusiastically recommend it:  sculpting with play dough, humming songs, sketching with eyes closed, acting things out ...  So much fun and so much roaring laughter that my 16 year old nephew couldn't catch his breath and my throat was sore from screaming!

...gathering for very large deliveries (my husband ordered) of four varieties of pizza, 3 versions of salad and Buffalo watch the Jets game; miraculously, I napped through the first hour of the gathering. the scrumptious salad bar at Dakota Steakhouse ( I love salad bars...wish I had one built-in to my kitchen ):  wasabi peas, whole radishes, long sprouts, soy nuts...the most delicious lemon-flavored carrots I've ever tasted.  Our 3-year-old couldn't get enough of those carrots! the Chipmunk bunny slope to watch our preschooler at Skiwee School and playing with play dough at the Cub's Den Playhouse.

Gathering in each other's rooms to see what snacks each party brought, which ran the full gamut: oatmeal squares, croissants, Nutella, pretzel rods, chocolate chip cookies, muffins, pistachios, Zone bars, turkey and pear sandwiches, almond & apple butter sandwiches, organic pop tarts (can you believe they make them), raw almonds.... the breezy top of the mountain, where the windmills turn, to wait for friends coming up on the lift. front of the lobster tank at Dakota steakhouse to watch our son's face as he watched the lobsters... Dakota lobby for our annual photo in front of the 8-foot tall stuffed grizzly bear!

Sharing stories Which route did you take up? Hutch? Taconic? Thruway or the scenic, rural route 22?  How was the traffic? Detours? See any deer?

Which lift did you take up?  Which trail did you take down? Did you take the 2 mile run? Who did you ski with? Try the workout room at the main lodge? How were the treadmills? The pool?  Take any trails thru the woods? Moguls? Icy patches? Which lift has the cushioned seat? Did you take the two seater chairlift that cruises over the alpine slide?  Did you hear the top 40 music blasting at the terrain park?

Did your lift stop? for how long?
P-touch Labeler is Indispensable in Keeping
Equipment Organized
Getting Organized To avoid confusion at the bustling ski lodge: Who's helmet is this?? Anyone see my goggles??? Where's my neckwarmer? my sister and I went on a labeling frenzy the week before we left. 

With our Sharpie markers and with white adhesive labels made with our P-touch labelers (One of our Top-Top Favorite Products; I couldn't live without mine! Order your labeler today if, like me, getting organized is one of your New Year's resolutions.) we labeled everything:  rolling duffel bags, helmets, helmet bags, goggles, gloves, boots, even my son's ski pants were labelled with round, plastic discs dangling from his pockets (cell phone # as well). I labeled our rolling cooler!
Our 3-year-old on the Magic Carpet, Chipmunk Slope

Meeting his Instructor at SkiWee School
Happy and harmonious, the twenty of us: it was a trip to remember with smiles.

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