Saturday, April 8, 2017

Spring Break!

Spring Break 2017!

Scott and I headed to Vail, CO for our spring break. Scott had been planning this for a while- it seems like since the fall so we were excited to go. It was planned as a friends couple trip but the other wives did not come which is why I am the only woman in the group. I waffled about not going but in the end, we had already bought the expensive four day lift ticket and so we figured what the heck. It was a really fun trip and I had a great time despite not having skied since before Michael was born. Yikes, right? Luckily it was just like riding a bike and I had no trouble at all. 

We also decided to fly instead of drive to save on some travel time and eliminate the unknowns of weather patterns en route. It was pretty cushy! The flight was an easy 90 minutes and I had no problems with it at all. We arrived in Denver pretty late (I want to say 8:00 ish?) and then we took the train to our friend Tim's place where he drove us to our rental in Vail. It was really smooth transportation wise and we were glad that Tim could drive us because car rentals in Denver are ridiculous! Maybe we are just used to Orlando (the rental car capital of the world) prices? 


We got up early the next morning and hit the bus stop across the street to take us to the mountain. It was a beautiful morning and our rental was in a beautiful location. 




The bus system was free and easy to use. We took all our gear with us the first morning and night but later got smarter and valeted our skis and left our boots/shoes in a locker (a lifesaver!). 



We took the gondola right up and hit the slopes! 





We skied a little in the sourdough bowl area at the top of the mountain as we could already tell that the lower ski lifts were getting busy. It was really fun being up so high! Scott and I took beverage break at the Two Elks lodge and skied a bit more until we met everyone back at the same place for lunch. We were shocked at the prices of the food but everyone poo-pooed our idea of hitting up the grocery store for PB & J supplies for sack lunches the rest of the week. I did see lots of people enjoying sack lunches throughout the week on the slopes or by the lockers and they looked delicious! 



After lunch we had fun sking as a group in the game creek bowl which was kind of tucked away behind the top of the mountain. It was not busy at all and had a really fun harder green that I enjoyed doing called Lost Boy. It was beautiful scenery up there. 




We had heard reports it was getting pretty slushy at the bottom (we had stayed up top the whole day) so we took the gondola down right around 4 and headed back to the rental for some R & R before dinner. 



We took a quick Uber into Lionshead village that night for a really nice dinner at the Vail Chophouse. I enjoyed a nice glass of red wine and shrimp and grits. Everything was really good. 


We explored the Village a bit after dinner to scope out basketball watching bars for the next day. It was a beautiful village with lots of Christmas lights still up and people milling about. I should mention the weather was also beautiful and it was a really nice temperature even at night. 


 Day Two

Day two we figured out the bus situation a bit better (yay google for a schedule) and we also had valeted our skis the night before so we had less to carry. We wore our shoes, carried our boots and then stuck our shoes in a locker during the day. We were only skiing a bit in the morning since we had to get back to watch some Gonzaga march madness basketball around noonish. 




We started out in the Game Creek bowl again with another blue bird day. We eventually separated where I took my time to mosey down the mountain on a bunch of cat walks. Scott had an equipment malfunction which resulted in him wiping out pretty bad and took about an hour to resolve so he didn't get in much skiing on this morning. 



We all met up to head back to the rental but I did scope out a starbucks in the village where I enjoyed an iced (yes! it was warm!) mocha for the walk back. I loved these Vail mugs so much! I didn't purchase one but I thought they were such a cute design. 


We did get all bundled up in our gear after basketball to ski for a bit more before the last lift closed but it didn't seem like we got a lot of skiing in. I stayed with Scott and he forced me to go down a blue. It was harder than I anticipated plus it was pretty slushy so we ended up diverting off to a catwalk which took us off towards Cascade Village which was not where we wanted to end up. The lift that would take us back up the mountain to get us on the right track had just closed and so we were forced to hoof it quite a ways to get back to our lockers. It was a lot at the end of a long day but I guess that comes with the territory. Long story short, we eventually made it back and all got in some more skiing before all the lifts closed. We headed to the Ale House which was very close to our rental for dinner and then we came back to the condo to watch the ISU march madness basketball game, which we won! Woo hoo! 


Day Three

Day Three started out early again. It was nice to get up and on the mountain before it got too crowded. With the nice temperatures, the conditions were the best while it was still a bit cooler in the morning hours. We decided on this day that Scott would ski with his friends so he could do some of the harder back bowls and I was fine skiing on my own. We made plans to meet up at Two Elks lodge for a later lunch and we were off. I had a really nice time skiing around and doing the easy greens I was familiar with. I put on my Hamilton soundtrack and had fun singing to myself as I made my way down the mountain! It was a beautiful day and the runs I did were not busy at all. I went all the way down, took the gondola back up and then skied a bit at the top while I waited to meet up for lunch. 

After lunch, I thought I would make my way back down the mountain again since it was so fun in the morning but my legs got SO tired. It was brutal! With all the little catwalks and windy ways I was taking it was like almost an hour of continuous skiing. I had to take a break to just sit in the snow for a bit. At one point I think a snow shoer passed me. Ugh. My legs were jelly. I finally made it to the end and enjoyed an empty gondola on the way back up by myself to rest. Which resulted in more singing to myself, of course. 


It was heaven and a much needed rest! After the gondola dumped me off, I thought I would try and ski just a bit more as we had plenty of time left in the day but it was a no go. I was so tired. So I did one little run to get back on a lift that would take me up so I could just ski back down to the gondola. It felt like an odd plan to me- go up just to ski down a bit, come up and then come down again. There was a bit of excitement on my last lift as the line got held up for the ski patrol sheriff to hop on. Did I mention it was also St. Patrick's day? 



I took in the beautiful views one last time and then boarded the gondola back down. It was actually a pretty fun day of skiing by myself! I enjoyed the weather, being along with my thoughts, getting on the lifts quickly with the single rider line, and talking to new people on the lifts and in the gondola. Only one person told me "Go Hawkeyes!" when I said I was an ISU fan (geeze!). 

(loved this view from the top-hard to do it justice!)

Later we headed back to the same brew pub for dinner (and had the same waitress!), played some four player pac man and then headed back to watch some basketball and play a few rounds of heads up. It was fun! 

Day Four

Day four we decided to head to Beaver Creek for the day. It was literally right down the highway from our condo and the longest part of the drive was just navigating the resort once we turned off the highway. Scott had never been there before and I had seen it on an episode of Real Housewives of BH so we were totally game! It was a beautiful resort. We splurged for slope side parking so we literally walked out of the parking garage and onto the lift- talk about cushy! After having our "cookie time" cookie from a silver platter (yes that is a thing in Beaver Creek), we headed up to the top of the mountain. 




We headed right up to this little family area and were greeted by a snow Princess Leia! So neat! 


We were really taken by the beauty of Beaver Creek. It was a lovely quiet morning and we loved it. The first area was a family ski area that had some fun, really easy runs.  We rode an old school two person chair lift that took forever to take us up the run (about 12 minutes!!) and I also had my first experience using a porta potty on the mountain (spoiler alert: it required the use of my ski poles to navigate as it was in a pile of snow). 


Scott and I had fun exploring the mountain together. We took a break at this awesome mountain top outdoor place and scored two chairs by the trees to enjoy a granola bar and beverage. 


It was so awesome just enjoying being outside and soaking up nature. We had fun talking to people beside us who told us they try and do a ski trip every other year and go somewhere new- Big Sky, Whistler, etc. It was really nice the whole time we were in CO to talk to other people as everyone was obviously on vacation, in a good mood, and very friendly.

Beaver Creek was unique because it was much more geared towards families. It was cool to see little kids skiing with their  families but we also saw a lot more kids throwing fits on the slopes, crying, etc. I was just glad Scott didn't have to deal with me acting like that! :) 


Aspen trees were beautiful! 

After our break, I got lost from the group and told them I would just meet them back at the parking ramp in a bit. After I made it back down, I was really disoriented and couldn't figure out how to get back on the mountain in a good area to ski so I just called it a day and enjoyed a nice drink and snack at Starbucks- the perfect apres ski. It was in a nice outdoor area and it was really fun to relax and people watch. 


That night we walked to a local pizza place/bar and probably had the best meal of the week with awesome pizza. We turned in after watching ISU lose to Purdue (sad) and be out of the tournament. We had an early flight the next morning and it was fun to see the mountains turn pink in the sunrise on our drive to the airport. We made it safely home and back to our kids by early afternoon! 

I just want to make a note here mostly for myself that we had really good flights this trip and even though they were a little bumpy at times, it was nothing I couldn't handle. On our flight out of Denver they warned us several times to make sure we were buckled, there would be moderate turbulence on the climb out, please make sure kids were secured. It was honestly a non-issue because of course you are going to have bumps when getting out of the air around a huge mountain range. I think my anxiety around flying is getting better and I found out on our trip to Mexico that the best thing for me is to play one of those games that are mind-numbing and addicting like candy crush or fruit ninja. It really does help pass the time and you can also listen to a podcast or music while you do it. 

Another part of the trip that was really fun was that we discovered we can face time Michael right on his ipad and it was fun to do that every day. He was pretty good at it! 

If you stuck around this long, thanks for reading! It was a wonderful trip and I think I am finally recovered from it (just four short weeks later!).

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