Monday, January 31, 2022

Back to the Mountain for Another Ski Day

Following our Family Ski Trip to Schweitzer Mountain Resort at the beginning of January, five of our children have continued weekly ski lessons each Wednesday with a homeschool group.  The lessons are at 9AM and they have to arrive at the village at least an hour before, so they are usually out the door between 5:30-6AM to make the drive. Sean has been taking them each week since I had been sick.  Following lessons they usually take a lunch break and then ski until about 2:00, then head back to town for the boy's Wednesday evening hockey practice. It's a full day and they all sleep well Wednesday nights! 

This past week he had meetings and asked me to take them up for lessons. I was planning to pack along my laptop and work in the lodge while they skied. (Unfortunately our 16 year old has been having some more knee issues - she had dislocated both knees year before last, different knee each incident - so she took the last two weeks off to let her knees rest and stayed home to study and watch the babies.)  I checked my email one last time before bed on Tuesday night and realized that Sean had been assigned to chaperone lessons... The great thing about chaperoning is you then get to ski (full mountain lift ticket included!!) you just have to have your own equipment or rent at a discount. Sean had been asked to be added to the chaperone list and had finally gotten assigned on the day he couldn't make it... He encouraged me to chaperone in his place and ski with the kids, but I was pretty much terrified after how I felt last time. He kept reminding me that I was coming down sick last time, that this time would be easier, and to just stick with helping with our youngest son's class. 

The four older ones have all been in a class together, but this week (Scout) our 14 year old son got moved up to the top class and headed up to ski some of the black diamonds!  Apparently hockey is an excellent preparation for skiing. Bud's instructor ended up having a small enough class so he didn't need any extra help so that left me to ski on my own from 9:00-10:30.  It was actually really great!  


I also spotted our little guy headed up to the mountain for his very first blue (intermediate) run!

The fog lifted for a little while in the morning and it was so gorgeous. When the kids all finished their lessons they talked me into heading to the top with them too! "You can do it, Mom!" 

The cloud layer kept shifting and on our second time up the mountain we were above the clouds. It was amazing! There is also another restaurant up there at the top that I want to come back to with Sean sometime.  I did get just a bit claustrophobic heading back down through that dense cloud but thankfully I could see the kids in front of me, if nothing else! 

My FitBit ended up registering 281 active minutes and 4,871 calories burned. Maybe if I can find a way to continue going up with them I can somehow get back into shape. What a workout! And this time, despite moving up from beginner to some intermediate runs and skiing longer, it really was a "good sore" the next couple days. Whew! 

“Every day that passes, I fall more desperately in love with the mountains… I am ever more determined to climb the mountains, to scale the mighty peaks, to feel that pure joy which can only be felt in the mountains.” 
- Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Family Ski Trip to Schweitzer Mountain Resort

On January 3rd we packed up the cars and headed north for the family vacation we started planning last summer. Back then, when we weren’t shoveling snow off the driveway in subzero weather, a trip to the ski resort in January sounded like a great idea... Ha! Thankfully it “warmed” up a bit, but it was snowing when we left home and the ski resort got around 12” of new snow on the day we arrived. After we were all settled into the Selkirk Lodge the kids all watched a movie together while Sean and I got to go out for a little dinner date and explore the resort. The pool is heated, but we decided to skip! ;) 


Day Two...

The next morning the weather was better and we woke up to a beautiful sunrise and a nice view of the lifts from our suites on the top floor!

The two older boys learned how to ski a number of years ago (remember the Ski Cake I made?!), back when we were still living in Oregon, but this was the first time for our next five children, and the first time in over 25 years for Sean and I! He last skied in Arizona while in college, and I'm guessing my last time was sometime between ages 17-19... Can't remember exactly.   

We decided to have (Bud) our 10 year old wait until the next day, when he and our other four beginners would have their first ski lesson (it worked out wonderfully that the weekly homeschool ski lessons we put them in this winter started during our trip!), but the rest of us headed out to give it a shot on the bunny hill after a brief lesson from (Ranger) our 19 year old who was super excited to be back on skis! 


My brother-in-law, Fr. D. Gordon, drove up to join us since it happened to be his day off for the week! It was so much fun and he did amazing for his very first time skiing, and in a cassock no less!

We all stuck just to the bunny hills for the first day of skiing. (Plus it was a much cheaper lift ticket for all of us adults!) The little girls also got a turn to get outside and enjoy the snow too!


After skiing we all enjoyed Powder Hound Pizza and playing board games with Uncle/Father.

Day Three...

Wednesday morning five of the kids had lessons! While Sean was helping our 10 year old check out skis the rest of us waited for the lifts to open and classes to begin. 


After lunch the three older boys headed up the mountain to explore some of the blue runs. 

The kids all picked up skiing fast and it has quickly moved to the top of their "favorite sports" list. 

(In case you are wondering about my ever changing ski goggles... On the first day I used Captain's while he wasn't skiing, then Twinkle Toes while she wasn't skiing... then the next day I just bought my own pair at one of the resort shops!... ) 

I especially loved all the lift rides/one-on-one visits with our children. 

All the kids slept very well! I, however, did not (see below)...

Day Four... 

Only two of the boys were up for skiing a third day!  They headed out while Sean and the kids checked out of the lodge, unburied the cars, and loaded our luggage.  

As some of them headed back home, a few of us waited for the boys to finish skiing. 

Our Cars - Day 1 vs. Day 4

How did I do? Well... I don't recommend skiing for the first time in over 25 years while unknowingly coming down with round two of a certain virus. 

On Tuesday night I was feeling extremely sore and just off... I managed to put the ski boots back on the next day, and ski another ten runs (approx. 5 miles), but by Wednesday evening I texted a couple friends: "I'm dying." They both responded "It's a good sore!" 

There was nothing good about it... My whole body hurt like crazy, my head was throbbing, sore throat, nauseous, and I was googling things like "can cold air exercise make your throat hurt" and "what is altitude sickness" (which I then started to convince myself was the problem) and even "what are the odds of catching (virus) a second time"...  (After our toddlers were sick with RSV and Croup for most of December, which ended up being a bad cold for the rest of us, we had been making extra effort and taking a lot of precautions to get and then stay healthy for our ski trip... sigh... Thank you God for these extra little crosses!) I spent that last night in the lodge taking multiple hot showers, applying Deep Blue Rub on every muscle, heating up the hot pack over and over, and really wishing we had packed along some pain meds (which I rarely take and hadn't since our two year old's birth)!

By Thursday it took everything I had to help pack up, wait for two of the boys to finish skiing, stand and smile while saying a quick hello to some friends near the lifts, get the car out of the snowdrift, clean up the ice chunks covering the entire inside of the car from the three cans of Strawberry Waterloo that had been forgotten in the car and then froze/exploded (!!!!!), and then drive that second car the long drive home during the second winter snow storm of the year (the first was on the drive up lol).  We got home at 5pm, I ran a hot bath with Epsom Salts, took half a pain med left over from our two year old's birth, and went to bed. The next morning I felt like my oxygen was low (it registered 92 on the oximeter) and Sean was able to round up an extra home test from his brother which showed positive. I KNEW I was in too much pain for it to be JUST from skiing! ;) 

Other than that, skiing was an absolute blast and it was an amazing family vacation.

I really hope we can do it again someday!