First is a comparison photo of then and now. We took this first photo with our disposable film camera, long before the word "selfie" existed and a year before we actually owned cellphones (at the time, we swore we'd never own a cellphone). Well, this trip we started off with new goggles and new helmets which we got for Christmas from my parents - the first time we had ever skied with helmets. Ski goggles do wonders to hide the wrinkles on our eyes.
On Sunday, we headed to Breckenridge with 3 inches of fresh snow. This was my favorite resort in our prior trips. So much had changed since the last time I was there. They added a lift to the top of peak 8, the highest chairlift in North America at just under 13,000 feet. It was snowing so you couldn't see what is really behind us.
Since I couldn't take any of my own photos, I have borrowed someone else's. Down to the far right is the Whale's Tail trail, which is the trail we took down. This was my only venture into double-black diamonds and I loved it, though I was a lot more scared than I remembered being during my last trip there:
We also skied through the trees in Breckenridge, which was fun and terrifying. Just to the right of me (not in the picture) was a small tree which I straddled on my way down:
On Monday, we headed out to Beaver Creek. Another 4-5 fresh inches of snow fell overnight, which made for some spectacular early skiing. While we had skied Breckenridge on a weekend day with some crowds and lines, Beaver Creek was a Monday and we had the place virtually to ourselves. Here is Brian about to gown down our first black diamond of the day (Loco).
On Wednesday, with our bodies aching, we headed off to Copper Mountain. Copper Mountain required us driving over Vail Pass (I70 through the Rocky Mountains), after yet another night with a few inches of snow. This resulted in me covering my eyes with my hat and biting my nails while Brian did the driving. We had upgraded to an SUV at the car rental place and it was definitely worth the investment.
Copper Mountain brought our coldest day by far. High of 9 degrees with low of -8 degrees. And that was before the windchill factor, with winds of 30-40 mph. We dressed warmly but it was still pretty brutal. Brian wanted us both to hit up the double black diamonds of the Spaulding Bowl, something I might have done in my younger days. But my legs were jello at that point and I was too fearful, so he went off on his own for a little while and I stuck to the front of the mountain. This is not him skiing but this a shot from Spaulding Bowl and you can see why I might want to skip it on day 4 - it was straight up and down:
After lunch, we headed to the Copper Bowl, where we tackled some great runs in fresh powder. Before long, though, it started snowing and blizzard-like conditions took over so that you couldn't see more than a few feet in front of your face. Take a look at this sequence of events. Check out the beautiful blue sky in the background as Brian headed down the Alicante Trail (ignore the hazy gray in the top right of the screen as that is my mitten):
Up close shot of skiing - notice the only exposed skin is the tip of his nose. Did I mention it was cold there?
We also found out while at Copper that our flight back to Philadelphia on the next day had been cancelled due to weather back east. My poor parents were taking care of the boys and had to deal with shoveling 9 inches of snow AND the stomach bug, which had hit Eric on Thursday morning. We managed to get on the first flight out on Friday, which gave us the opportunity to relax on Thursday, to visit Vail Village and watch the US Open Snowboarding competition there. So while we enjoyed an extended vacation day, it was a bit stressful seeing Eric at his worst through the magic of FaceTime. We returned home to a very sick Eric and, soon after, a very sick Evan. Nothing quite like a stomach bug that last 5 days per child to return from vacation to. This is after we were back and Eric was "watching a movie" (i.e. - just a zombie on the couch, not even looking at the tv):
Big thanks to both sets of parents for taking such great care of our boys! For some reason, my parents keep drawing the short straw as they had to deal with Eric's allergic reaction and a trip to urgent care when we went to Spain/Portugal. And now this time, they got to experience the snow and the stomach bug. We couldn't have enjoyed ourselves as much as we did if it weren't for us knowing that the kids were in such great hands!
Next time we head out west, my hope is that we have two young skiing boys with us!