Beaver Creek Ski Trip – January 2016

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It’s been our habit for many years to take one “real” ski vacation, in addition to the multiple day trips we do throughout the winter and spring. For many years, we always went to Copper, but last year we had done something different and gone to Vail. So it seemed fitting this year to go to the Vail-sibling of Beaver Creek, one of the few nearby ski areas we had never been to.

In looking over some of my recent trip reports, Brian mentioned how stressed out we always seem – the vacation magic seems awfully hard to find these days. I suppose there is some truth to that, so I was hoping we could break the pattern here. While we do love travelling, it can be tough to remain calm when the kids are throwing a fit and being difficult. And I should clarify that in this regard, when I say “kids”, I largely mean “Lily”. Owen is usually pretty easy-going. He does tend to shut-down and zone-out a bit when he’s tired, but is mostly past the temper tantrum age, thank goodness. At a mere 5 years old, something his sister has yet to achieve at 12, lol!

And unfortunately, we were not off to a good start. Lily had been sick all week, and missed several days of school. Deja-vu from last year. So I felt really bad about making her miss another day for the trip, and the anxiety caused some tension between all of us in the day leading up to it. Plus, we had just moved into our new house, and things were still an unorganized mess. It felt like everything was working against us having a good time. Hopefully we would overcome!

The drive up to Avon, CO was mostly uneventful. One thing I want to remember, that I don’t have a good enough camera to take a picture of sadly, is the way the mountains look at night as you are driving through them. Especially covered in snow, with just the right amount of moonlight on them. The rocks just barely show up, looming mysteriously over you. But the snow glimmers and shines. It’s beautiful and a little scary at the same time. Made me think of the line from Frozen, “The snow glows white on the mountain tonight”. I know exactly what that means every time we drive through here after dark, and I wish I had a picture I could share.

We found our rental condo pretty easily, but had to call the owner as we had some trouble getting the combination lock to work. But with that taken care of, we quickly settled in though no one was ready to go to bed, even though it was almost 9pm. The kids were glad to see that their room had twin beds so they wouldn’t have to share. After sleeping a night with Owen last month, I can understand Lily’s aversion, lol! We finally got to bed a little after 10 – hopefully we would all rest well and be ready to ski in the morning!

It did feel like a bit of a treat having wifi and a real bed, something we had been without since the move. The wifi should be working shortly after we get home, but our new bed was still weeks away, so I wanted to enjoy it while I could.

Saturday, Jan 23.

We had a pretty leisurely morning in the condo, cooking breakfast and getting ready. So far, no one overly stressed out, yay! Getting Lily’s ski boots on did require some patience, but no total meltdowns this time so I’m counting that as progress. I don’t know what we are going to do about those boots, they give us fits every time. And Miss Drama Queen doesn’t help the situation one bit. But, everyone was still getting along and generally cheery by the time we left.

It does take us a very long time to get out the door on ski days. Longer than I usually plan for. It always seems like 15 minutes should be plenty. Then, an hour later, we are still struggling to wrangle stuff. With each of 4 people needing their skis, poles, ski boots, snow pants, two layers of jackets, two pairs of gloves, balaclava, a helmet, phone, a ski pass, goggles, and of course the essentials like sunscreen, chapstick and tissues… it get complicated, lol!

It was going to be a warm day, possibly uncomfortably so. A high of 37 at the base, and sunny. So we dressed in our lightest layers and put on plenty of sunscreen before we left the condo. The kids don’t deal well with cold feet and hands, so at least we wouldn’t have to deal with that today. Though skiing while hot is sometimes unpleasant too.

The Bear lot, which was closest to our condo, was full, so we had to drive down the road a ways to the Elk lot. We may have been better off just walking to the Bear lot shuttle stop, but oh well. We finally were on a bus and eventually, after some confusion, ended up at the lift we wanted to be at, the Lower Beaver Mountain Express.

I have a small confession to make here. I am terrified of chair lifts. I hate them. It’s the worst part of skiing. And one of the reasons I avoided it for many years. The only way I get through it sometimes is to close my eyes. And this particular chair lift was, as Brian called it, and adventure! It spent much of the time high above the ground, and would swoop up and down at sharp angles. Beautiful views, when I could convince my eyes to stay open, lol!

Brian had made the mistake the night before of telling Owen that there was a Candy Cabin at the top of the mountain, and that’s all Owen cared about! In fact, when he woke up that morning, the first thing he said was “Hooray, it’s Candy Cabin Day!”. So before we got any real skiing in, we took two lifts to get to the Candy Cabin and pick out some treats. They would actually come in pretty handy throughout the day to dish out as rewards. And I laughed a little at myself, a whole store of gourmet candy choices and what did I get? 4 packs of Smarties, lol! The very best treat in the world, IMO though 🙂

Now we were finally ready to ski in earnest, at after 10am. Oh well, maybe we’ll get going earlier tomorrow. We headed down a green run that Brian had picked out. Now, I have another confession to make. I’ve been skiing for a long time. 15 years or more maybe, but I never progressed beyond the green (beginner) runs. And at this point in my life, I’m okay with that. I don’t like to go fast or get out of control. Just nice, easy, and gentle is my game. And most of the terrain here fit that nicely.

We’d be rolling along at a nice pace, just chillin’, and me thinking how much I liked this particular run. Then out of nowhere, Oh – here’s a cliff you have to go down!!! Okay, it wasn’t really a cliff, but it seemed like it in comparison to the other terrain. On the first one of these anomalies, I managed to snow-plow my way down without incident. It looked horribly ungraceful I’m sure, but it got the job done. On a later one, I was not so lucky and had a pretty good wipe-out. Nothing painful at least, but it took me a long time to get up and going again. Why can’t the trail just stay nice and flat??? The kids hate flat spots, but I rather enjoy them.

A couple of times, Lily skied ahead of all of us, as we were staying back with Owen. And me… I shouldn’t pretend that I’m faster than him, lol! Unless it’s flat, then I’m faster 🙂 I was actually impressed that Lily did this without complaint or hesitation. Though she often acts like she can’t stand us, she still seems paranoid to go anywhere without us. It’s a bad combination! usually she just stays with us, complaining the whole time. So it was a nice change, and hopefully more progress that she happily skied ahead on her own, and waited for us at the bottom.

We skied on down and took the same mid-mountain lift again, the Upper Beaver Creek Express, but this time skied over to Talon’s Restaurant for lunch. Owen had a little bit of a hiccup when he ended up on the low side of the slope coming up to the lift, and finally had to go under a fence to get out. It upset him a bit, but luckily he shook it off enough to ski to lunch. Lily was not in a good mood by now though, complaining, as usual of her feet and her boots. She and Brian got into a bit of a fight in the lift line because of it.

I’m only going to gripe once about these boots, I promise, but I was so annoyed that when we bought them earlier this fall, she put no effort or thought at all into trying them on. She hadn’t even stood up yet when she declared that they were “fine”, (after the salesperson put them on her) and I barely managed to get her to take two steps in them before she was taking them off and saying again, that they were “fine”. And sure enough, from the first time she skied in them, they have been the bane of her existence, and by natural consequence, ours as well. Sigh.

But, despite this we made it to lunch. And after waiting an obscenely long time for a grilled cheese (and an $85 bill for what is basically fast food on a mountain), it did end up being a good break. We continued skiing to the bottom of the mountain, where I wanted to catch the Centennial lift, which would take us to the Cinch lift, which led to a nice green run area at the top of the mountain.

Both lifts had lines, but it wasn’t too horrendous thankfully. Though to listen to Lily’s whining, you would have thought otherwise. In fairness, it WAS hot standing in line, and even Owen mentioned being uncomfortable. But it’s still frustrating that the 5 year old can deal with a little bit of discomfort far better than the 12 year old.

Owen was fascinated by the racing areas on the mountain as our lift passed over them, and really wanted to participate. And he wanted to do a mogul run. We weren’t sure if he was ready for either, but told him to keep working and prove himself to us first. Once off the lift, we quickly got separated, because Owen wanted to take Jackrabbbit Alley, a kid’s run through the woods and a tepee village. Lily’s mood had taken a bad turn and she was near meltdown. We skied to the bottom where I expected to meet Brian and Owen, and asked Lily if she wanted to go back to the condo.

To my surprise, instead of getting an attitude about it, she just admitted that she did.  So when we met up with the boys, I told them we were heading back, and of course they wanted to stay longer.

We skied down just a little bit further to the top of the Centennial lift, which we had taken earlier. I had mentioned then that I didn’t think there was an easy way down and we should just plan to take the lift. I wished then that I had reminded Brian of that, but they were already off. We rode a gondola car down. This was an interesting lift in that one out of about every 6 chairs was a gondola, while the rest were traditional chair lifts. We probably could have ridden a chair too, but we had to take our skis off to walk up to the entrance, so the gondola was easier.

Lily was actually in a much better mood now, relieved to be heading back I guess. I just don’t understand how she can be so nasty to us sometimes. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t like this as a kid, it must come from Brian’s genes, lol! But she really knows how to push your buttons at just the wrong moment, in just the wrong way. And so far, we haven’t found anything that helps. I feel sometimes like I’m being bullied by my own kid. But, I’ve learned to especially appreciate the moments when she’s actually being nice, as she finally was on the way back.

We finally stumbled our way to the bus stop – unfortunately we had come down at a different village than where we came up, and I had left the ski straps at the base where we started. So we had to jump off the shuttle bus and get them, then catch the next bus. But we made it back to the car, and then I had to borrow Brian’s shoes because he had driven that morning, and I had only come in my ski boots.

So Lily and I had a relaxing afternoon in the condo, just hanging out and playing on computers and iPads. Owen and Brian skied until the lifts closed, several more runs on Jackrabbit Alley, and then Brian took him down to the bottom the hard way, instead of taking the gondola down like we had. Owen is such a glutton for adventure, and like his dad, never wants to stop. At least it looks like he might get his mountaineering buddy afterall.

Around 4pm Brian called me to come get them, they had ended up at the same village Lily and I did, but the bus line was unbearably long, being the end of the day. So despite not knowing how to reach him by car, I somehow found my way there and rescued them. I was only blocking the bus lane for a couple of minutes, and I don’t think one came by during that time, so hopefully no one was too mad 🙂 They were both exhausted, but Owen insisted that he had had fun.

After we got back, a fight erupted between the kids (mostly it was just Lily being a jerk to Owen about a game they were playing on their iPad). Brian took both of their iPads away, and in typical fashion, Owen just sat quietly on the couch in response, while Lily threw a major fit and ran screaming to her room. Sigh again. But she did later cheer up in time to go to dinner, so I am determined to focus on the positives!

We walked over to the Mexican restaurant (Agave) right  across from our condo. Overall, it was pretty good. Our server spent a lot of time ignoring us, but the food was decent. And Owen really liked to disco ball hanging on the second story. Apparently the place later turns into a nightclub.

We had also been dealing with some stuff having to do with our house that is still for sale in Colorado Springs, and had to attend to some emails this evening as well.

Overall, I think it was a pretty successful day. No day with a hormonal 12 year old is going to be perfect, but we still managed to have a good time on the slopes and kept the meltdowns to a minimum at least. And she had some genuinely good moments as well. The kids ended the night with some more Minecraft on their iPads, with no fight interventions necessary this time 🙂

Maybe I spend too much time talking about Lily, so to show what a goofball Owen is… upon being told that it was time for bed, he shouted out “Aww, toasted squirrel nuts!!” I have no idea where that came from, but he is such a funny kid. Makes me smile and laugh every day.

Sunday, January 24

We got going much earlier today, despite me not having slept that well. I was quite surprised to see that kids had attempted to move their two twin beds together, apparently that’s what all the whispering I heard last night after going to bed was all about. Maybe they were going to get along better today.

Very quickly, the morning seemed to take a bad turn though. Owen was having some sort of trouble with his foot. At first he didn’t tell anyone and just hid in his room, so Lily had to clue us in. We were afraid it was a cramp or injury from skiing yesterday, but it turned out to just be a splinter. Brian pulled it out, and he was immediately better! Crisis averted.

It was going to be much colder today, a high of around 20, and cloudy. And probably some snow in the afternoon. So we were much more bundled than yesterday. I had bought Lily some battery-powered heated socks because she always throws a fit when her feet get cold, guess we would find out today if they worked!

The Bear lot still had plenty of room this time, so we parked, caught a shuttle and were at the lifts shortly after they opened. We started on the side we ended at yesterday – taking Centennial lift up to Cinch lift. Owen really wanted to go back to JackRabbit Alley, the path through the woods and tepee village, so Lily and I went down the nearby Red Buffalo again.

The slopes were a little icy this morning, and I took a pretty good tumble partway down. It wouldn’t have been a bad fall at all, if my ski had popped off like it should have. I had noticed yesterday that I was surprised it hadn’t come off on that fall either. I may need to get the bindings adjusted so that they release more easily. I’d rather deal with them coming off too often than have a small fall turn into a broken leg!

JackRabbit was icy too, and the boys decided to stick to the freshly groomed trails for now. Except that on the way back up, Lily had a total meltdown on the lift. The screaming, saying how much she hated us, and threatening to jump off the lift kind of meltdown. Lovely.

We started off on the Centennial trail (not to be confused with the Centennial lift, it actually follows the Cinch lift down, as if that’s not confusing!) but at one point it turned to a black, so I opted to take the Cinch trail down from there. I called to Brian as we were splitting up that the signs said it was now a black run, but he didn’t seem to believe me, and he took off down it with Owen. Lily had already taken off on her own in a huff. I figured we’d all meet up at the bottom anyway.

When I got down, the boys were no where to be seen, but after a few minutes I did spot Lily’s skis on the racks by the lodge, so I went inside to find her. She was calmer now, but still a little sullen and in no mood to go back out. I still hadn’t heard from the boys, and assumed they must have gone ahead with another run without me. It turned out they hadn’t, and I’m glad I had no idea what was going on during this time until it was over.

Finally Brian called me, they had made it down, but only after a minor disaster and very close call. Owen had taken a small fall, and as Brian was trying to get him up, a snowboarder who had wiped out crashed into them, completely knocking Brian down, sending his skis flying and him sliding down the mountain out of control! Luckily, he had just missed Owen, and some other skiers who stopped to help got Owen up, and helped Brian get his stuff back together. This is one of the scariest parts of skiing, it’s not just your own accidents  you have to worry about, but others’ as well. That could have ended much worse, especially if he had been a few feet over and plowed into Owen instead. But, Owen was ready for another run, so I told them to go ahead without me, knowing it would take several minutes to get myself suited up again.

They met us in the lodge after their next run, and it was time for lunch. Sigh. A $100 lunch of fast food quality pasta and sandwiches. This is the one expense of skiing that we just can’t seem to avoid. Unless you are going to carry a pack and/or get a locker, you are stuck paying their ridiculous prices on the mountain. Oh well.

After lunch, we rode the Cinch lift over and over. Owen did JackRabbit a few more times, and I came to really like Centennial (with the bail-out to Cinch once it became black). Fortunately, Lily’s mood had improved drastically after lunch, and we didn’t have any more drama. It had gotten significantly colder, and though Lily mentioned it a few times, she didn’t get whiny about it. Progress, I tell you! (And hopefully those fancy socks are working)

Meeting back at the bottom of Cinch, as had become our habit, I decided I was about done. But the easiest way down was to, like yesterday, ride the Centennial lift. And from the bottom of Cinch, it’s quite a hike back up to the top of Centennial. So I decided I would do one last run, and at the end of it, position myself better to take the lift down. But, as we were going into the lift line, Owen suddenly had a “potty emergency”, so Brian took off to the lodge with him. In the commotion and yelling back and forth, I fell on my butt right in the lift line! Hate it when that happens, lol!

Finally they came back, and I executed my plan. Lily came with me, and we had a pretty easy and smooth trip back. That last run down the mountain had freaked me out a bit – it was so overcast that the light was really bad and I couldn’t even tell what was steep or flat! The Broncos game had also just started, so the mountain became a ghost town. Would have been nice to enjoy those short lift lines and empty trails, but with the light that bad, I wasn’t sad to leave. And I was COLD! I almost never get cold skiing, this has to be one of the coldest days I’ve been out.

Our ski straps were right where we left them at the bottom of Centennial lift, and we just walked back to the condo from Bear lot. Sometimes keeping up with the straps can be a pain, but it makes carrying the skis SO much easier. I can’t believe I didn’t discover them until this year.

It turned out that the boys were not far behind us, Owen having admitted defeat shortly after we left. Unfortunately, they had not remembered to grab Owen’s ski strap, so we would have to go back into town. I thought we’d let everyone rest and settle in for a bit first. During this time, we had another meltdown.

Just to give you an idea of how these things go down – Lily walked into the living room and in her whiny, drama queen voice, demanded a hair brush. I have no idea why she couldn’t find hers, but I didn’t even bother asking, just cheerily told her mine was on my nightstand and she could borrow it. This apparently was NOT the answer she was looking for, and the offer was met with a screaming tirade about how stupid we both were, stomping feet, and a slamming door. Followed by a little more screaming. And several minutes of sulking. I’m pretty sure I will never get it. At all! But, she did calm down fairly quickly, and we got ready to go back into town. And I even got a long hug before we left, something that rarely happens. Positives. Focus on the positives 🙂

It’s amazing how much easier and less tedious the trip seems once we aren’t in our ski boots and carrying our gear! Lily had been wanting to shop earlier, so this would give us a chance to browse more comfortably. And of course since we were going into town, Brian wanted to eat out. So much for the spaghetti I had planned to cook, lol!

After getting Owen’s strap back, we stopped in the Smartwool store. I always take advantage of finding these at ski areas to pick up more of my favorite gloves. The Broncos game was still going on, nearing the end I think, and the whole village was taken over by it. Of course it was playing (loudly) in every bar and restaurant, and people in the stores were following it on their phones, and giving updates. (It was a playoff game, the one to get to the superbowl) I wasn’t really paying much attention, not being a football fan, but once it was over, (and they had won) the village seemed to buzz with excitement.

Lily looked at some clothes in several stores, but didn’t find anything she was willing to spend her money on. We had promised Owen a treat somewhere, since we never made it back to the Candy Cabin, and he picked out a small race car with candy in it at one store. Mostly he wanted the car, lol! We spotted Blue Moose Pizza, and decided to have dinner there. At least that would be cheaper than our lunch on the mountain!

After dinner, Lily and I did just a little more shopping and she picked out her candy treat at a chocolate counter. We took the shuttle back and picked up the car. It was actually still quite early, that tends to happen on ski trips! We were back in the room for the night before 7pm.

The kids played Minecraft together in their room, and we dealt with some more house issues via email. Unfortunately, vacation can’t keep real life from intervening occasionally. But it would sure be nice to have this extra house off our hands if everything worked out!

Monday, January 25

We were up early again – this time we had to pack up for home, in addition to getting ready to ski. Our plan was to drive to Vail, about 20 minutes away, and ski there for the day before driving home that afternoon. Before the trip, I had briefly considered having Lily and I drive home early this morning, so that she wouldn’t miss another day of school. But, that would have required going in two cars, and ultimately everyone decided against it. So hopefully we wouldn’t regret this!

I was surprised at how quickly we were loaded and on the road. Even with having to pack up and make a longer drive, we still weren’t going to miss lift opening by much! We went to the main Vail Village parking garage. It would cost us $25, but there weren’t a lot of other options anyway. We finished suiting up, and made the walk to Gondola One. Again, thankful for our ski strap carriers. It would have been a miserable trek without them.

The gondola was almost deserted. Being a Monday, the crowds were naturally going to be lighter. The whole area had gotten good snowfall last night, but Beaver Creek was showing more inches than Vail, so a lot of the powder-seekers were going to head there instead. We had dressed for it to be VERY cold, and at first I wondered if we had overdone it. But there were times when the wind really kicked up, so we probably called it right.

I do like that Vail has so many gondolas. They don’t terrify me quite as much as the chair lifts, anyway! Our plan, or I should say “my” plan anyway, was to follow the winding green traverses back down, and take the gondola back up. Vail is actually a little confusing, as it’s trails meander, cross, merge, diverge, and do weird things like change color in the middle. I guess Beaver Creek has a bit of that too, but it’s even more so here. I was a little concerned that the path I wanted to take was complicated, so I wanted to go down once all together so I didn’t get lost.

After a little bit of winding on the traverse, we passed the entrance to Chaos Canyon. It was technically marked a blue, but it was a kids area, so Brian’s convinced me that it wouldn’t be too bad. Well I wasn’t really convinced, but didn’t want to take off on my own right now, so I went along. It was snowing pretty hard and visibility wasn’t great, not a good time to get lost on my own.

It was kind of fun actually, it wound around, up and down, a little like a roller coaster. Some steep parts, but they didn’t last long. And the powder was so deep that it was pretty easy to keep my speed under control, even if I had to do the ungraceful snowplow. This dropped us off near the bottom of the Avanti Express lift, and Brian talked us into taking that up. It would eventually get us to the Eagle’s Nest area that we had spent so much time in last year. So much for my plan though, lol!

At the top, Brian wanted to go off on his own to ski some of the back bowls, so the kids and I headed off down the ridge traverse to Eagle’s Nest. Lily was whining about being cold, so I figured a hot chocolate break would do everyone good. Except that I didn’t know if we would ever get there! The traverse was mostly flat (yay – I love flat!!) But Owen doesn’t, or, he’s just really slow at it! Thankfully, after struggling for a few minutes, a nice older man came along gave Owen a ride through most of the flattest part. Otherwise we would have been there all day! (I should clarify that by a “ride”, I mean he skied with Owen between his legs, pushing him from behind. Good skiers make this look so easy, but the two of us would quickly end up in a pile if I tried it, lol!)

We relaxed in the lodge with some $25 hot chocolate for a while, and were just getting suited up to go back out when Brian called. I had already promised the kids we would play around on the bunny slopes afterwards, so we headed there with Brian. He had loved his time in the knee-deep powder in the back bowls, glad he got to take advantage of the snow today!

The bunny slopes outside Eagles nest were overrun with ski school kids, and even Owen realized that, having improved dramatically since last year, they weren’t nearly as fun as he remembered. So after a few minutes, Brian convinced everyone to ski on down to Avanti Express again. We split up several times on the way – Owen loved doing the kids trails through the woods, and there were several of them. Brian said he would squeal with delight and “woohoo” all the way through them. I, however, am NOT a fan of skiing through the woods, so I wound my way around on the traverses, always meeting up with them somewhere. I was attempting to look at the trail map to make sure we didn’t get hopelessly separated, and it turned out that the one time I could have really messed up, I didn’t even look at the map but made a last-second somewhat-random decision to take the slightly harder path down, just because I could already see them at the bottom. Had I continued on the traverse, I would not have met up with them. Lucky time to get brave, lol!

Heading up the Avanti Express was almost a disaster though – it’s a new lift with the gates leading out onto a conveyor belt, supposed to make loading easier and more streamlined. But they seem like more trouble than they are worth. Lily always gets stressed out by them, and this time Owen got his pole tangled up going through, and in trying to sort it out I ended up missing the chair and being one behind them. And he still dropped his pole at the last minute, fortunately I saw it in time to grab it before I got on.

We skied down to mid-Vail from there. Brian and Lily took a more difficult path (i.e. black runs) and they sent Owen with me on what was supposed to be the “easiest way”. It still had some pretty intimidating downhills, but again, the powder saved me and we slowly worked our way down without incident. Okay, Owen rocked his way down and looked like a champ, poor mom stumbled and snow plowed her way down, but did NOT fall, lol!

Another $100 lunch. Arrrgh! And it wasn’t even that good. Just part of the day though, get used it! I was feeling pretty tired after lunch, and Lily had wanted some time to shop in the village before heading home. So we split up from the boys again, and I explained to her the traverse path I planned to take down. In typical Vail fashion, there were countless blue and black trails that merged in and out along the way, so I told her she was free to take off on her own at any point. She seemed to think she was fine staying with me.

I was really enjoying the traverses and catwalks on the way down. Until we passed the bottom of the Avanti lift again. I had noticed coming through there before that the Gitalong Road trail seemed to disappear altogether. I was hoping it would make more sense once I was there looking for it, but it didn’t. There was a wide open, steep slope below us, and I could see that at the bottom of it, several trails split off. But was much too far away to read the sign. Is THAT where we were supposed to go? It looked awfully steep… I sent Lily ahead and told her to wave me down it it turned out to be right.

Of course she zipped down like it was nothing, and started waving her arms over her head. Wait, that almost looked like a “NO, go BACK” signal. Not really knowing what else to do though, I headed down to meet her. That particular slope actually wasn’t that bad, and to my great relief, the Gitalong Rd sign was waiting for me at the bottom.

Lily, at this point, decided she was done with my catwalks, being at the top of a black run that almost certainly would meet up with Gitalong at some point, and she took off on her own. I continued to really like this traverse, think I’ve found my new favorite trail! I eventually found Lily, of course it took me much longer to get to the bottom of that black because I was following the switchback trail, and as we continued, she split off from me a few more times. We finally found ourselves back in Vail Village where we had started the day.

I’m glad I got to end on such a good note. I really enjoyed Gitalong. I think traverses and catwalks are my thing right now 🙂 And the snow continued to be incredible, pretty sure I’ve never skied in powder like this! Now I see why people seek it out so much.

We strapped up our skis and headed back to the car, wanting to change into more comfortable shopping clothes. We wandered through several shops, but like last night, nothing caught her eye, that she could afford. She considered a couple of things, but ultimately decided to save her money for more practical stores at home. We’ve recently upped her allowance, with the agreement that she has to buy her own clothes. It definitely seems to be making her think a little harder about her choices.

So we had a calm and pleasant afternoon. She had actually been in a good mood most of the day, and I mentioned to her at one point that I felt like she had enjoyed skiing today more than the other days. She had even sought out several black runs and had fun on them, usually Brian has to twist her arm a bit to do those! So, maybe we made the right choice to skip school today afterall, she seemed to have had a really good day.

We had finished shopping about 30 minutes before the boys were due back, and as we wandered into the gondola area, I glanced over at the rack to make sure Owen’s strap was still there. I was concerned when I saw that it wasn’t, but quickly realized it was because they were already there and had picked it up! So we all headed back to the car together, and got loaded up to drive home.

I had picked up a small round tin of Star Wars jelly beans for Owen that he ate on the way home. Actually he didn’t care too much for the jelly beans,  but became very attached to the Darth Vader tin they were in. And in a very Gollum-like voice, started referring to it as “his precious”. Freaked me out a little, especially since he hasn’t seen Lord of the Rings!

The drive was easy, except some local traffic once we got off the interstate. But we easily had time to get Lily to her water polo practice, which I hadn’t been willing to let her skip.

I know it isn’t really part of the trip, but since it happened that same night, I have to share. As we were driving home from water polo, Lily suddenly said “You know, I think I’m going to settle in just fine here. I really like my water polo team, and I think school is going to end up going well too. I think we’ll be glad we moved”. Talk about a moment of relief from mommy-guilt! I know there will be plenty of moments in the future when she will want to retract that statement, but at least for tonight, all was right with the world 🙂