Monday, December 13, 2010

A last-minute vacation plan, a ton of fun

I'm a planner. I like to do all my planning way ahead of time so I can sit back and wait, all the while having something really fun to look forward to. My sister Susannah and I booked our cruise for the first week of December at least six months ago. My mom bought her flight to come along with us and our families. Then three weeks before our trip, the very cruise ship we were scheduled to be on caught fire, stranding passengers for days without electricity or flushing toilets (but not really eating spam, that was all the media from what I heard). But the bad news was that the ship was out of commission until January, and we were out of a vacation.

That's when I started to panic. We considered Oregon (too far to drive), going to California anyway just to visit my sister (I didn't want my family to drive her crazy and her house was for sale at the time), Las Vegas???, a ski trip. . . We had a family meeting. We pretty much ruled out everything else and decided to do the ski trip. I found someone on ksl classifieds who was listing the week we needed at a 3-bedroom lodge with kitchen, and we decided to go to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

We drove up on last Saturday right after Eric's company's Christmas party (which was watching Tangled at the movie theatre) for the 4-5 hour drive and we arrived around 9 pm. Here are my angels (I mean, snow angels) on the car ride:

I guess I wasn't expecting too much but I was so happy with the place we were staying. It was literally inside the ski resort. You walk out the front entrance and there's the ski school building; out the back and there's a tram, a gandola, and another chair lift. They even had lockers with boot dryers to keep our skiing equipment. Outside the windows, everything was sparkly and white. A wintery wonderland. Oh and the best part??? The two free lift tickets per day that came with the room. Talk about a pleasant surprise!

We took the first day to get settled in. We had a delicious lunch at Cafe Genevieve (which was supposed to be Jedediah's but was really good nonetheless--get the biscuits and gravy). On Monday, we bundled the girls up in their coats, snow pants, hats, scarves, gloves, boots and marched them right across the street to their ski school. I'd been prepping Portia for this by telling her that she was going to a "ski preschool." Bianca knew what to expect because she'd done snowboard lessons at Snowbird last year. But what we weren't expecting was so few people. I didn't realize this, but on a normal year, the resort is barely open with very little snow. However, we lucked out. The resort opened the week before with most of the mountain open. And the best part was there was maybe one or two other kids in the classes and an overabundance of instructors so my kids got private tutors each day.

With the girls taken care of, Eric and I were free to explore the mountain on our own. He skis, I snowboard, so we don't normally go together. I'm not used to riding up the lift with a skier but we figured it out. And I suppose it's not that bad with a skier; Eric's pretty fast. We went all over the mountain and would head back to the bottom to spy on our kids every so often. We'd have a nice, quiet lunch together and have until 3 when Portia needed to be picked up.

We skied every other day so as to not wear ourselves out or the kids and rested on Tuesday and Thursday. On the other days, we spent a lot of time in the "hot pool" as Portia liked to call it, took baths, and watched Christmas movies and would go out to eat. We had a great time one night at the Merry Piglets (Mexican, if you can believe that) and went on a frantic search through the village of Jackson looking for candy sticks. I'm still not sure what prompted that little wild goose chase, but the good news is that Eric found some.

We found these adorable hats at the Mangy Moose gift shop and just had to get them for the girls. They provided hours of entertainment for them too--as Portia roared at just about anyone as she wore it and Bianca and Portia played lion and mouse in the hotel on our days off.

On Friday, it snowed all morning--hard--and the afternoon was frosty but sunny and the snow was still cushy (which as a snowboarder I can appreciate). I couldn't believe when Eric and I came down the mountain and saw Portia on a true ski run with her instructor Zack. They do this cute game called red light, green light on skis but the best part was the purple light, which meant she had to boogie while she skied. So cute! She went up the chair lift five times on Friday afternoon.

Bianca was having a blast too. On the last day, she had mastered the "S" turn and could link her S turns all the way down the run. I was so happy to see how much she improved from Monday.

It was sad to pack up and go. On our drive out of Jackson, we saw a herd of elk, two moose drinking from the Snake River, a fox, and some other wildlife. I can truly say this was one of my favorite vacations ever. We just may have to do a ski trip every year now.

Next weekend, I'm going to go meet my sister and her family and my mom in Las Vegas. I guess I got two trips out of this one.


Erin said...

That sounds like an awesome vacation. I'm glad that everything worked out for the best.

thefirewoman said...

This sounds like it was a blast! I'm so glad the cruise ship caught fire so you could enjoy this :)

Cami said...

Interesting twists in our lives sometimes work out the best.

I've never skied or snowboarded. I'm impressed and thrilled that you had a lovely vacation!

Crystal said...

Sounds like so much fun, Jeana. Portia and Bianca are officially better skiers/snowboarders than I am.