We’re having a very mellow and nuclear-family-focused Christmas. We’ll usually travel far to visit with family, so this is a welcome change of pace, especially after multiple soccer tournament trips and hosting a bunch of family for Thanksgiving this fall.
As excited as we were about the prospect of being lazy at home for the weekend, we worried that it might get old quickly, so we decided to go skiing for Christmas Eve. We went to Hunter Mountain for the day. We wanted to try someplace new, and it was a do-able daytrip (an hour and twenty minutes away) and we got a bit of a deal on Liftopia. The weather forecast was iffy, but we just bit the bullet and bought tickets. Last year we postponed ski trips because conditions seemed less-then-ideal, and then, in the spring, I returned our seasonal ski rentals that we had never even used. SO sad. This year, we decided that skiing in not-so-great conditions would be better than not skiing at all. So we analyzed the weather forecast (did you know that “showers” are supposed to mean sudden, brief bursts, as opposed to the more general term “rain”?). Then decided to go for it, in spite of the forecast.
The worst part of skiing is getting ready. Seriously, it’s such a pain in the neck to find all the equipment and decide on how many layers to wear. In our case there was drama because the girls’ helmets were too small and then J’s boots were strangling her Wonder Woman calves (which she gets from her mother). As usual Cute W made everything all better.
As we drove toward Hunter Mountain, it rained. It didn’t “shower” briefly. It rained steadily, relentlessly. We hoped that the rain would turn to snow as it hit the mountains, but that didn’t happen.
Still, we had fun. Between the holiday and the weather, it was a small crowd, so we could pretty much ski down the hill and directly onto the lift. There was enough snow on the trails that even the warm temperatures were okay, and we all agreed that we’d rather have soft snow than ice. We were out of practice, but those girls did great. They managed black diamonds and we decided not to try the double black diamonds since it was our first time out, rainy, and Christmas. I feel like I’ve aged more than two years since the last time I skied, because I couldn’t seem to shake from my mind the conviction that an injury would be upsetting, inconvenient, and ruinous to both our Christmas holiday and the girls’ sports seasons. In short, I felt like an old biddy, and I’m hoping that I can shake that feeling for next time.
It was wet. We were literally soaked, and for one I could feel water stream down my face. Luckily, it wasn’t cold, but wearing all wet clothes is still, well, let’s go ahead and say it: a bit of a damper. Ha. So we quit earlier than we might have on a prettier day, but we still got plenty of skiing in.
The resort was friendly and the lodge and especially the bathrooms were nice. It seems like a great option for intermediate-to-advanced ski families, although of course it would be easier to judge later in the season (and when it’s not raining). Something about outings like this switches the girls into Vacation Mode, and they become buddies and allies more than usual. We also shared plenty of laughs, like when we watched from the chair lift as the first aid team pulled a stretcher downhill. We’d just passed the team helping that skier on a black diamond. “It’s always reassuring when you’re skiing a black diamond and you see someone in a stretcher ahead of you,” J offered.
We were home in time for an evening church service, and then we ate all sorts of delicious snacks in front of the fire as a late dinner. Cute W and I split a bottle of wine and it was lovely family chit-chat time, but I was full-on exhausted, so I had to begin hinting broadly that the girls should get to bed because “Santa might be tired.”
We read some Christmas stories before the girls settled in for a Christmas Eve sleepover. They were having a running debate about when to wake up. M, in full teenager mode, voted for 8:30 am, which J thought was appallingly late. It even seemed sort of late to me. Cute W and I realized, just as we were leaving their bedroom, that our treacherous older daughter had pushed her clock back two hours to try to fool J into staying in bed in the morning.
Finally we were able to go into Santa mode, wrapping and locating all of the hidden-away treasures. When I was almost sure that I could finally, finally go to bed, I realized that I’d forgotten to fill Isis’ stocking with her cat treasures. So it was 12:30 am as I ransacked the house in search of the hidden-away fancy salmon and tuna dinners that I’m usually too cheap to buy. I finally, finally found them and was in bed by 1 am.
I woke up abruptly at 6 am, remembering that I hadn’t made a fresh shortbread for Christmas morning. Yes, I slapped one together, forcing the girls to wait on the stairs until the shortbread was in the oven. And yes, I took a nap today.
Merry Christmas to all!