The other night, we decided to take our kids out to the ski hill. We have gone several times this year and have found certain schedules to make it happen. For those of you reading who are trying to figure schedule logistics with two young children, here are the three options we've tried.
Leaving after breakfast is one of our favorite options. In our family, "after breakfast" means 11am, by the time we have the gear loaded and the kids dressed. Once there, we feed the kids our packed lunch and then we divide and conquer. The oldest skis with one of us, and the baby takes a front pack nap while we ski tour on the Nordic trails. When she wakes up, we trade off skiing with our oldest. Another option is to leave the house around nap, the baby sleeps on the drive up and we have a few hours to enjoy skiing before heading home for dinner. The third option, and the most tricky one, is to leave after nap (about 4pm). In that scenario, we give the kids a late snack and then ski a couple hours and have dinner on the hill.
On this particular day, we just didn't get it together to leave before nap, so we opted to go after. A light snow fell as we headed up the mountain. As soon as we arrived, it turned into a crazy blizzard with fast and deep accumulation. We got the kids in their final garments and packed them and their gear to the lift/carpet. (Another tip: use a sled to haul the kids and skis.) I took the toddler to the carpet and, no joke, there was too much snow. The slope wasn't steep enough for us to get any speed to push the amount of snow that had fallen. So, after two "runs", I called it and we went inside the lodge.
Meanwhile, my son and husband got a couple chairlift runs in before the little announced he had to go pee. Again (he had gone in the parking lot). So, trek to the lodge, lumber down the stairs in ski boots, off with the many layers, pee, re-dress, up the stairs and back out again. It was my turn so I headed out with our son. But there was something very wrong with my skis. They felt like glue on my feet. I took them off and discovered over a foot of snow packed onto my ski. I scraped it off, but found a layer of ice beneath, the reason for the stick. I needed an ice scraper to get it off. So I went back inside and told my husband to go back out with our son. He did a couple more runs and then came back in because our son had to go poop. Of course. By this time, it was getting late so we decided to be done for the night. We headed to the restaurant and sat down to eat, by now 8pm, past the kids' bedtime and they were just eating dinner.
While eating dinner, we learned that the freeway was closed. Hearing that, I felt super anxious. Now what? Will we sleep in the truck? Will we wait the closure out and hope the kids don't turn into monsters? Thankfully, the freeway opened and it was not an issue at all.
Our kids did not fall asleep on the drive home (why did we not get those kids?), so it was 10pm by the time their heads hit the pillow. My husband and I tumbled into bed not long after and asked each other if it was worth it. Our son and my husband got four bunny hill ski runs in, our daughter did two carpet rides, and I mostly sat in the lodge. It puked snow the entire time and I stared longingly (and a bit painfully) at the empty, steep slopes. We ate a hurried meal with cranky children, and got them to bed late, thereby ensuring more crankiness the next day.
I still contend it's always worth it. Some trips are a flop. Others are awesome, and you hope your kids will remember them. You never know what you're going to get, a day of sweet turns with your kid or
whining and hot cocoa in the lodge. You've got to try to find out. Hopefully, it gets easier, this whole 'adventuring with kids' thing. Someday, we won't have to deal with complicated nap schedules, frequent potty breaks, and fits over wonky gloves. Right?!? Please tell me it gets easier. 😜