Two years ago in January, Joe and I had a wonderful time visiting each set of grandparents, then taking a few days for ourselves in Steamboat Springs while his folks watched the kids. Last year in January, we had a wonderful time visiting each set of grandparents and taking Patrick along to Steamboat Springs to learn to ski (Joe learned to ski then, too).
This year in January, we had a wonderful visiting each set of grandparents, but this time switching it up and taking our personal days at Powderhorn ski resort near Grand Junction. It's where I learned to ski, and where I had a blast skiing with friends as I got older, so I just knew it would be fantastic to go with Joe and Patrick!
This year we decided to take Eli, too - I learned when I was 5, he can learn at age 5, too! We set the dates up with my parents (my mom was set to babysit Caroline and Ethan), and my dad surprised us by planning those days off work to come with us!
It really worked out wonderfully. We went up on Tuesday, renting skis on the mountain, and immediately took the boys up the EZ-Rider lift. We settled on my dad helping Patrick, Joe skiing along to hone his skills, and me taking Eli because he's the newest skier and I could handle holding him. Well, we should have taken Eli skiing starting at any other age because at 5 he was as terrible as you'd expect any beginner to be, but he was neither old enough to be patient while learning nor small enough for me to physically manhandle. He'd fall down and it would take all my mental strength to get him to calm down, and all my physical strength to heave him back up so that he could ski 10 feet and then do it again. It took forever to get down that one hill! And then we had to do it again! After two runs Eli was ready to call it quits for the day, possibly the rest of his life, but it was only lunchtime so instead we bolstered him up with some sandwiches, chips, and Oreos.
After lunch we headed to the new Magic Carpet lift, a rubbery moving sidewalk that only goes 50 feet up a gently sloping hill - I had passed it by at first, seeing it was full of ski school kids and instructors and thinking maybe it was limited to them. Well, limited or not, we were going to use it because there was no way we'd make it down the bunny hill all day! (Turns out it wasn't limited, I was just paranoid of breaking rules). Once Eli gained confidence on the Magic Carpet he was so excited about skiing! Kept telling me he didn't need my help and whatnot.
So for a final run of the day, brimming with new-skier confidence, we went back to the EZ-Rider lift... and it was a failure. Eli fell down again and again (to be expected), but when he refused to get back up after a pretty good biff we settled for taking off his skis and walking the rest of the way. No need to end on a sour note of tears and tantrums.
We skied again on Friday, but this time left Eli at home and headed for the main lifts on the mountain. Patrick just adores my dad so they were a team and stuck close together all day, skiing the EZ-Rider and Take-4 lift - all the way to the top! Patrick did very well, though he felt pretty mentally and physically exhausted by the time we got down so he only went to the top once. Since my dad stuck with Patrick, Joe and I were free to wander the slopes so we headed over to the West End lift - he had laughed at my description of it as "old, rickety, and very bouncy." When we got on the lift he laughed even harder because my description was so apt! We bounced at least 8 feet up and down and clung to the plyboard seats when the lift stopped for one reason or another. What an adventure! We took one run down and it was harder than anticipated - Joe had a heckofa time navigating his turns on the steep slopes! So our next run up, our last run of the day, we wanted to take the other blue run from the West end... only it doesn't return you to the main resort! It only goes back to the West End lift! So one way or another we were going to have to take that first run, the one Joe had such trouble making it down. We'd had good runs all day and that one had been by far the worst. He was super annoyed. But up the lift and down the run we went, and the second time was awesome! Knowing what was in store he steeled his resolve and cut into those turns and really killed it! We met back up with Patrick and dad to head home, and Joe said his best and worst runs of the day were both those runs down West End.
We had such a great time, all our January trips have been SO much fun, we will undoubtedly keep up the tradition as the years go by.