I went on my first ski trip when I was twelve years old. Growing up, my dad took my two oldest brothers and I on ski trips 1-3 times a year. My Dad convinced my mom to go with us one year, but skiing wasn’t her thing, so she always stayed home with my youngest siblings. We went with two other families, the dads and kids only, and it was always a road trip to either New Mexico or Colorado. Considering I do not like being cold, I grew to love skiing. I have so many fun memories from those days.
I went on ski trips with my youth group during spring break several years and tried snowboarding once. I still prefer skiing over snowboarding. By the time I went to college, the family ski trips had come to an end. Caleb and I went skiing together once with friends when we were dating during college. And then we went once more early on in our marriage (pre-kids) with my brother and sister-in-law in 2008. That was the last time we had been skiing until 2016.
In 2016 we decided it would be fun to take our kids skiing. They were 7, 5, and 2 at the time. We went to Breckenridge and the oldest two went to ski school while the youngest just went to the resort day care. We were pleasantly surprised at how quickly Savannah (age 7) figured it out and was really enjoying it. Hudson (age 5) had a slower start to figuring it out, therefore, wasn’t loving it as much. By the end of our three days of skiing, they both couldn’t wait to do it again.
Traveling to Breckenridge was a long day for us. Early to the airport, renting a car, making the two-hour drive to our resort. It just wasn’t fun. So this year we decided we needed to pick a mountain super close to an airport. That’s how we decided on Aspen/Snowmass. We had a direct flight and a 15-minute complementary ride to our condo. We also asked my mom if she would be willing to go with us to stay with Cora in the cabin. She eagerly agreed.
Day 1 – Travel Day:
Our flight was delayed an hour and it was during that hour that Cora napped. Thankfully, she was still happy and easy on the flight. We landed mid-morning, dropped off our bags at the condo, and went to grab lunch while we waited for our room to be ready. The condo was on the mountain and we could ski almost all the way to our back door. They offered a free shuttle service to anywhere local (restaurants, grocery store, ski rentals, etc.) and there was a free bus to go to Aspen. The staff was incredible. Always so accommodating, helpful, and pleasant.
After we got everything into our room, my mom stayed with Maddox and Cora while the rest of us went to get our ski gear. Then we went to stock up on groceries for the week and cooked dinner in the condo so that we could have an early night to bed.
Day 2 – Ski Day 1:
We checked Savannah and Hudson into ski school which looked chaotic with so many people, but they had a system that worked well. Savannah did not think she needed ski school, but we thought it would be helpful for her to have a refresher. Maddox spent the morning in the kid-camp and we picked him up at lunch. Cora stayed in the condo with my mom to play and take her nap. Caleb and I squeezed in as much skiing as we could, trying to explore as much of the mountain as possible. The weather was perfect! Sunny, no wind, and in the low 40’s. We all had a great first day and ended it with dinner out at Slice, an Italian Bistro.
Day 3 – Ski Day 2:
Savannah and Hudson went back to ski school, but Savannah was promoted to a higher, more advanced class. She was happy about that because she had been bored with day 1 since it was stuff she already knew. Hudson was progressing well and had advanced to a new level by the end of the day. Caleb and I found them after lunch to watch and see how they were doing. We were so impressed and couldn’t wait to actually ski with them!
The kids had been begging to make a snowman, so Caleb helped them build this guy after we got home from skiing. Our condo gave out “Snowman Kits” which included a hat, scarf, buttons, and nose for your snowman. There were several snowmen around the condo, but we heard lots of comments from people who walked past this one. Some that I heard were, “Look, it’s a lazy snowman. That’s about how I feel. He needs a bottle of wine.” Everyone just thought it was so creative. Caleb said he made him laying down simply because it was easier and faster to build. By the end of today, we were all exhausted and in bed early.
Day 4 – Ski Day 3:
We dropped the boys off at their own classes and then took Savannah with us on the mountain. She was SO excited. She was a little hesitant once we got to the top of the mountain. It didn’t take her long to build up courage to go down steep runs and then there was no stopping her. She told me, “I just want to go straight down, fast.” And that’s just what she did. She maintained control and never once fell. I was beyond impressed.
At lunch time, we picked up Maddox and took him to the condo to eat and nap. Then Caleb, Savannah, and I went on one more run before going to get Hudson from ski school. By that time, we had just enough time to get on the lifts once more before they closed for the day. I told Caleb we should take Hudson on one run with us. Caleb thought what took he and I 10 minutes to do, would take an hour with Hudson and didn’t think it would be a good idea. But we did it anyways.
Oh my goodness. Hudson was super excited and Savannah was elated that her brother (aka best friend) was getting to go with us. We thought he would be more cautious, slow, and need assistance, but he proved us wrong within seconds. He was equally as confident and adventurous as Savannah. He fell two times, but got right back up on his own and kept on going. We stopped periodically to brag on the kids and take pictures. By the time we got back down to where we get off the mountain and walk to our condo, Hudson felt like he was just getting started and wanted to keep skiing. Unfortunately, the lifts were closed by then, but Caleb skied with him to the base and got a bus ride back up to our condo.
Watching our kids excel and thoroughly enjoy the sport had both Caleb and I beaming with pride. It honestly had us both a little emotional. Thinking about the pure joy and fun we had with them on that last run of the day (and entire trip). Seeing their excitement and enthusiasm about it. Knowing how much they had advanced in just three short days was so impressive. I’ve skied many, many times, but that day was by far one of my most favorite ski days ever!
Caleb returned all of our ski gear and then we had a little date night for dinner while my mom stayed with the kids.
Day 5 – New Year’s Eve:
Of all the ski trips I have been on, I have never had a “rest” day. We’ve always skied three days and then traveled back home. Being the week between Christmas and New Year’s, all of the condos we looked at required a 5 night minimum stay. I was really happy to have a non-ski day to just enjoy the mountains. We took the bus into Aspen to spend a little time. We ate lunch at The Red Onion and it was great! Then we walked around for some sight-seeing and shopping, but there were not many places that I wanted to take four kids in to. There was an outdoor ice skating rink, but none of my kids were interested. They’ve done that before and it was hard for them.
When we got back to our condo, I promised to help the kids build a “standing up snowman.” So we got to work on that while Maddox and Cora napped. It took much longer than I thought it would to get a base built. By the time we were adding a head, I told Caleb that we needed to do something creative with this one to make it unique. I thought and thought, but couldn’t think of any good ideas. Then Hudson said, “we should make it a girl.” And just like that I thought, “a pregnant snow-woman…perfect!” She helped add to the story of our “lazy snowman” and the people around the condo thought it was hilarious.
Once our snow-woman was complete, we went to dinner at Slow Groovin’ BBQ and then finished packing up and into bed.
Day 6 – Travel Home:
We had to be out of our condo by 11:00, but didn’t leave for the airport until 4:00. We let Cora take her morning nap and then checked out of our room. The front desk kept our luggage for us while took a gondola ride up the mountain. My mom kept Cora warm inside at a restaurant so the rest of us went to ride the newly opened roller coaster and then snow tubing.
The line for the roller coaster ride was kinda long and none of our kids were tall enough to ride on their own. I took Maddox, Caleb took Savannah, and Hudson got in line so he would be ready to ride once we got back. We had done something just like this in Breckenridge last year. It was fun, but Maddox thought it was too fast even though you control your own speed and I went pretty slow.
While Caleb took Hudson for his turn, I took Savannah and Maddox up the hill a little further to the snow tubing area. Again, Maddox went with me once, but thought it was too fast and didn’t want to do it any more. Caleb and Hudson joined us pretty quickly. Savannah and Hudson loved it and would get back in line as quickly as possible. We did this for almost an hour before going back to my mom and Cora to eat lunch.
By the time we got back to the condo lobby, we had about an hour to wait before leaving for the airport. We changed out of our snow clothes and the kids played.
The Aspen airport is small. Getting our bags checked took forever and getting through security is always a hassle, especially with kids. It was 5:30, the kids were hungry, but all we had to offer was snack food. Maddox decided to tell us he felt like he was going to throw up right about the time we were boarding. He has never thrown up in his life, so I think he was just hungry, but still not something you want to hear your kid say just before you get on a plane (he never ended up getting sick). Cora had only taken two 30-minute naps since her morning nap in the condo. She was overtired, no doubt, but she didn’t sleep a wink on the plane. Instead, she squealed (happily) a lot and loudly.
I tried everything to get Cora to sleep, but there was just too much going on and noises around us. Thankfully she wasn’t crying, but I’m sure the people around us were still annoyed. At one point she knocked Maddox’s cup of water right into his lap sending him into hysterics. Caleb and I scrambled to dry him off and get him to be quiet. Not 2 minutes later, Hudson’s iPad tipped over and knocked his apple juice into his lap. It was the longest 2-hour flight ever….but we survived.
It was not an easy vacation and I came home more tired than when I left. Regardless, we had a lot of fun and made some of the best memories. I am so thankful that we are able to travel and that we can take our kids to experience new places and things. We definitely want to take a family ski trip annually.