Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Snapshots of a Perfect Weekend

It was a perfect family weekend of outdoor activities!  Uncle Bri, Aunt Eva, and Anya joined us at Bretton Woods for some fun in the snow, and we sampled many of the great choices we have, thanks to all the snow we've gotten recently.
Nordic skiing on one of my favorite quiet wooded trails, Turnpike

Pete the groomer buffing up the Tubing Hill

So many giggles and shrieks of laughter coming down the Tubing Hill
The cousins LOVED doing laps on the Tubing Hill

Smiles at the Learning Center

"Hey, Mom, I'm cruising on the Magic Carpet!"

Happy Skiers

A perfect day for cruising in the soft snow

Hugs for the Snow Duck

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dreaming of a Powder Day

On the day after a big snowstorm, die-hard skiers and riders don't want to stand around waiting for their friends to get their act together and miss the chance to float through untracked lines of fresh powder.  There may be no friends on a powder day, but it's hard to leave your kids behind when they are as excited to ski as you are.

While I was stuck in bed with a stomach bug on the day of the Blizzard of '13,  Outdoor Dad swung into duty with ventures into the snow on snowshoes and later by headlamp for a "bear hunt."  

But the whole family was quite eager to get to the slopes after a day at home during the blizzard.  And what a day it was.  Snow glistened in abundant sunshine and reflected in the smiles on our faces.  The chilly morning temperatures soon warmed and we were off to explore the gift Mother Nature had brought us.

I must confess there was a part of me that wanted to be kid-free to go find all those pristine powder stashes that I knew lay in wait on the mountain.  I'd been dreaming of a powder day for quite some time, given our slow snow year last year.  But our little snow bunnies were just as eager to ski as we were, and we were going to take advantage of their enthusiasm.  Outdoor Dad and I often have to divide and conquer these days, since 3-year old Timmy isn't ready yet for the new terrain that 5-year-old Bridget is raring to take on.  So although I wouldn't be pounding through the tight glades in search of face shots, I did get to share fresh fluffy snow with a bushy-tailed little girl who had a hard time deciding which trail to ski first.  

We rode up Rosebrook Mountain and took in the sweeping views of the Presidentials on Zealand.  

Then Bridget requested one of her favorite glade runs, Enchanted Bear.  But on the way down Two Miles Home, I had another idea: neither of us had yet ridden the new T-Bar on Mount Stickney, and with all this fresh snow, those natural trails were sure to be full of potential.  

It took a little coaxing for me to get Bridget to try to ride the T-Bar.  It's nothing like riding on a chairlift.  This old-school conveyance does take a little finesse - you have to find a balance between resting on the bar and allowing it to pull you along, without sitting all the way down and toppling over. We skied up to the base and I talked her through how we would put the orange pole in between us and sit back to let the black cross-bar pull us up the mountain, our skis gliding along on the ground.  She skeptically agreed, and in my head I ran through the contingency plan if she didn't quite get it.  Like finding balance on riding the T-bar, I again found myself in the position of balancing my urge to encourage her to try new things with the threat that failure could taint her enthusiasm.  But I knew that if she fell, we'd still be on the ground, and we could easily ski away from the T-bar track and try again.  

We were the only skiers around and the attendant kindly slowed the tow down so that we could get into position.  And we were off!  Soon enough I heard Bridget say, "Wheeee!  This is FUN!  It's like skiing UPHILL!"

At the top, we stopped in to the new warming cabin.  A family was cozied up around the wood stove and the room was filled with rustic wooden couches and chairs.  In the corner, a snack bar offered chips and candy, granola bars and beverages.  She also had a Harman's cheese and venison sausage plate displayed that made my mouth water.  But not only did I not want to take the time for a snack just then, but I didn't have any cash on me -which I will remember for next time!

Back out to the trails, I recalled with a pang of longing my explorations of the new Stickney Glades when they opened two years ago.  Now with this new T-bar, laps in the fresh snow will be all the easier.  But today was a day to share with my girl, and we headed down one of the more gentle and open glades to the west of the T-Bar.  

Back at the base lodge, Outdoor Dad and Timmy were excited about their morning as well.  After having struggled on recent days with getting Timmy to make some turns (rather than just head straight down the trail and fall when he wanted to stop), we decided to try a ski harness with him.  We had gotten a tip from a friend to cross the straps in front of him, so that pulling on the straps would initiate a turn with the opposite hip, just as we do normally.  Timmy was excited to tell us that he had done two runs down Bigger Ben and Bretton's Wood, and Matt reported that he sang all the way down and asked to go over some of the jumps on the terrain park.  

The four of us finished our morning with a run together under the Bethlehem Express Quad.  Although this wasn't what I used to picture in my mind as the quintessential Powder Day, it was, in fact, the kind of day I've been dreaming for as an Outdoor Mom.