You know, when you ski by yourself, you pretty much have things dialed in. Skis, boots, poles, socks, long undies, sweater, pants, parka, helmet, gloves, goggles. Pretty much from the ground up. No problem. But now, you decide, its time to get the family to start skiing. So, you decide well…….lets start local and maybe rent. So you piece some clothes together, throw everybody in the car, hit the rental place, get everybody outfitted and get lift tickets. Yikes!!! You have cleaned out your wallet and put a dent in the credit card and you have not even started to ski yet. Fast forward, you either soldier it out and teach the kids yourself with your wife, assuming she skis ( should have been one of the pre-nuptual requirements) or…..you throw the kids in ski school and again assault your credit cards or wallet or both. Now its time to feed everybody at lunch, ski a little more, figure out who is whining and who is not and divide and conquer. The ones who are done, they are in the lodge waiting with one or the other spouse. The rest are killing themselves until the last moment. Return the equipment, start the car, hit the Arches, and get the tired crying kids to bed and nudge your wife in the front seat that it is time to go in the house. This is the first day. Did everyone have fun? Lets hope so!!!!!
Fast forward again- now you decide……….Road Trip. For those of us in the East, that means either Western New York or New England. Maybe this time, you have hit the ski swaps, everybody has their stuff, and you start to get organized and pack the car. You have settled on a place to stay at the ski area and decided when to depart for the long trip in the car. You get about 10 miles out and yes, someone forgot their helmet. Somebody else forgot their gloves or they left them on top of the car. You wife forgot her cell phone. You go back, get what you can, do a re-check and now you are an hour later than planned. Maybe the weather has granted you a special treat and it starts to snow and the roads are getting hairy. Now the drive is an extra challenge with someone in the back seat sitting on a peanut butter sandwich and getting mad at the other one for putting it there. You arrive, schlepp( the wonderful Yiddish word for grunting everything into the house), and you slave until all are settled and ready to ski the next day. Breakfast, lift tickets, everybody on the lift together, no fighting, some are cold, some are not, the days are like keeping lids on boiling pots. But the smiles and the beauty of the mountains somehow relieves the utter exhaustion that has set over the lovely couple who has decided to take the family on a road/ski trip. Great times, long drives, pizza, end of the day beers for the adults, lost accessories, visits to the ski shops to replace, and hopefully no injuries. End of the weekend or the week, back in the car, long drive back, schlepp all the stuff back in the house…………..did you have fun? The skiing was great, the kids did well, but we are broke and trashed. It will take a week to recover.
Now look at the picture above. The real veterans. My friend Daryl Hasley took the picture of his lovely wife and really neat kids. They ski, they snowboard, but Daryl and fam have definitely paid their dues with local, road and now the biggie- ski the west with the family. Now the Hasleys piece together frequent flyers, rental car deals, on-line lift tickets, great deal on a condo in Steamboat,Colorado, shop and eat in with the kids. The veterans know the deal. They know to get to the airport with plenty of time. They do the check list on equipment, clothes, and accessories. They bring extra. They have it dialed in and the family loves the trip, loves the environment, and the parents have pictures like this to remember and treasure for years to come as the kids grow to adults. “Hey dad, remember that great trip to Steamboat when we were kids?” Yea- those statements are like gold to an aging parent. All the schlepping, money, time, patience, spent on the family ski trip was well worth the supreme hassle -right? Absolutely!!!! Smiles galore for years to come. Pictures on the wall of fame in the basement. Hopefully the kids will do the same thing for their kids someday and maybe the grandparents can tag along? Skiing is a pain in the butt. It is cold, you are like a Sherpa hauling all the gear, tears, fighting, fatigue, food fights, etc. But in the end…….worth it all and the memories will last a lifetime. Sure it is a pain and it is expensive. But can you ever replace those times in the condo or the car? The conversations, the laughs, the tears. Ski trips are great family trips. If you get the chance, take one. If you do it regularly, do it again. Time flies and the snow doesn’t always last. Thanks for reading.