We Kansans can be divided into two camps; you’re either a winter person or a summer person. Neither season is perfect here, but most of us have a less friendly relationship with one or the other. In this house, we’re summer peeps. That probably explains why our vacations have ALWAYS been to destinations warmer than the one from which we hail. We broke with tradition last week when we decided to snow ski in Colorado for spring break. We’re so glad we did. We were invited to stay with friends in their family condo in Silverthorne and we skied at Keystone for three days; it was an awesome trip.
I’ll break from another tradition and try to post more pictures than words. Here goes:
DAY 2: (Day 1 was our drive to Denver. It deserves no documentation!) This is Andrew on the ride from Denver to the mountains. We spent a night in Denver on the way out to try and help him acclimate because he has a long history of not doing that very well. This year was no exception. He’s holding the Walmart bag because he woke up barfing at midnight in our hotel room and we weren’t sure if he would blow again. We’re so compassionate. Also, I would recommend against staying in room 410 of the Hyatt Place at the Denver Airport if you’re ever in the area.
DAY 3: We had so. much. fun with our friends that we stayed and skied with for the week. They have a son in Andrew’s class and a daughter who is 10. Thomas loves her. Like, he really might love her. She’s so kind to him and she’s fun and thoughtful and he loves her. Did I mention he loves her? Here they are on the way to lunch after our first half-day of lessons. (I took lessons with the four kids. I have no pride.) He’s pulling her on her skis, using my ski pole while I carry his skis, because he’s a helper like that.
DAY 4: This is the day that it clicked for Andrew. We all skied together this day, until Andrew and his friend figured out that they could go faster than I could and way faster than their siblings. These pictures were taken at lunch and from this point on Andrew and J were leading the pack.
We learned this day that Thomas’ balance is stellar. He can point those skis downhill and lock-and-load for the bottom. However, we also learned that his stopping and turning skills weren’t so good. Hence, this:
Mark spent most of this day skiing with Thomas at his side, holding onto his ski poles, patiently directing, “Turn left, turn right, pizza!, pizza!, I said, pizza!” Thomas is a kamikaze skier and we will strongly consider more lessons the next time he heads west.
DAY 5: This was our last day on the slopes and it started out beautifully. We all headed up the mountain together after me starting with Thomas on smaller slopes. If you look closely you’ll see that our little family is the cluster of black dots in that lift chair.
We eventually parted ways so Andrew and friend could ski more aggressively than Thomas was up for and agreed to meet up for lunch. When our friend brought the boys to the lodge at lunch she told me she didn’t think Andrew was feeling well. He had definitely been struggling with the mountain air the entire trip but was suddenly really feeling badly. He was complaining of lightheadedness, nausea and the works. We gave him a Dramamine and sat him in the sun with a Gatorade, hoping for him to rally. The rally never came. He ended up spending the rest of the afternoon with our friend Grant, resting in the back of his car. As a fellow altitude sickness patient, he insisted he was willing. I’m not sure how you thank someone for hanging with a child who isn’t his, but is threatening to puke…in his car!
DAY 6: We had reservations to go tubing this day but it was apparent that Andrew wasn’t going to make it. He was very lightheaded and running a low-grade fever by morning so Mark took him to Urgent Care. There he was told that his lungs sounded fine, he did indeed have a fever, his strep quick screen was negative and that we should have him rest and take him to lower ground sooner rather than later.
The rest of us headed back to Keystone to the tubing hill. We rode the gondola up to the peak of the mountain in what was becoming a full-on snowstorm. It was a blast. I think this was Thomas’ favorite activity because no one was telling him to turn, or to go slower or to flat out stop. Plus, he looked like a bank robber which he liked. After tubing we went into Keystone for a pizza lunch. We had planned to ice skate but at this point it was snowing an inch an hour and the three adults on duty decided we weren’t up for it so we changed course and shopped for souvenirs.
In addition to all this mountain activity we had nightly swimming at the condo, sledding in the parking lot and more basketball played in a garage than you can believe. This trip just might have changed my opinion of what a spring break should be and I can honestly say, for the first time, that I enjoyed skiing and can totally see how people get bitten by the ski bug. We hated to go back to work and school yesterday but it was, for Andrew, a short-lived return. The Urgent Care clinic in Frisco called Mark yesterday afternoon to tell him that Andrew’s full-blown strep test came back positive. We toted a kid with strep throat all over creation for a week in the snow. We’re waiting for our Parent of the Year awards to roll in any minute.
He’s home from school today and we’ve got the antibiotics started. He’s actually feeling pretty great and is already talking about the next time he skis. I’m glad he’s forgiven us. In the meantime we're holding out for spring here, which is a little slow in coming, and being thankful for our family and for great friends.