February and President's Day break week at school means skiing with John's sister Terri's family. This year's trip was our ninth annual. Except for a couple of years after the twins were born, each year the destination has been Mt. Bachelor in central Oregon.
As usual, we viewed skiing education as more important than conventional education and we had the girls ditch school on the friday before the break. I advised their teachers of our irresponsible plan about a week ahead of time.
"Are you just gonna call them in sick on the friday?" another parent/friend at school asked me.
"No, I already told the teachers the girls wouldn't be there."
"What story did you tell them?"
"I told them they would be ditching school to go skiing."
(surprised expression) "What did they say?"
"They said to make sure they make a snowman and send them a postcard."
I like my kids' teachers.
Tim (sophomore in college, left) brought a friend along with him this year. Grady was the only one in our group who snowboards, but we hung out with him anyway.
The weather was interesting. It wasn't too cold, but it was intermittently very foggy every day and it was lightly snowing or sleeting off and on each day too. The clouds were on the move so we could go from clear conditions to pretty low visibility within a few feet on the slope.
Nephew Andrew and his girlfriend, Jean:
Tim coming down after a jump:
The girls spent saturday and sunday in ski school so I don't have pictures of them skiing those days. John and I spent saturday and sunday alternating between skiing with Tim and Grady, who were the most aggressive and mostly stuck to the more adventurous areas on the backside of the mountain, and skiing with Terri and Andrew and Jean on the intermediate areas on the front side.
The girls' ski teachers had good things to report for all of them each afternoon and the girls said they had a great time. Erin was skiing on lots of blues (intermediates), Kate and Allison had a great time and were riding the chair lifts and skiing all around the mountain also. After ski school the girls had fun climbing and sliding on the big snow hills at the bottom of the mountain.
Back at the rental house our tired legs enjoyed the hot tub out on the back deck and lounging around and watching the olympics in the evenings.
And for some reason the girls were often on laps and horizontal,
Although sometimes people were horizontal on the slopes as well. On the right is Tim's 3/4 "yard sale" that I was fortunate to have captured:
On sunday night John and I concluded that after two full days of skiing the twins could probably use a day off. Erin advised us that she wanted to ski again, and I said we'd discuss it again in the morning. In the morning she was raring to go, so she and I and Terri, Andrew, and Jean headed out for more skiing while John and Randy and the twins stayed at the house for a "snow play day". Tim and Grady had to get back to college after skiing on sunday night.
I was anxious to see how Erin's skiing was coming along so we headed for some intermediate slopes and she did fantastically well. Last season, she skied maybe 2 or 3 intermediate runs in a row but then became tired and we needed to go back to the beginner areas. On monday we skied only intermediate runs, all day long.
The weather was clearer so the resort opened the chair lift to the mountain summit, which had been closed because of the wind all weekend. In fact, that lift was closed during our entire trip last year too, so when Andrew noticed it was open we decided to take the opportunity to go to the top.
There are mostly expert runs coming down from the summit, but we knew there are some intermediate ones also and we chose one of those. Erin started out skiing fine but it was really windy up there and it blew the snow on the surface around so that the whole place looked like the ground was covered in fog from dry ice. She didn't like the high winds and became a little too nervous and wasn't enjoying herself anymore.
But she got down the slope just fine and then we went in for a break and lunch. Afterwards, she asked to ski on the back side of the mountain, which has longer slopes and is overall more challenging that the front side. I warned about this, but she was intent on going. About half way down the first slope we tried we encountered a field of moguls--huge bumps in the snow and no way around them. Aunt Terri wasn't too thrilled to see them either. I gave Erin some tips about getting through them and I went and she followed and afterwards she asked me, "WHY are there moguls here?"
"That's just what happens with the snow where they don't groom the slope. I'm sorry, I didn't know they were here."
"I LOVE them!" she exclaimed.
"WHAT?" I said.
"Can we find more?"
"Um....sure!" I couldn't believe what I was hearing because I LOVE moguls too. We found more:
On tuesday, Erin showed no sign of fatigue and was ready for another day of skiing. The twins were anxious to ski with us too and we all headed up the mountain for our last ski day.
The twins started out following John down and I hung back so that I could take pictures, but if John paused or stopped they soon ditched him and latched onto Aunt Terri, much to her surprise at first.
"I was just skiing along and all of the sudden I realized Allison was right behind me, following me," Terri said. And Allison liked to follow closely, very closely, sometimes bumping Terri's skis. Allison also was very competitive with Kate and tried to keep ahead of her at all times and in the process of jockeying for position she often bumped Kate too and caused her to fall. It was like skiing/rollerhockey at times, and Kate wasn't impressed.
I told Allison that I wanted to take a video of her so she and I hung back while Kate and Terri went ahead, but as you can see, Allison was intent on catching Kate and being ahead of her despite Kate's head start.
Where last year Kate was the speed demon and Allison was more cautious, this year the roles were reversed, at least during this first trip. Allison also frequently hopped along on her skis as she went down the slopes, saying she was doing ski jumps, which was pretty funny. Later on we let Erin be the leader and the twins followed her:
After lunch Erin wanted to show John how she could ski on moguls so they went to the back of the mountain to find some while Terri and I took the twins on some easier intermediate runs in the front side. Much like Erin last year, they could handle the slopes fine but two or three of these harder runs were enough for Kate. I think Allison could have skied them the rest of the day.
When Erin and John rejoined us the girls asked to ski down "Dilly Dally Alley": an unmarked detour slope through some trees which they all discovered in ski school. It's narrow with snow which banks up each side, kind of forming a sort of natural half pipe.
It's a fun little area where the kids can practice tight turns on uneven snow. We all enjoyed it.
Their skiing is coming along really well, I mean, ALL of them would have done better than this olympic skier.
The twins skied on real slopes for the first time only last year, and they've progressed enough to handle some blue runs already. Erin even managed to ski on some of the shorter black (advanced) runs on our last afternoon, something she insisted upon, just so she could say she did them, and she did them pretty well.
"WHY do we have to go home?" Erin asked on wednesday morning. "We don't have to go back to school until monday, let's stay and ski every day until sunday!"
"That's YOUR daughter," John advised me.
Our next ski trip next month can't get here fast enough.