First of all, I want to thank all of you who prayed for our safety! God answered those prayers and kept us all safe. This was the first time our boys Stephen and Chase have skied or snowboarded. Actually the first time they've played out in the snow as we dont have that opportunity living in the south.
On the way...
As soon as we left home and got a few miles down the highway, we noticed that the speed odometer quit working on us. We had no way to determine how fast we were going. My sweet husband drove the whole time so that if anyone got a ticket it would be him. (Nice for Stephen and I as we didnt have to take our turn to drive due to technical difficulty.) Then we tried to determine how fast we're going by clocking how long it took to go a mile. None of us could figure out the math. If you know how to calculate, please let me know...it took us 52 seconds to go a mile. How fast were we going? That felt like a good speed.
Then I noticed how much the roadside scenery has changed from the traditional farm house with windmills and water tanks for livestock to large (really large) windmill farms. I've included the photos in the slide show above (which I tried to make larger, but couldnt figure out how).
Skiing Day One...
We check Chase and Quince (both 10 years old) into ski school. We get fitted in our boots and skis at the rental shop. Point Stephen to where he needs to go for snowboard class. My friend, Melissa and her daughter take a class also. I refused as I have skied before (once in each decade). I figured I'd just go up the short lift and warm up. This day was the pre-season opening and only one lift was open, so David (Eldon's friend), Eldon and I get on this quad lift. It keeps going and going. I quickly learn that on the first time up, I'm at the top of the mountain which is 10,677 feet according to all the signs. There's only one way down--ski! So off I start--very slowly. Slow is the pace I kept all throughout this adventure. And by the way, this day the wind is blowing and the snow is falling. Yeah! more snow!!
After lunch, Stephen is done with his snowboard class. He decided to go up with us. When we reached the top of the mountain, we decided to go down the backside of the mountain. When one decides to go down the back side of the mountain, there is only one way back to the front side--take the lift back to the top and ski down the front. It's at least a two for one trip on the the back side. Well Stephen just learning was still having difficulty on this day and I skied faster than him even as slow as I was. It was time for the boys to be done with ski school so we leave Stephen with some friends he made in snowboard school and pick up the pace to get to the boys. Slowing down my pace, Eldon decides to leave me alone and goes for the boys. He picks up the boys and they swish several times down the mountain before the lifts close.
Skiing Day Two...
We wake up and check the internet (when it worked) for the temperature...19 degrees below zero!!! We dressed warm in plenty of layers. We all head out for a fun day of skiing. We go to the top and down the easiest trail. The boys are getting bored so Eldon breaks off with them on some intermediate trails. Stephen has mastered the snowboard and can also zip around with the others. After lunch some of us decided we'd try to hone some skiing skills on the bunny trail. This chair lift is a two man lift. Eldon tells Chase (our 10 year old) to ride up with me. Chase has done this plenty of times so I didnt think I had to help him on the lift. Little did I know that someone usually stood behind him and picked him up and sat him in the chair as the chair was too high for him. I'm concentrating on getting myself on the chair. When I turn to my right, I see Chase dangling from the chair as it is taking off from the platform. The only lift attendant is there trying to raise him up, but the chair is raising up too high. I'm pulling him, but nothing is happening. Then I lose it--I start screaming for someone to stop the lift as it is going higher and higer in the air. I'm screaming so loud, I'm surprised it didnt start an avalanche. Chase is holding onto the chair with his hand on the back rail with his legs hanging over the front of the chair. I look ahead and wonder what will happen next as the "Cliffhanger" scene flashes through my mind. Then -- finally the lift stops. The attendant comes over and grabs Chase's legs (now I realize we're only about 4 or 5 feet off the ground at this point) and takes Chase down to his Dad who was to be next on the lift. After disembarking off this lift (which I did not get back on ever again!) I learned, my husband, Eldon is the hero who pressed the big red stop button on the lift!!! Thanks dear! Thank You Lord!! As a mom, I was a bit emotional for a little while. In the meantime, Chase shook it right off and was back up the mountain speeding down as quickly as possible. All ended well!! Needless to say after that incident, chair lift attendants ensured that Chase was in the chair before it left the platform the rest of the time we were there.
Skiing Day Three...
After the excitement the day before, I decided to take the morning off on this day. The temperature that morning was only 16 below zero. A bit warmer. But it was interesting for this southern girl who doesnt play in the snow but once a decade, once dressed in layers and outside moving around, the cold was not very noticeable. Until the hands and feet got cold. Or in the evenings when I could feel my wind chapped chin. The guys came in for lunch at 11:38 MST. I was informed that they got on the lift at 11 am, went to the top, went down some trails on the back side of the mountain, took the lift back to the top, and down the front side of the mountain and walked to the hotel room (in the ski boots which is very hard to do) all in 38 minutes!! They were definitely exceeding the speed limits!!!
That afternoon I went out to go down the easy trail. I had only intended to go down once and be done with the skiing experience. I just could not get past the fear of going too fast. Chase told me that I had nothing to be afraid of that it didnt hurt to fall. I know it didnt hurt to fall as I had already fallen several times. What is hard is getting up again. Well Elise, my friend's daughter talked me into going with her on the back side of the mountain. Actually the trails were much nicer on that side; there were more easy (green) trails on that side. Also there was a good 4 to 6 inches of powder on that side also. So I go up and we stay on the back side for several trips down until the lift closed on that side. On the front side, Eldon decides to take the boys down some intermediate (blue) trails while Elise and I go down the easiest. Elise went faster than I did. Well I fell and I couldnt get up. Finally I get up, but messed up the binding and couldnt get my boot back in. I stop for a while to wait for help. I send Elise on to the bottom. Then an injured young man from Houston waits next to me for help to arrive. It was his first time to snowboard. Finally help arrived for this young man and I learn my problem was just operator ignorance. Embarrassed I was, but decided it was meant for me to encourage the injured young man until help arrived. I think I was the last one off the mountain that day as the snowmobiles were going up to clear the mountain and the sun set. It was a beautiful sun set.
Eldon received a beautiful gift from the Lord on his last trip up the lift with the boys. Being the outdoors, wildlife, hunting type; he had a desire to see some wildlife. He even commented out loud to the boys that it would be a perfect day if he got to see some wild animals. The Lord blessed him with letting him see a 5X5 mule deer and a fox eating a rabbit from the chair lift.
As I thought about those days on the mountain, I had to confess God's word frequently. Fear tried to grip me and it had a good hold on me. I tried to rationalize that perhaps I'm not the outdoor adventurous type I'd like to be. But then when Elise encouraged me to continue on, I did and I overcame some of those apprehensions, but not completely. I wanted so much to be bold and brave, but yet I was so timid. I fought gravity a lot, but gravity is much stronger. Honestly, I haven't learned how to work with it on the slopes. Yet, I learned that I have more boldness and strength in me than I thought. I wanted to give up and quit several times, but it just wasnt an option. The Lord is my strength! He encouraged me through others and pushed me farther than I wanted to go.
This trip was a wonderful Christmas present from my Lord! I had such a blessed time with my family and friends! I learned more about them and myself.
BTW--the speed odometer problem is covered under a factory recall...blessings from our Lord!!
Blessings in Christ--