Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Colorado--We Love You 2011

After the fateful ski trip of 2007 I never thought we'd return to Copper Mountain. (You can read about it here if you missed that post or would like a refresher.) But this year with 2 boys raring to tear down a mountain and a third just thrilled to go somewhere in the truck, we were bound to head West. What a blessing to have that same family that invited us along last time have the courage to continue to ask us back year after year! We finally called their bluff I guess and said yes to their invitation -- hee hee!

So their family of 6, along with our family of 5, their parents and 3 church youth all enjoyed a great week together in a condo and on the slopes of Copper Mountain, Colorado!

The brave hosting family--The Sanders (they also have a one year old not pictured.)

(Angie is a GREAT photographer and you can view some great photos of our trip here on her blog.)

Unlike the previous trip, we had great weather on our trip out ... well, that is until we hit Denver. At that point we were pretty much in a heavy snowstorm that hung over us on the last 70 miles up the mountain. Ug. If you're a parent you're going to appreciate how LONG those last miles are of any trip ... Well, imagine a 14 hour trip that had the last hour and a half stretched into three and a half! Traveling at speeds of about 6 miles an hour inching along as cars spun out in the thick greasy snow/slush that clogged the roads. I should have pulled out my camera a bit more, but Jeff was getting, um, a little edgy and I didn't want to tip over the bucket if you know what I mean. I was never so glad to have 4 wheel drive and a personal driver though! And despite Nolan getting car sick due to the exhaust and the altitude ... poor lil' guy! ... we made it and things were smooth sailing from there. (Minus the altitude sickness I had during the week that made me feel like I was going to perhaps have a heart attack and my puffy swollen eyes ... oh yes and Nolan throwing up one other time from crying too hard during a tantrum. I think I'll blame that on the altitude too as he usually is pretty easy going.)

Here is the trip in photos:

Traveling through Western Nebraska ... it was 60 degrees and sunny!

This isn't the acutal day we arrived ... it was snowing much harder that day!
What a change in just a few short hours from the photo above though!

With all the snow ... there was LOTS of fresh powder to fall on ... I mean, ski through ;-)
Brayden and Gabe gearing up on the first day.

Likewise, Cooper and Easton were ready to hit the slopes.

The busing system that takes you right where you want to go is one of the great things about Copper Mountain. Here Gabe, Brayden and Cooper are relaxing on the drive out on the first day. It was so cool to hop a bus for the short ride to the slopes, shopping at Center Village or swimming at the local athletic club (which we did about every night with a lot of the kids. We got a lot of looks on the days we took all the boys with us solo--I think they thought they were ALL ours! Ya, all 5. Jeff was in his glory as they were all boys.)
Easton and I took advantage of some afternoons by ourselves on the smaller runs. Did I mention that I might be a good skier if I wasn't so worried about going too fast or falling? (sigh) I do enjoy skiing, it's just not pretty to watch. Call me Snowplow Val.
I really enjoyed my time with Easton on the magic carpet though (It's like a moving conveyor belt beginners can hop on and be taken up the hill--WAY easier than the pull rope that I learned on as a kid! I kinda wished he wasn't such a quick learner, because by the end of the week he was on the bigger hills and it won't be long and he'll be out skiing me just like Brayden. He felt so good about his accomplishments!

I have this on video and it really shows how he mastered his snowplow. He raced down the bunny hill, did this saucy turn with a snowplow and ended up RIGHT at the end of the Magic Carpet to go up the hill again. I was so proud of him. And the little girl in pink to the right had her eye on him ... oh my goodness. (Of course her mom was yelling at her, "Look at that little boy, do it like he's doing it!"--She kept wanting to ski down the mountain backwards, which although that wasn't what her mom wanted really took some skill and no fear!

Nolan (under the hat that he wore constantly--although not always over his face) was spoiled to be watched by his Grandma Bonnie ... which is actually Cooper and Gabe's Grandma. He just kinda adopted her. No really ... he even refers to her as Grandma Bonnie!

Gabe and Brayden

Gabe and  Brayden getting ready to hit the slopes again. I wish I had more shots of Brayden skiing ... but it was COLD on the mountain and I had every part of my body covered. It took awhile to get to my camera out of where it was buried under the layers of clothing. Not to mention that Brayden is a fast skier as is Jeff, so I wasn't out front much. We do have some video that I may have to post.
 You may need to click on this one to really see it ... but Jeff (in the neon green coat has Easton on an orange leash on the first day making sure he didn't careen down the mountain out of control. By the end of the week Easton was going solo and with gusto! (He hated the leash ... but it made me feel better about things!)

Easton and Nolan sitting in the back of the bus. (This shot pulls at my heart because I have one of baby Easton sitting on the bus 4 years ago on our fateful trip. I just sigh when I see how big he looks here and how big brotherly he is!)

Nolan being silly in yet another one of his many hats.
Did I mention how patient he was during the trip? 

Easton and Dad up on a chairlift on their afternoon out together.

Jeff thought this would be a good angle to get our photo. I look HUGE don't I?! I think he was focusing on the mountain behind me and trying to get its best side. Brayden looks great though!

Cooper and Gabe were  incredible sharers of their DS systems with our boys who don't yet have any. I know, they are the only kids who don't own the system yet. It was neat to see them get along so well.

Brayden and Gabe taking in the scenery (they did not fall in this photo but were lounging.)

I did do the Dew Run one of my 3 days skiing. 

Brayden Jeff and me.

Brayden at the top of some trecherous run I am sure (Jeff took this photo.)

The Dew Run Crew on the last day (I was off shopping for souvenirs.)
If you're new to hearing about a "Dew Run"--it's a Sander's Tradition (the family we went with. They've gone to this same ski spot for over 30 years by the way!)) They go out on their first run and bury some Mountain Dews in the snow. On the last run of the day they ski down and dig them out and enjoy their slushy-frosty enjoyment.
Our Family Copper Mountain 2011

When we returned home we found this. Ya ... our hot water heater sprung a leak in our absence. LUCKILY Jeff had turned it off when we left to conserve energy and it hadn't leaked all over too badly. AND my brother who is a plumber kindly came out 2 days later (on Valentines Day none the less) to restore our HOT water.

Did I mention what we got each other for Valentine's Day?

Or maybe it was really a really expensive cardboard fort for the boys?
I'm such a spoiler.


The Sanders Family said...

Love this post! I have a cd of all the photos I have from the trip for you, so don't let me forget to give it to you! So glad you all came along! We LOVED having you, and had such a great week!

Shawna&Co. said...

What a fun time! I love the picture of your oldest two sitting by each other. I cracked up at your comment about looking huge :) You don't btw.
My girls don't have DS either so you aren't the only mean mom ;)

The family

The family