Wednesday, April 4, 2018


John and I have mixed feelings about Easter.  We aren't really into the whole religious part of the holiday-- which is kind of what the whole day is about, but it is fun to carry on some of the non-religious customs associated with the holiday.  This year, we tried a few different egg dying techniques. One that Sherry recommended involved Cool Whip (instead of shaving cream because I feel weird about eating an egg that has sat in a soap like substance) and food dye. 

We love being able to ski on Easter weekend.  Saturday was a perfect afternoon.  The snow "corned up" and the sun was shining.

The Easter Bunny still manages to come to our house.  He drops off very nice gifts, but no candy.  He used to hide the dyed Easter eggs, but after Zephy went on her own hunt before us and ate most of them, we requested that he not do that. The kids were okay with that because we found another hunt to partake in.

Years ago, before I had kids, I was at Mad River when they had an Easter Egg hunt on the slopes.  I pretty much hate what Easter eggs promote.... in terms of competition and greed, but if we were going to have our kids do an Easter egg hunt, this was the kind of hunt I knew we could all embrace.

We got to the start, just in time.  The first half of the event involved following a giant bunny down the trail called Bunny. 

Once the kids got to the Sunny Side double, they split them up according to age and sent them down the slopes to find plastic eggs.

The kids loved, even though the choice of using a basket instead of a bag was questionable.

We spent the rest of the afternoon skiing with friends, looking for corn snow.  The temps were a bit too cold for that, but we had a ball none-the-less.

We capped off the day with another egg hunt at the Mahoney's (with more candy) and lots of great food with fun friends.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Free Ski Comp

John read an article about how Norwegians train their Olympic winners.  The fact is, they don't train kids to be Olympians.  They actually don't let kids compete in ski sports until they are teenagers.   Until then, they just expose kids to all sorts of sports and the number one goal is to have fun and enjoy it.  So, when the kids caught wind of a friendly free ski (extreme ski) competition happening at Smuggs, we were conflicted. Like the ski race, they really hadn't had any instruction on how to compete in a competition such as this, but they were excited to give it a try.   Plus, it was a gorgeous day and conditions were perfect. 

Cally went in the first group.  She skied a great line and had great form with a lot of flow.  Hazen was in the second group.  He skied an aggressive line and took way more risk than the rest of the kids. He never actually fell, but he also didn't land some of his jumps with the smoothness and flow that they were looking for.  But, both kids had a ball. 

Peter Hawkes, the father of a young man who lost his life in a free ski competition out west when he was at his prime, started the Flyin' Ryan organization.  He is all about promoting following Ryan's core principles.  He spoke to all the participants of the contest at the awards ceremony.  He told the kids that they are all winners today because they challenged themselves and followed his son's core principles:

Live every day, all day
Never stop exploring life
Never lose my adventuresome spirit
Be the best friend I can be
Be the best brother, son, uncle I can be
Play like I am 13
Look out for others
Look out for myself
Look out for our surroundings
Be self-sufficient
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Work hard
Live easy
Live simply

The top five finishers from each age group were called up to the podium.  Cally placed 4th!  To see the smile on her face was one of the greatest gifts.  She was not expecting it and was so proud of herself.  She beamed from ear to ear.   She is not the competitive one in our family, but I could tell that she felt the sweet feeling of success.  

Hazey was a bit disappointed by his results (he was 13th out of 18 U10 boys).  He didn't really understand why he didn't get a better score because he felt like he skied well.  There might have been a few tears, but one of the free ski coaches saw what was happening and promptly gave Hazen a bunch of compliments about his skiing and he bounced back pretty quickly.  That said, I think it was a good lesson for all.  Hazey steals the spotlight sometimes, because he goes big and that strokes his ego-- sometimes too much.  I hate to see him disappointed, but I hope he learned a little through the experience.  Before the scores came in, he felt good about his race.  Ultimately, that is what really matters-- Feeling good and having fun.  He certainly has drive.  He just needs to reign it in a little and make sure he uses it to his advantage.  Then he'll be able to do anything. 

Meanwhile, Mansfield Nordic ended with an awards ceremony.  Cally got the "Brazen Downhiller" award and Hazen got the "Young and Determined" award.  I think that sums both of them up pretty well.

Enjoying dad being back in town!

Another highlight of the week was getting out to ski a new part of the backcountry with John.  He arrived back from Idaho at midnight on Sunday and we've been passing like ships in the night since his return.  But, heading into the woods with a ton of snow ans fresh tracks to be had made for a happy day.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

When the Husband is away....... The snow falls

It's like clockwork...... When John takes off for his spring break trip to Idaho with UVM students, the snow starts falling in Vermont.  We got 16 inches in the mountains in the three days before he left.  Then we got 11 inches of snow over the weekend and then 52 inches over the next four days!  Aside from the joy of getting all this snow to ski upon, there is a lot of stress associated with the snow blowing, moving of the car around, and everything else that comes along with being a single mom who loves to ski.  

Fortunately, this kid is a super snow helper.  He even helps me find lost beer when it gets buried by a "roof-alanch".

 And these two are pretty darn good at keeping themselves entertained while I am out snowblowing, moving the car, and snow blowing some more (before finally calling in the plow for mercy).

These two are awesome ski buddies.  They love snow days and they really do like to get after it.  But with that much snow, it's hard for little people.  Falling in such deep stuff is tough to get out of for an adult, let alone a 4 foot tall pip squeek.

But with so much soft snow, it makes for some really fun launches. It is so fun to watch these guys go for it!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Ski Racers

I swore I wouldn't do it...... become a ski mom who wears yak tracks on her snow boots instead of skis on a day of sunshine in order to watch her kids each take two 50 second runs.  But, I did it.  The kids heard about the Cochran's Town Meeting Day Fun race and they really wanted to give gates a try.

They'd never actually had any instruction on skiing gates until the Saturday before the race, so I wasn't so sure how it would go or if they'd even like it........ The good news is that they did like it.  They both looked way better than I thought they would.  The bad news is that I dropped Hazey's rusty skis off at the local ski shop and asked for a basic tune (while also mentioning that my kid was in a race) and they gave Hazey's ski the basic race tune for ..... $94!?!?!?!?

It was pretty cool to see how these kids who ski gates learn to use their skis.  Hazey ended up getting 10th out of 26 kids on his second race, so he got a medal and he was very proud.  It's a slippery slope because now they want to do the U10 program at the ski club next year.  Does this mean I'll be wearing yak tracks more often next year?

Friday, March 2, 2018


We went back to Mont Tremblant...... again.  We are beginning to become creatures of habit, doing the same vacations year after year.  Way back in October, we booked the vacation, knowing that we could cancel and get our money back until two weeks before leaving. As the trip approached, we thought about going somewhere else-- Ottawa, Quebec City, Jay Peak, etc. but when it came right down to it, we all concurred that we wanted to go on a ski vacation and knew we'd love it here. We have had so much fun here in the past,  it's only three hours away by car, and the Canadian dollar is rather weak.

We drove up on Tuesday and stayed through Friday.  As we drove up north, we were shocked to see snow on the ground (as it had all melted in Vermont).  We promptly checked into our hotel, soaked in the hot tub and hit the tubing hill.

Our room at the Homewood Suites was spacious and comfortable (a view from the loft)

We had a great day skiing on Wednesday.  The kids loved riding the gondola and riding all the lifts as a "4 pack of Abbott's". 

 By noon, the snow started to fall:

We woke up on Thursday morning and took full advantage of the resorts "First Tracks" tickets for hotel guests.  We were on the lift at 7:45 and getting fresh tracks on the back side of the mountain for 4 runs in a row.  It was that moment when, for the first time in our families history, we were skiing as a family down slopes that I would have been skiing on my own at a pace that did not involve waiting for anyone.  It was the sweet spot that John and I have been waiting for-- for 7 years!

But it wasn't all about the skiing..... it was about spending time as a nuclear family, laughing a lot, eating wonderful food, and making t-shirts and hats at a really cool (and overpriced) design studio.

On the way home, we stopped at a Space museum in Laval, a suburb of Montreal.  It was a nice break and fun to explore space.

Mont Tremblant is one of my favorite places to vacation.  I love that we don't need to get into a car once we are there.  I love that we feel like we are really far away and surrounded by a different culture.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Ten Years!

Happiness is being married to your best friend! I know it's cliche to say it, but where did the past ten years go?  I feel like the first three decades of my life were an eternity, and the last ten years have literally flown by.  It's been a wild ride, but there is no one with whom I'd rather be copiloting.

To celebrate our decade of being legally bound to each other, we booked a night at the scene of the crime.  

We dropped the kids with their godparents, Tom and Cara, and set off for the slopes of Sugarbush, even though it was raining at the base.   I'd be lying if I didn't mention that we considered going to a matinee of Black Panther instead of skiing. Fortunately, we found out it wasn't raining up high and the slopes were relatively carveable.So, we ripped the groomers and skied more runs in 4 hours than you can ski in a day at Smuggs.  We mixed it up with a great lunch and a beer.  My sweet heart even carried my skis in the rain.

We arrived at the Inn with time to cozy up in our room and read the Sunday Times.  It was so wonderful to be in such a special place without a stress in the world.

And we had a delicious meal at Peasant, a wonderful little restaurant in Waitsfield village.

The next day was full of sunshine and corn conditions on the mountain.  First, we had a lovely breakfast at the Inn before heading out on the slopes for another day of skiing together.

When we picked up the kids, they had made the most amazing pie I've ever eaten with Tommy.  It was raspberry peach with an almond coconut crumble.  So with happy kids and a full belly, we continued the sentiment of bliss and love. 

I certainly had to wait to find my perfect match, but I'm so, so glad that I did.  John is the person who I'd pick to do just about anything (except maybe go to Disney World or some crowded, non mountainous place).  He knows how to make adventures fun and he challenges me to be the best person I can be everyday. Most importantly, he's made this adventure so much more fulfilling.  It's never easy to balance a relationship with kids and all the stresses of work, but I feel like we've done a pretty darn good job so far.  Here's to many more decades of celebration together.