Rocky Mountain High...

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Colorado. Yep, that's where I've been. The kids were on winter break last week, so we took our first-ever family ski trip. You all know that "family vacation" is an oxymoron, right?

Not off to a great start visited urgent care Friday with 8-year-old who had been coughing all week in fear that he had pneumonia again. Lungs were clear, but got a dose of antibiotics just in case. Phew. Arrived in Vail Sunday. Ten-year-old got altitude sickness. Laid up that night, he miraculously recovered the next day. Phew again.

Our condo was a total dive. Being a Ritz Carlton kind of girl, I wasn't a happy camper. Let's take a a quick tour:

Scary dear head and bust -- sure to cause child nightmares -- over fake fireplace.

You know how much I loathe faux flowers. This arrangement was especially offensive.

Sign in bathroom. Seriously? The bathroom was way too small to smoke in anyway. When you opened this door it hit the shower. One night both tubs were stopped up so I had to wash my hair in the kitchen sink.

 More fake greenery.

 One redeeming feature: beautiful view up the mountain on a snowy day. 

Monday morning the entire family headed to the slopes. Boys checked into ski school. I checked into ski lessons and Mr. Mophead checked into snow board lessons. Snowboarding aborted after lunch. I did not make it past the greens and fell off the ski lift all the while watching kids ages 3-10 whiz by me. On the way back down the slopes my poles got mixed up on the gondola. When I returned my ski equipment the guys at the rental shop asked: "whose poles are these?" "Yours of course," I said. "Nope. They're yours now and that'll be $65."

I decided to give it another try Tuesday taking a private lesson with my friend. I got totally hooked up by Jeannie Thoren at her shop that specializes in women's ski equipment. Feeling confident in my $450 ski boots and Jeannie's black rhinestone-studded goggles (I couldn't find mine in all the commotion.), I headed out to meet Denise 30 minutes late. The instructor told me that my skis were too short and sent me back to the shop. Being one of the 100 most influential skiers of the century (no lie), Jeannie wasn't pleased with my instructor. They didn't have the right size, but the ski dudes next door gladly handed some over. Love the sign over their tip jar:

One hour later we finally headed up the gondola. Denise was a natural, but it was back to square one for moi. It snowed the day before with poor visibility. Tuesday the sky was crystal clear and I now know why John Denver sang so passionately about the Rockies. Stunning! Of course I left my camera at Jeannie's shop.

Half way through the lesson -- and looking for an excuse for my inept ability -- I decided my boots were too big. Back down to the base I went. Jeannie scolded me saying that I needed at least 30 minutes to get my boots properly fitted that morning. As the saying goes: haste makes waste. After some adjustments, I headed back up the mountain. Things improved after lunch although I did fall off the ski lift again.

An aside. While hanging out in shelter on top of the mountain I saw several photos of Gerald Ford. The Fords owned a condo at the Lodge at Vail, which drew international attention when he became President. They later retired to their Beaver Creek home.

Speaking of international, Vail was teeming with foreign visitors primarily from Spanish-speaking countries. Three of the people in my ski group were from Mexico and South America. Many Brazilians made a mass exodus to skip Carnival. Another kid in my group was from New Orleans. His parents planned the ski trip to escape Mardi Gras.

Day three, my 8-year-old didn't want to go back to ski school and my calves were killing me. Jeannie was disappointed when I called to say that she could rent out the boots she had reserved for me. Instead we hung out and went tubing later that afternoon, met friends for dinner and settled in for the night. Headed back to Atlanta Thursday.

Comedy of errors aside, the trip was fab. Beautiful surroundings, fresh mountain air, good food, drink and company. Plus we have one skiing enthusiast in the family. Silver lining: Against all odds, I found the lost poles in another ski shop while shopping for gloves and got my money back. Score!

No doubt some of you have had similar "family vacation" experiences. Anyone care to share?


  1. Maureen, so glad ya'll came with us! We just needed one more day and we would have been true ski bunnies!

  2. Meaux,
    Just read your hilarious blog to mi familia in Florida....great laughs for us all...Thanks!

  3. Maureen, Maureen, you are too, too funny! You left out Sunday's backpack incident but your trip musings are no less funny without it. I'll share with your readers that Mr. Mophead, if not a ski boarder (his conclusion, not mine), is a natural at snowmobiling. He was most kind when I took a wrong turn and waited paitently for me to self-correct and press forward. Though at some point he ended up in front of me....maybe that's when he saw his chance to pass me as I tend to be the group's "putter." Trust me, most men on snowmobiles don't like to putt. I also thought I was the only person I knew who has fallen off a ski lift. How forthcoming of you to so admit. A great trip all in all!! So glad I was a part of the Mophead's first family ski vacation!

    1. I also forgot to mention that my car battery was dead -- as was yours -- when we went to retrieve it at the airport.


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