All Hands on Deck

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Skiing with 5 kids 10 years old and under is just like comedian Jim Gaffigan’s analogy, “Imagine you’re drowning, then someone hands you a baby.” I am not the most patient person, so I try to use it as a self-improvement and learning experience, but it sure is hard to enjoy something you love when half of your offspring haven’t learned to appreciate it yet!

The first time we went skiing in Colorado (last year), it was a last minute, surprise trip. The older two boys had been skiing on a small hill before, but the younger three had never done it. In fact, I am a snowboarder, and had only gone skiing once myself. However, teaching two three year olds and a five year old required I abandon my allegiance and put on the skis. Lucky for us, the M family had enough equipment for all of us, so no rentals were required. In addition, kids under 6 ski for free, and adult lift tickets at Granby Ranch are $35 with a 4 pack, or only $20 if you know you will be staying on the bunny hill for the day.

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Both Chuck and I harnessed our twin daughters to us and practiced on the magic carpet, first-timer Gavin included.

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From the beginning, the girls did not adjust easily to the stiff boots and awkward skis.

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However, Gav was a natural, quickly progressing to the “bunny hill,” which was bigger than most Midwest ski hills.

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His tenacious, cheerful, never give up demeanor netted him a full day on the slopes, pretty much self-taught with our hands occupied elsewhere.   Gav said, “Mom and Dad gave me a few tips, and I just watched people and even learned how to do tricks. I tried my best. Skiing is so fun!” Eek – parents of the year right there.

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Lucky for us, the M family has the whole process down to a science, with boots worn to the mountain, and skis dropped off at the lift by sled.

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To top it off, their big kids are pretty self-sufficient, with all trails leading down to the same lift and radios in their pocket to stay in touch. Even though the big boys are also snowboarders at heart, E and B are able to take off on skis up the mountain and hang with the M family kids.

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granby1  granby5This year was a bit easier than last year for us, as we managed to take the girls and Gav all the way to the top and ski green all the way down… and what a workout with the girls in tow!

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We love all the little caves, tunnels, jumps, and side paths at Granby Ranch.

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Formerly Sol Vista, this is a great place for families, and is a much more affordable Rockies ski destination for us than its neighbors Winter Park, Breckenridge, Vail, etc. I am pretty sure a full weekend in the Colorado mountains (including flights) with the resourceful M family is a cheaper option for us than a trip up to Wisconsin. A full run with the girls took a long time since we were slowing them down to a speed they could manage, but when one of them folded, the other was quick to follow, full twin sympathy in effect. Because of that, we even managed a couple “girl-free” runs with the boys while Julie kept the girls occupied inside by the fire.

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This is a great spot to take a lunch break and still be able to see your other skiers out the window.

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We were so thankful for those moments to just breathe and replenish our patience.

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On one run, we noted and appreciated what a rare opportunity it was that both Chuck and I could give Gav our full attention.

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While part of me longs for the day I can pull out my board and ride easily, knowing all my kids are right there with me having a blast, and without having to worry about someone losing interest half way down the mountain, I’m happy that they are learning the ropes now. I truly believe the experiences our kids have now are forming the character traits we hope they will use as the building blocks for their future. Fortunately and unfortunately, those days are nearer than I know. Once again, I find myself again wishing I could freeze time. For now, I will take solace in the fact that these are the best moments of our lives, and I will always look back on them with complete joy!

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