I love places that make you realize how tiny you and your problems are. Perhaps that is why when we won our two night cabin stay, we couldn’t wait to escape winter in Illinois for 10 nights in the Rockies. Just before Christmas, we received a card from SMR, and waited excitedly for the day we could return. “We are coming!”
While staying with our dear friends, we were once again humbled by the mountains. With the inflated holiday ski rates, our plan was to night ski when prices are $15, aside from the littler kids, who are free all the time. Once our altitude sickness ended and everyone was acclimated, we raced to Granby Ranch suited up and ready to go, only to find the night ski lift (which is also the main lift) closed down indefinitely. You see, that was the day the mom and two daughters (age 9 and 12) fell from a malfunctioning lift. Although one daughter was Flight for Life’d off that mountain, both survived. The Mom did not. We spent the entire trip looking for answers. Regardless of what questions were answered, this poor family’s lives were forever changed by this horrible tragedy.
We wondered whether we should make a go at it after Laney’s allergic reaction subsided, and ultimately decided that we would when they discounted lift tickets for the remaining lifts still open. Statistics said driving in a car or riding an elevator was far more dangerous than riding a ski lift. Logic beat out fear, although this experience left us forever changed.
As we left the M family’a home, headed for our free cabin stay, we spent New Year’s Day on those scar-ridden slopes.
It was an amazingly typical, sunny-skied day in Colorado.
Ethan taught Faith how to snowboard.
Cautiously, we opted to keep Laney inside the lodge
and take turns going out with Ellie and the other kids. We were pleasantly surprised how much easier skiing became for the kids this year, especially the girls. While we love to ski and snowboard, the last couple years of skiing with 5 young children (specifically the girls) has definitely challenged our patience. This year was the payout. Ellie absolutely loved it.
Gav loved teaching his sister how to slow down.
Laney begged to try it, and her miraculously cured swollen feet were just fine.
Ellie took a break inside while I hit the slopes with Laney.
Excited about staying in our free cabin in the mountains, we left Granby Ranch on a “Colorado Rocky Mountain High.”
I took all 8 kids to the grocery store, which was quite the experience! The looks and comments we got were priceless. When I think my hands are full, there is always fuller.
Rick and Chuck went to pick up Julie while we stocked up on groceries and unloaded our ridiculously full carload! I love using all 9 seats in the Suburban when we can!
We spent the evening playing games and eating a delicious spaghetti dinner. If you haven’t played the card game Gubs, now may be the time to start. The kids are truly addicted!
We were sad that the M family would be headed back down to Denver the next evening, but planned our last day with them excitedly. After such a fun day on the slopes, we all wanted a repeater. Of course, things never go quite as planned, and I was challenged once again as we soaked up SMR Chaplain Steve’s weekly dogsled presentation before hitting the slopes. In that moment, Laney’s ear infection came back full fledged.
As we raced off to Granby Ranch, I called doctors and the insurance company, searching for a plan. Finally, the paging service answered and thankfully, the doctor called in another prescription. I sat inside with her, waiting to see how bad it would get, while Julie calmed my fears. We are so thankful for this family and the friendship we have with them. While we don’t get to spend much time with them, the days that we do are cherished.
We spent much of the day soaking up the discounted lift tickets shuttling and riding the condo lift to take advantage of a long, easy run.
After another full day, we returned to the cabin with all 8 kids once again while Rick and Julie closed up the house. More Gubs ensued. We frantically tried to finish our cabin puzzle, a luxury of time only afforded while at Snow Mountain.
We were so sad to see them go, but glad we snapped a quick pic before our good friends left for Denver.
The next morning, we soaked up the perfect spaces in the cabin for our family. A bedroom for the boys, a bedroom for the girls, and one for us.
Ethan practiced his scout skills and cooked us all a delicious breakfast.
We would certainly miss our Bright Star cabin retreat!
Not sure what happened, but somehow we ended up packing our car to the brim with all our stuff plus groceries, so the boys reverted to summer style, running from the cabins over to our new home at Indian Peaks Lodge. By now, we were altitude adjusted and loving our mountain retreat.