Thursday, January 13, 2011

Blizzard in Banner Elk

I wanted to go skiing before we left North Carolina. It was on my bucket list. The army chaplains corp just happened to want to take a group of soldiers and families to the mountains to ski and for a marriage conference. They lured us in with the promise of free room, free food and free childcare along with complimentary lift tickets. Yeah, um, it took me about 2 seconds to decide that we were going and another day and a half to force Jason to sign us up. We were all in. Our ski trip was coming true and we were packing and ready. I gathered up all the neighborhood girls ski wear for us and declined the silly goggles(no one wears those anyway, right? hmmm...) We blindly took off at our earliest convenience and followed the GPS to our destination. As we approached high country, we noticed quite a bit of white stuff falling from the sky and only began to worry as it impaired our vision and was sticking to the roadways that we were driving UP hill on. Thanks to my awesome new EVO and google, we discover that Banner Elk is expecting their first blizzard of the year this weekend! Lucky us. We arrive at our hotel, an hour after planned, to find it buzzing with folks that couldn't make it "up the hill" to the top of the ski slope to their hotels. We still had our reserved room and were happy to be in it. Lincoln didn't buy into the fun of sleeping in a hotel crib and decided to make my night misery by sleeping with me. God love my kids but I CAN NOT sleep with them. We woke up to the most snow we have ever had the pleasure of stepping in. After breakfast and a little financial counseling (it was Dave Ramsey, love it!) we took the boys out in the snow at the hotel. Mind you it had not stopped snowing all night and didn't plan on stopping throughout the day either. The reactions were just as we suspected. It was torture for Lincoln and paradise for Jackson. It was also about 10 degrees out there.

We made a parental decision that it was too cold to take Jackson to the slopes so we joyfully paid a sitter so that we, mostly I, could fulfill my bucket list ski adventure. It's all Jason's fault that I enjoy it so much. Exactly 6 years ago, he took me on a surprise skiing trip for our anniversary. I was so excited and so extremely terrible at skiing. I would barrel down the slopes falling or going so fast I scared those around me. It wasn't until our second trip that I really GOT it but the love of it was instilled. He promised me last anniversary from Afghanistan that he would take me skiing again and he did.
We left our children in paid childcare and headed up the mountain in a rickety bus that we questioned it's ability more than once. We arrived safely and suited up for skiing. We gather our footing and Jason immediately drags me to the quad lift all the way to the top of the mountain. The black diamond slope. This is our FIRST run and my 3rd time skiing and now I'm a mother of 2. I was a little panicked but it all came back to me. Although I was a cautious skier, I was good enough to stay on both skis the whole time. The only notable part was the last run. Our fingers were frozen, we were going up the quad lift again and I was shivering all over. The wind was blowing 30mph and it was snowing harder than before. Jason says halfway up "When it stops being fun, we should quit." I never want to quit skiing so I just shake my chattering head. We get a quarter way down the mountain and we can't even see in front of us because of the wind and the snow in our eyes(hence the need for the silly goggles, I was offered, duh!), our face hurts from the wind and we meet up and I say to him, "It's not fun anymore, it hurts, I quit." And we both took off down the hill to find solace in the heat. We later saw where it was -5 degrees on the top of the slopes that day. Word to the wise, that is COLD!


So what do kids do when you are basically snowed into a mountain lodge hotel? They play in the portacrib of course. They climbed in and out and pretended to be babies, dogs and all sorts of other creatures trapped in a cage. I guess if you think about it, they were little animals trapped in a hotel room, which isn't much better or quieter.

When the roads were slightly more cleared, we set out to make up for not torturing Jackson by taking him skiing. He thought he wanted to go. He did not really want to go. But a day tubing with daddy made up for it in full. It was sunny but a mere 18 degrees when they began and Lincoln and I opted for the heat inside the car while they frolicked in the frigid air.

It was a great weekend that we ended with a fun, frightful little scenic drive over grandfather mountain in the 16 inches of freshly fallen snow. That's were we encountered these great icicles and I obtained 10 new gray hairs from worry. Little did we know that was just the beginning of our winter weather battle to come the following week. We should really watch the weather more.

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