We took the kids on their first Ski Trip on Saturday, traveling with a group from Mebane Presbyterian Church (MPC) up to Winterplace Ski Resort in Ghent, WV. I've been skiing many times before, and Jennifer has gone on a ski trip in the French Alps (albeit not to ski, but rather to speak French), but this was a first for the kids. We were all excited, I think.
We met at the church at 6 am, and all piled into various combinations of cars and vans for the three and a half hour drive to Ghent (with one pitstop on the way.) The forecast was for snow in Mebane, but we ducked out early enough to miss it. The drive was easy and very picturesque, especially the parts on I-77 in NC/VA and WV.
We arrived at Winterplace around 10, and spent the next 90 minutes or so filling out forms, standing in lines, and collecting our rented gear. Once we got all suited up, the kids and I headed out to the slopes, while Jennifer took the shuttle bus over to the tubing area. The kids and I were all over the place - up, down, falling, sliding uncontrollably, etc.
Needless to say, it was chaotic and tiring. We were dressed appropriately, however, so we had that going for us at least.
Making our way over to Ski School, we got into a class with about seven people and one instructor. We walked to the very gentle beginners slope, and practiced our very basic moves; skating, j-turns, standing up, etc.
This slope had a carpet lift, which was far less problematic than the old rope-tows from days of yore when I was falling on skis all day.
We completed our lesson, and made our way to the lodge for some lunch. It was crowded, of course, and made moreso by people who looked like they came to the slopes to play Yahtzee. What? Get up! Some of us would like to eat our lunch sitting down (in a chair) for the first time today. Anyway, we didn't have much time for lunch, for we had to get to the tubing hill for our 3-5pm tubing tickets.
The tubing hill was impressive. Probably ten lanes, each a few hundred meters long, and a double carpet lift to get you and your tube to the top. The line was long, but it moved well, so we were able to do about six runs each in two hours.
Also as a side benefit, we saw several people get hurt. The benefit was not that people got injured, but that a ride that has an injury factor at all means it's probably a lot of fun (for those who do not get hurt.) Like old-school playgrounds, before all the fun was surgically removed by lawyers and risk-averse school administrators. This ride was definitely a lot of fun.
The bulk of the ride was downhill, with various small bumps that you could possibly catch some air on, with the last part of the slope uphill, to bleed-off momentum. If you were very low mass, like someone say, Zoe's size, there was occasionally not enough momentum to crest the final hill, and the rider would become a walker to get to the end.
That only happened to Zoe once, as she is very aerodynamic.
We took the shuttle back to the main lodge, and the kids and I boarded up and headed out.
We went back to the basic slope to practice some more, until we were all out of energy. It was kind of a shame, as we were really starting to get the hang of it by the time our endurance faded.
The rest of the church group was staying until 10 pm, but we decided to bail, mainly for the kids sake. We took I-77 south to Oakland, WV where civilization seemed to reappear. We chose a Bob Evans for dinner, since none of us had ever been to one. After eating a hearty dinner, we went to the Super 8, and convinced the nice night auditor that she should allow us to check-in, even though the rest of our group, and our group leader, wouldn't be arriving for two hours. We brought Zoe in with us, and instructed her to look pathetic, so that it would sway the lady into breaking policy for us. It worked. We got our little room, got cleaned up, and easily fell asleep.
Sunday morning we met the rest of the group at the little breakfast area prepared for us,
ate some motel breakfast food, and had a brief devotional service, led by Jim Bailey, our group leader.
I convinced the group to pose for a picture.
This wasn't easy because it was about 12F outside, and despite being on a SKI TRIP, the people seemed to be pretty cold-intolerant.
We got in the car, broke from the group, and made the three-hour drive back home, where it had snowed about four inches in our absence. Zoe got this great picture of it.
So we were a little sore, a little tired, and resolved to try it again next year. The kids asked if we could do skiing next time. I think that can be arranged.
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