Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Speed dating on chairlifts and other Vermont tales

Happy new year!

We have just returned from a week in Vermont. After a seven hour drive home yesterday, the Littleboys returned (grumpily) to school, and The Doctor and I returned (grumpily) to work. And so on to January, a month in which we have both decided to forego wine for three days a week. What is more, since we left early on Boxing Day morning, our house still looks like it did on Christmas Day, with toys old and new strewn everywhere, in between the dried up spines of the Christmas Tree. Happy days.

Vermont was as lovely as ever, but ski-ing this year provided us with some challenges. For one, the snow (not good anywhere in the US at the moment) has been inconsistent, so only 30% of the resort had opened up. When it did snow, the ski-ing was great, but then it would warm up again within 24 hours, leaving the slopes an interesting mixture of slush and ice. There was also a thick cloud sitting on the mountain most days, meaning that the beautiful views of the Green Mountains we enjoyed last year were mostly obscured.

Littleboy 1, at 6, has now also passed the age where all day ski camp is included in the package; we could have paid for him to do it every day, but it's expensive, and after the first two days, when they managed to put him in the wrong class for his ability, we decided he'd stick with the two hour lesson instead. This meant someone had to be back at base camp to pick him up at 12 every day, and because some of the runs were shut, this involved taking a shuttle bus from one part of the resort to the other. (On New Year's Day, sharing this bus with a load of hungover snowboarders was NOT fun).

The net result was that The Doctor and I spent parts of several days skiing by ourselves, and sharing long chairlift rides with strangers. After the first day of doing this, The Doctor compared it to 'speed dating' - you have to pour out your entire life story to someone within a 15 minute window, and then never see them again as you ski off in different directions. Luckily my 'rides' were fairly interesting; a good thing too, since on one journey the chairlift broke down for a good 15 minutes.

Still, we adapted to the new routine, taking Littleboy 1 ski-ing with us in the afternoons as he improved (by the ending of the week he was beating me down the hill, and taking flying leaps over bumps whenever he got the chance.) I still got to have my Amaretto coffees in the Black Bear Tavern, and the warmer temperatures meant at least your hands and feet weren't blocks of ice by the end of the day. Meanwhile, Littleboy 2 progressed steadily at ski camp. After spending just one afternoon with us, when he decided to throw a major, glove-related tantrum midway up the mountain, we decided it was best to keep him there. (We asked him if he would have behaved that way at camp. "No," he answered, wide-eyed. Yup. He is as good as gold with teachers and other people, saving the meltdowns for us).

Anyway after a nice but fairly low-key Christmas Day (Highlights: the boys loved their new toys and were really thrilled by Christmas; Lowlights: I was ill and on antibiotics, and the 'ham' we thought we had bought turned out to be a shoulder of pork due to some communication problem with the butcher) it was good to get away from it all and have nothing more to think about than whether to do another ski run, or go in and warm up with another hot chocolate. We even got to see the New Year in at a rustic Vermont inn, with the boys safely having separate fun on a 'kids' night out' which involved bouncy castles and pizza. Here's to a healthy, happy and productive 2012 for all. Now, pass me the sparkling water....

11 comments:

MsCaroline said...

We have had some quite interesting chairlift conversations in past years (#1 is still the conversation with the young man who was there on his honeymooon, sharing a small condo with his entire extended family...different strokes, I guess...)still, sounds like fun despite the pork/ham mixup and the littleboy issues...believe it or not, you'll be hard-pressed to remember the meltdowns and mixups years from now and just have fond memories...promise!
Checking in quickly, got back to Seoul from Phuket this am and have 2 days to do all the washing and packing before leaving to take son#1 back to the US for uni...very much a bittersweet time. Happy 2012 and enjoy that sparkling water!

Nota Bene said...

Skiing sounds fun with/without good snow...glad the boys like it. I've never thought of saying much to a stranger on a ski lift...perhaps I should

Have a brilliant year

Knackered Mother said...

I love being home for Christmas but would have loved to have been in the mountains for New Year. Something about mountain air...sigh. No wine for you then. I'm having a dry week but am looking forward to a small glass of sherry on Friday night.

About Last Weekend said...

That is just so so true. Kevin and I have spent the last nine years speed dating on ski lifts and it's a mixed bag out there. Those kids' group lessons are very variable. In the end we bit the bullet and paid loads for the privates, they're almost Olympians in a couple of lessons. Happy new Year and so looking forward to reading loads more of your blog posts in 2012!

Expat mum said...

Well, the less said about my ski holiday the better!
I remember last year, hubbie and I were on a chair lift together and the guy next to me was really friendly. Turns out he grew up just outside of Chicago so we talked for the whole ride (about 10 minutes). Literally, in the last 60 seconds though, he managed to turn the conversation around to Jehovah! I was gob-smacked and half expected him to pull out a pamphlet as we disembarked.
I thought these guys went to other countries, not ski resorts!

PantsWithNames said...

what is it with these boys saving their filthy behaviour for at home? I'm torn between being thankful noone else has to witness it and wanting a break!

Happy New Year, sounds like you had a great break. x

Metropolitan Mum said...

I really had to laugh at the 15 minutes speed dating thing, imagining some poor person being forced to listen to my life story, spontaneously deciding to ski off in the other direction, happy to finally get away...

Happy New Year! :) x

Circles in the Sand said...

Love the speed-dating analogy! I was just reading a blog about how you can 'sand board' in the desert here, down the dunes ... I think Littleboy 1 would be a pro! (and a softer landing apparently - maybe I'll try it!)

Michelloui | The American Resident said...

Wow! You;ve had a busy past few weeks, then. I remember growing up in Minnesota and skiing (that's right, no mountains, but they make fab use of the massive bluffs around Minneapolis and Duluth!) and we would positively try to get in the right place so we could be on the lift with the right person just for this speed dating experience...;)

nappy valley girl said...

MsCaroline - honeymoon with the inlaws, well each to their own....!

NB - you wouldn't have much choice in the US, as everyone (except teenagers) is incredibly friendly and chatty....

KM - a small glass of sherry sounds very civilized. I had fun in the wine shop the other day, choosing more expensive wine to make up for not drinking all week!

ALW - yes, I think private lessons are probably the way forward, but skiing with his Dad seems to have worked well this year!

Expat Mum - that sounds like your worst nightmare on a chairlift. I remember being stuck at a bus stop with a Jehovah's witness once and praying the bus would come. It didn't, and eventually I just walked away and made an excuse....

Pants - yes, what is it? I suppose I should be glad he's angelic at school, but no-one ever believes me when I say he can be difficult....

MetMum - they'd probably love being on a chairlift with you!

Circles - yes, he would definitely love that. He already wants to snowboard.

Michelloui - I can imagine as a teenager it would have been very strategic....

A Confused Take That Fan said...

Happy New Year!! Sounds like you're having fun, as always, despite the lack of snow and clouds. I haven't been skiing since I was 15 in France on a school trip. Must give it a go. Problem is, the girls in this family hate being cold...