Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Ski Trip Day 1 :)

Okay so I very much wanted to get away somewhere; Chris is restricted to school vacation times (aka very expensive times) to travel; so I figured I'd go skiing since C doesn't ski w iffy knees so wouldn't miss that trip.

Laura was onside so we booked a getaway to Holiday Valley.  I have fun memories of family ski trips there when I was a kid, and importantly, they have ski-in rooms.  So book a few days off work and away we go :)

Now the rest of this...  Was written at the very end of Day 1 -- I was super happy and equally exhausted so definitely not in a state to write a concise and coherent post.

So many things and only a tiny keyboard to write on…

Was supposed to run a bunch of errands and have a Spanish lesson today before heading to the ski hill, but they were forecasting supreme nastiness in the form of a snow storm late morning so cancelled Spanish and anything that wasn’t critically important and left a couple hours earlier than planned.

This kept me right at the front of the storm - there were snowy roads in places but for the most part it was just wet and the snow falling was light enough not to create visibility issues.

Pro tip - horribly ugly old-people glasses for driving at night, you know the ones? And yes I have a pair - make of that as you will. I choose to blame multiple surgeries rather than age but alas it may be both…. Anyways - those are fabulous for snow storms. Learned this the other wk when driving to Windsor. When the glare is obnoxious but not quite bright enough for sunglasses to be effective (unless you’re my husband who keeps multiple gradients of sunglasses on hand) - for those days, ugly night glasses are legitimately perfect. So now you know.

Back to my story - apparently nobody drives mid day?!?! Cause after I passed Niagara there were almost zero other cars. Crossed the border in Fort Erie and there were literally no cars. Two open car lanes and no cars. Zero wait to cross. Surreal.

Border guard was bored so took more chit chat than normal to get across but then on my way. Once I got to 219, again - no cars for miles. Was completely stress free driving. A little random when the multi lane highway stops at a stop sign, makes a 90 deg turn, and starts again lol but other than that all good. Drive after that was gorgeous. Starting to snow at that point but if visibility had been better would’ve been an amazing drive.

Got here and even though I was super early, the room was ready, so win. Hotel room is dated and soundproofing is non existent, but it’s clean and reasonable for an inexpensive stay. They also have ski lockers outside every room which is definitely ideal.

Got myself organized - the area is basically three resorts in one. Ours in on the far outskirts, apparently the restaurant is in the middle one, then there’s the main ski centre with cafe type food, then something even further but I didn’t go far enough to ascertain exactly what.

I familiarized myself w our hotel - super disappointed that the outdoor hot tub is actually at one of the others :(. Oh well - next year. We do have an indoor outdoor pool? The indoor part looks pretty dodgy but the outdoor is lovely. I saw a sign for hot tub as well but not evidence of one existing. That’ll be tonight or tomorrow’s exploration.

This looks fairly stunning :)

Found an “exercise trail” which would prob be awesome but maybe not a great winter idea ;)

Pretty snowstormy at this point so I drove to the main lodge to find food and gear. Food was not great and very expensive. Booo. Gear was a bit of a process to acquire but zero line and super friendly / helpful staff. This seems to be a trend here; they’re definitely hiring for personable and customer focused.

About 5 years ago (I can’t believe it was that long but both fb and my blog assure me it was), Laura and I took up night skiing for the winter. It was SO much fun. And even then skis were much shorter than when I skied as a kid. Well now they fit in the back seat of my car lol. I think the winter clothes actually took more space!

Skis are a LOT shorter than they used to be!

Wasn’t sure how well I’d be able to get my car out so loaded everything back up and went back to the room. The ski guy had said to let skis acclimatize to the weather before using so yeah ski locker. I chilled a bit, checked in w Laura who couldn’t come till after work, and Chris whose work ended early thanks to said snow, and then decided that since I came here to ski, perhaps I should go ski???

So I got myself all geared up - the lift pass isn’t a sticker anymore…. It looks and feels like a credit card, and they just said “have it somewhere on the left side of your body” and warned me not to have it w other cards. Uh sure. Since I had C’s ski pants (mine somehow have holes in them?!?) they have ALL the pockets. So lift pass on one side, cc, room card, and id on the other, and STILL an extra pocket for my phone and trail map.

There is a lift that comes right to the hotel - our room faces the parking lot not the hill, so had to walk across said parking lot. But then the hill is right there. Which is super convenient but means I skied all of about 10 feet before getting on a chair lift. Which means getting off the chair lift was the first skiing I would do. Lol occurred to me this might be a poor life choice, but it actually worked out fine.

Mine is a little folded so snagged this version from Google.

So I knew from my handy trail map that I could get from our room to the main hub on only green trails. This was a significant win since the greens here are the blues we had at tiny Glen Eden 5 yrs ago. I did possibly the slowest trip ever across but made it in one piece. And stumble upon this lovely snack option ;). Which I did not indulge, but likely will tomorrow cause they smelled SO good!

Spoiler alert - I never actually tried one

According to my trail map pretty much every lift had a green route down, so that was exciting. There were not maps posted at the bottom which I found very disconcerting but fortunately I had one w me. There were usually maps at the top - but if you’re a novice skier, by that point it might be too late ;). I basically just picked green ones. Often they criss cross so many times I ended up on a different one than I started on, but all good. Got a good laugh when I realized one of my fav green runs crossed a black diamond - the “straight down” for green was the “across the hill” for black. Made me laugh anyways.  To be fair, somebody who knew what they were doing planned the routes -- pretty well every chair had at least one green route down.

Found my way to the extreme far side of the mountain which was pretty deserted and stayed there to try and regain my ski legs. There was a lot of snow plowing happening. Embarrassing bad but effective. And so few people out I wasn’t worried about getting run over lol. Spent some time here trying to remind my legs that they have never been able to do the splits and today is not a good day to start!

Random side note, in dance this wk she told us it was “just like skiing” - I’m not actually sure which I’m worse at, but it seems I can’t keep my feet together in either lol. The goal for the trip is to get the skis vaguely parallel and close enough together that my hips don’t hurt afterwards lol. You know you’re old when that’s a viable metric ;-P

Eventually I got my skis pointed somewhat in the same direction, if still very far apart and ventured more to the middle of the hill and found one route that I really liked. Except I was slightly worried because while it was very clearly signed green, and didn’t look to have anything to it, a number of VERY competent skiers were also on this one... Which definitely had me wondering why. In the end I realized there were some snow structures that they could get some good air from. I realized this when I accidentally found myself on top of one. Lol physics for the win here - I was going so slowly it didn’t matter at all. But it showed me what to look for on other hills when there seemed to be good skiers for no reason…

I was having a really good time. Hill was super quiet (middle of the week the same wk as black Monday for the win). Which was great me. I never waited in line and I never had to worry that my zigzagging the hills would result in tragedy ;)

The lift pass, they wave some sort of scanner at you while you’re in line that clearly tells them you have one. I only noticed them checking occasionally although they definitely have one person whose job it is at every lift.   One of the lift attendants told me it tells them my name, what type of pass it is, and whether or not it's valid.

Eventually I noticed they’d turned the hill lights on. I *love* night skiing. Quieter, so peaceful, I’m a night person by every possible take on that so I feel much more alive at night, AND it takes my brain out of the equation - I can’t see the icy parts so I stop stressing about them. Therefore, the whole thing is way more fun.

I slowly was making my way back across the hills to end up at our hotel, but the last run I would have to make was a blue. And I was really enjoying my greens lol. So I did a bunch more of them on the way, some multiple times. Then I clued in that I should prob tackle said blue before I was physically exhausted so over I went. Well there was NOBODY on that hill. After dark it’s the farthest run (there are more in daylight) so I guess everyone not going “home” stayed in the main area. It was my favourite run! Lol no steep section to start and it was a curvy path. So of course I went back up and did it again, literally the only person on the run. And 2 deer ran out in front of me!!! It was completely majestic and I just stopped and watched them till they were long gone. When I got to the bottom I asked the lift operators (who were building snow men - I’m not exaggerating how quiet it was) how common that was. Apparently last year was every night but this year not often. Hopped back on the lift and on the ride up saw a third deer, smaller, looked like it was grazing, so when I skied back down I checked if it was still there and was so tried to take a pic. My phone cam is pretty crap at light though so disappointed in outcome. But still - magical.

Since my deer pic didn't work,
I took a snowman pic the next day :)

Did yet another run just cause, but borrowed snow pants were not waterproof and since this lift was not really being used, all the seats were covered in snow. After 3 or 4 runs I was soaked through and other people had appeared on the hill so I called it for day one.

Laura should be here any minute - she unfortunately had more transportation issues than I between snow, plows, and rush hour starting earlier than it’s supposed to thanks to people avoiding the storm. My legs will definitely feel it tomorrow.

But SO MUCH FUN. I wish we lived somewhere I could do this more regularly. This isn’t far, but it’s just far enough to make a random night ski not reasonable.


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