Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Taos Ski Vacation and ALL THE STUFF

I believe we deserve some sort of award for going on a ski vacation with three kids...

1. We drove ten hours in the car with three kids in one row. I'm quite positive our car was shrinking by the minute. We all exploded out of it the second we arrived, along with all the trash that only three children can accumulate in ten long hours.

They deny this moment ever happened.
Three kids in one bed asleep by 10pm.
We just earned ourself a medal.
2. Two of our kids skiied four days. That is remembering helmets, gloves, ski jackets, boots, pants, goggles, neck cover, socks, boots, skis, Carmex, and sunscreen for four flipping days. Then you have to put them on all the children.

3. I skiied with them for two days and didn't even make them besides one minor break down where I may or may not have cried and screamed and threw my pole at Brewerman for something that was entirely not his fault, I did pretty damn good.

4. We went during Texas spring break for school kids. No, this didn't mean bras and panties flying down the lifts...more like the ski schools were packed and the parking lots were full of people who drive to fast...because apparently every single family with young kids in school had the same idea we did.

5. Despite being way more work than I remember it being when I was a kid and not a parent, we want to go back. Like today.

6. We fit all our crap in a Ford Explorer. Including the three extra meals we didn't need. I know this is a bit of a shock to you all...but I did over pack a teeny weeny bit. We still fit it all. Tetris baby...I knew it would come in handy one day. We did buy a Thule topper for our ski which was a lifesaver (and half off since it had a scratch from shipping -boo yah!). That thing was awesome to throw your skis and poles into at the end of the day.

Kids: Weeeeee VACATION
Me: Is it getting smaller in here or is it just me?
Brewerman: Are we there yet?

In all honesty it was a pretty darn awesome trip. Just imagine skiing in the beautiful moutain air with the sun shining down on you every single day. We had plenty of skiing options for our more adventurous side (pre-lunch beers) and our calmer side (post-lunch beers). Plus we got to ski TWO DAYS without children. That means we had two full meals that included adult conversation, snarky people watching, beer, and NO SPILLED DRINKS!

Weeeee! No kids!
Taos Ski Valley is a hidden gem in the ski world. It's a smaller resort compared to the big Colorado guys a few hours away but the people there are so laid back and the culture so rich, it's perfect for families. We ended up renting a friend's parent's home that was in between the valley and town. It was an amazing place to stay with breathtaking views and gorgeous decor. It was so nice to come home from a long day and relax with an outdoor fire or sit in the hot tub.

Our View. From the hot tub. Be Jealous.
Despite the fact that we went during spring break, the lifts weren't overly busy and once you got on to the mountain, you didn't feel it at all. However, where you did feel it was the ski school. It really was the busiest two days of the year for them, so you have to keep that in mind and the people were very nice despite some really rude customers. It was frustrating at times though because it could take an hour or two just to pick up your child, so it cut down on our ski time. By Wednesday though, the number of enrollments dropped dramatically and it was easy and organized to pick up your child again. The actual school did a great job teaching our boys to ski. Lil'Dude completely picked back up skiing and improved drasticall in two days. Lil'Guy took a little longer to learn but they were so accomodating and really want these kids to not only learn but love it. Lil'miss went to a nearby daycare since she is a little too young to ski but we will probably put her in next year just to join in on the fun. Plus we really enjoy the challenge of getting three kids woken up, fed, and shoved into four thousand layers by 9am...somehow timing it to where they don't have to pee the minute you get that last piece on.

The ski valley was about a 15 minute drive from our house (located between the valley and town). It is a beautiful drive and since there is zero cell service you are forced to enjoy it. Ha ha...but seriously. The people in Toas are laid back and accomodating of all the tourists and kids that are learning to ski.
Hello gorgeous

The moutain is gorgeous. The runs were a lot of fun and they had a pretty decent variety for beginner and more advanced skiing. There were more moguls than I would have liked on the black runs, but there were plenty of other options too. Brewerman and I actually talked about taking a class on moguls because although we are horridly bad at them, they are a lot of fun when you do them right. A favorite run of ours with Lil'Dude is the terrain park. The mountain is easy to find your way around to with a lot of options including short runs connecting longer runs for those with a group that might have a few different skill levels. They also have maps at the end of each lift to help you find your way. Our favorite part of the mountain was near the Kachina Lift, there were some wide runs that were a touch steeper. 

Taos Sunset
Lil'Dude still hates greens so he stuck to blues and Lil'Guy stuck to the easy greens and the beginner trail. There was a bad moment where Lil'Guy accidentally went down a blue instead of a green. We were too far down to go back up so he had to finish it. He did pretty darn well and only crashed at the end because he panicked. However, I was crying, he was crying, and it wasn't my finest moment. I wanted to pick him up and carry him down the mountain and NEVER SKI AGAIN EVER WITH MY BABIES. Luckily Brewerman was there, saw I was at the brink of a breakdown, and lovingly took over.

Lil'Dude couldn't do enough and wanted to go FASTER and FASTER. He told us at least 1091 times that he could "do moguls" to the point we almost let him try it. The first day we took him skiing with just Brewerman and I, we started with a green. He hated it, we did a blue and he was home. He refuses to ski side to side but he shifts like a pro and it's probably the cutest thing ever.

Lil'Miss had a lovely time at the center she stayed at but her highlight was tubing. Taos has a great tubing area set up by the ski valley and it's a lot of fun. It's a little expensive, but totally worth it to go at least once. Oh my gosh, Lil'Miss giggled hard core going down the mountain in a tube. That little girl is fearless, y'all. She was by far the youngest little thing there but she went over and over. She stole the hearts of the kids working the tubes too, they got the biggest kick out of this tiny spitfire asking to go faster and MORE MORE!

Silly Fearless Lil'Miss giving her mama a heart attack
Another item on the "must see" list is the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. It's only about 10 minutes or so outside of town and it's beautiful. Well, at least it is for someone not afraid of heights. For some reason the combination of that and having my kids within a 40 foot radius of it made me go temporarily insane. I could barely walk and was shaking. Even my little jerk kids were making fun of me. So not cool. I only let them walk a third of the way across before I sobbed and made every one of them come back to solid ground amoungst lots of whining and complaining.

The normal photo pose of my kids: TMNT Fighting stance, Sassy, and "ihatephotos"
I'm totally enjoying the moment...and trying not to throw up.
Love this picture, my sunglasses cover the panic in my eyes.

Taos itself is gorgeous. The sun shines beautifully most days, and there is almost no humidity. By the time you drive out of the valley the temperature rises and some days we were wearing tank tops. I would highly recommend leaving a day to visit the city. The town has so much history and love poured into it, it's worth a walk around. When you are there, stop by Moby Dickens Bookshop and say hi to our friends (the owners). You can find some pretty amazing books there. We got a Willy Wonka Pop-up book there that has quickly became my kid's favorite. If you are a reader, this will be your Nirvana. If I didn't have my kids with me I could have curled up and read for hours.

Moby Dickens Bookstore - Seriously cool place
While you are reading those books you just bought, stop by Coffee Cats for a latte. That Chai Latte was one of the best I have had and I'm still craving it.

Oh. OH and the food. The food here in New Mexico is fantastic. The enchilada sauce...the green chiles...oh my. We had breakfast at The Toas Diner and ate some amazing Huevos Rancheros with Red and Green Sauce (Red Chile or Green Chile...both is called "Christmas" to those not from New Mexico). The green sauce is usually less spicy but both are packed with flavor. You can get green chiles with everything here...at St. Bernard they have an entire bar of condiments including green chiles you can slop on your burger. Plus you can eat on the deck and watch the skiers fall like I did.

You have to ski to The Bavarian Restaurant in order to enjoy the German beer...oh yeah and food I guess. It's worth the short walk from the lift though. The Spatzle was amazing though a tad heavy if you plan on skiing blacks after. I had the Hefewizen and Brewerman had the Oktoberfest beers, both delightful. It's a tad pricy for every day but I mean, come on, sausages and good beer? Totally a must-stop.

Beer - good; meal without kids - better

One of the things that makes the drive to and from the ski slope much easier, is that stop to Taos Cow. Whether it's a latte in the morning, or ice cream in the afternoons, it quickly became a ritual for us. With ice cream flavors like Lavendar or (my personal fave) Cinnamon, we all enjoyed the treat after a long day on the slopes.

We are lucky enough to have some amazing friends that live there as well. Our boys are all just as crazy as the other so they of course had a ball. It isn't too often we find another child than can keep up with Lil'Dude, but he found his match! I miss these transplants from Texas a lot but we are already planning to come up between Christmas and New Years. You can't really convince someone to come back to Dallas when you have experienced Taos.

Good Friends, Good Times...baaaad Sunburn
We have been told the summer is just as fun as the winter and I can imagine. I was itching to go hiking and visit the springs in the area, or even the Taos Pueblo. Seriously folks, if you have a family and are thinking of bringing the skiing...I highly recomend Toas. Between the sunshine, snow, and just breathtaking scenery it's well worth the ten hour drive from Dallas. It's a fantastic place to take the family and get away for a bit.

No comments:

Post a Comment