Breckenridge

I am not a skier. 

And while it’s no secret I have a near-cripping fear of flying, I also exhibit a wee bit of apprehension towards moving too fast. Roller coasters…snowmobiles…motorcycles…zooming down a mountain on two slats of fiberglass…all just a little too much for me, but I do try to grin and bear it. Sort of.

We spent the Martin Luther King holiday in Breckenridge, Colorado. It was the first time the boys have seen real snow (Atlanta snow, obviously, doesn’t count–even that ridiculousness that happened last week. Especially that ridiculousness that happened last week.)

I am not was not a skier.

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But now, thanks to this amazing girlfriend below, I think I may have been bitten by the bug. 

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They (and their awesome children) were one of the very best things about our old house and neighborhood. Theo has been known to let himself right on into their house and head straight for the covert candy drawer. Jack and Brian threw some type of ball every single day, and Tucker cannot come within 1/2 a mile of Brian without trying to tackle him. We spent many, many nights in our old cul-de-sac, shooting fireworks and building bonfires (yes, straight up in the cul-de-sac). They are the type of neighbors who feel like family. They are like family.

Way back before we moved, they suggested we all go skiing together. Fortunately, this plan required multiple gatherings over wine to come together–glorious evenings with all 6 of our kids tossed out in the backyard, reunited for a few hours. Valarie is a planning genius…next thing we knew, our itinerary was set. She’s better than a travel agent.

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We landed in a warm Denver–warm for January. Other than the scruffy, small piles of black snow on the sides of the road, the ground was pretty much bare. But Theo kept begging us to let him touch the snow. He kept screeching from the backseat of the rental car, “LOOK at all that SNOW! It’s AMAZING!”

Then we drove through the Eisenhower tunnel on I-70, and he nearly fainted. We crossed under the Continental Divide and came out into a winter wonderland, the likes of which none of my children has ever seen. The true screeching then began. It was like Christmas morning combined with the 4th of July. We’ve rarely seen the boys more excited.

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The boys went to ski school on Friday and Saturday; I cannot recommend this enough. They loved it, and it lasted until 3:30 each day. By the end of the first day, even Theo was going up the big ski lift (I found this out after the fact, and it made me terribly nervous).

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We knew out of the gate that snow-skiing was likely going to be Tucker’s thing–it just fits his personality. He loves rock climbing and surfing, and we all know he is a daredevil. But he’s also tremendously athletic and has an uncanny sense of balance. He tried his hardest to convince us he didn’t need ski school, even though he’d never seen snow, much less put on a pair of skis. Tuck was a bit pouty going in, but his coach figured out that Tucker was a quick learner, and he was off that magic carpet thing in no time.

Jack was a little more cautious, but by the end of the first day, he, too, was barreling down the mountain. In the end, we think Jack enjoyed skiing more than Tucker–if that’s possible.

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Dinner Friday night was at Russ’s favorite hippie joint, Rasta Pasta, a place which smells absolutely divine due to the 5,000 heads of garlic they use in their kitchen nightly. Plus, there was no wait–unbelievable for a holiday weekend.

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After 2 solid days of skiing, our shins and thighs couldn’t take it anymore. Based on recommendations from folks who’d been here before us, we decided to go dog sledding.

I was not sure how it was going to go. I was worried about the dogs and worried about how on earth we were going to “drive” this thing attached to them.

As you can see below, that was a really stupid worry.

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Maddy and this pup fell in love almost immediately.

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Good morning to you, too.

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Jack mushes and Tucker rides across a bridge.

Look closely and you can see the dogs smiling.

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Cutest picture ever: Theo, in his penguin hat, drives the sled while his brothers ride along.

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Maddy, Marie, and a whole slew of jubilant dogs

Everyone got a turn at mushing, and no one wrecked or dumped the sled over. Total success.

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We went on trails deep into a forest. At one point we reached a clearing, and the guide stopped us and then picked up Theo and threw him into the snow…which came up to his waist. He loved it.

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Hot chocolate after dog sledding was a must; it was 8 degrees outside when we started our journey.

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We had lunch in the village and watched the Denver Broncos in the playoffs, not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

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These giant blocks of snow were all over the village–waiting on the international snow sculpture contest the following week. The boys begged to stay the week to see what these blocks were going to turn into.

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Valarie: “Look! Theo’s a pasta dude!”

Me: “What? A prostitute?”

[It’s hard to hear when you have 6 excited young people flocking around you…]

Even more novel than waist-deep snow was the concept of swimming outside in 10 degree weather. The resort had a pool that was half-indoors/half-outdoors (you swam under a wall to get outside). That pretty much cemented the deal for Tucker and Theo. They were in love with Colorado.

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The little village area is so quirky and fun–and reminds me of Athens.

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We packed up Monday morning and headed back to Denver, but made one pit stop along the way: Red Rocks, right outside of Morrison, Colorado.

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The pictures in no way do this place justice. It was amazing.

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All in all, it was a slam dunk of a trip. Our families had the best time together, and we are already looking forward to hitting the slopes again next year.

And by now you know that Atlanta was immobilized by an ice storm this past week–a whopping 2.5 inches of snow hit the ground. Tucker’s sage comment on the situation? “At least we’d been to Breckenridge, so we were accustomed to this kind of snow.”

Yep, that’s us. One time on the mountain, and we know it like a native. Shred the ‘gnar, dude.

Shred the ‘gnar.

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