To Winterplace West Virginia we go!
Yes, it’s that time of year again. Time for the Great Kaylee Ski Trip. The GKST is evidently an annual event (I wasn’t sure after its inaugural event last year), where I take Kaylee skiing. Since her birthday is in January, it became her combination birthday party/present last year and the tradition continues. Sure, it’s more costly than Chuck E. Cheese, but it beats inviting 30 kids to some place and then listening to them scream and yell. Plus, it builds memories that last forever, instead of something forgotten in the back of a picture album.
“Look mom! There’s the time we had my Hello Kitty party at the mall. I completely forgot about that. WTF were you thinking?”
So – It all began some time ago with the planning and purchasing of innumerable Ski items, including gloves, special socks, a new coat, a “ninja facemask” and goggles. Some of these were farmed out to others as X-Mass presents (thanks guys!) and others we made special trips ourselves. This year I chose a non-holiday weekend, simply because it was less busy, and MLK weekend was 70 degrees. Damn Global Warming.
Kaylee insisted on staying at the same Hotel, which is very nice. They even gave us a discount rate. The hotel was very quiet, and with the exception of a revival or some other form of chanting going on in the meeting room, we hardly saw anyone (except for a group of odd teens in the hall having a very serious discussion on Jesus – teens are supposed to be shallow and self-indulgent, when do they have serious discussions on anything but MTV and sex?).
So the plans were made and the date set – Saturday morning off we went (after some very generous packing help from Mom, who decided not to go since we were not supposed to get home until 2 am Monday morning – a work/school day).
The first thing I realized was we were out of gas and had no ice for the snack cooler. I fixed that and then set Emily (the crackhead GPS we use) to take me to the Hotel. She tried to send us through Monroe, North Carolina, but seeing as how Monroe has one stop light for every citizen, I took a back road to I-77. Kaylee had lots of fun playing with her camera. 200 pictures later and we were almost to Virginia.
As we approached the mountains – I recalled everything being covered in snow last year. Unfortunately this year there was no snow anywhere, and stuff was much less picturesque. Including this house, which was part of last year’s favorite images.
North Carolina ended and Virginia began with a climb up the hills past beautiful Mount Airy and on into the highlands. We stopped at the VA Welcome center and grabbed a GeoCache (finally can check that one off the map) before moving on into the state.
Finally we got to our hotel (after a mere 5 and a half hours – including stopping for gas, geocaching and sitting down at the Golden Arches). Leaving SC in a t-shirt and jeans, it was a shock to arrive in WV in the 40s. Check in went very smoothly, and Kaylee immediately changed into her swimsuit. She played with a rather irritating and boisterous 5 year old at the pool until 15 of the teens showed up to whoop it up in the pool. Time to go. Dawn would come quickly, after all, and tomorrow would be a long day.
After dropping Kaylee off at the SkiWee Ski School, it was time for me to once again strap over-sized Popsicle sticks to my feet and unleash the dogs of war. It was cold, and icy, with granular man-made snow on top of what little real snow there was. The conditions were brutal.
If you’ve never skied through snow-making machines, have someone fill an insect sprayer with ice water. Pump it up and have them spray you in the eyes from about six inches away. Now imagine how much worse it would feel if the water was frozen pellets. I guess that’s what goggle are for, I just didn’t have any and wasn’t paying resort prices. At the bottom of the hill I looked like Luke after escaping the Yeti on Hoth, completely coated in ice.
So Kaylee eventually graduated Ski School Valedictorian, and was turned loose on the unsuspecting populace. She devised several ways to injure herself and others and finally told me about the “learning hill” where there was a conveyor lift, with no chairs. We set about to explore this wondrous thing.
A video of Kaylee’s episode. She learned the most important lesson in skiing; If you lean back, you will be ON your back. Don’t lean back, lean forward.
After about 17 hours of practice, Kaylee got good enough to go on some other hills. We started at the lodge after having lunch (at 2. She had one pop tart for breakfast, and didnt want to eat lunch then, but I forced her.)
More important lessons. Use the safety bar. Don’t butt-scootch too soon, or you will fall out. Don’t butt scootch too late, or you will fall out. Don’t let the chair hit you in the back of the head. When you fall out on the unloading area, do your best to jump, hop, skip, roll or crawl OUT OF THE WAY of the next chair load of people.
So, Kaylee skied down a longer run and finally mastered turning, and even stopping, somewhat. She surprised me more than I thought she would, going from a whiny “I can’t do it” to “You meet me at the bottom” of the learning hill, and finally, “You go ahead and show me where to go”. She even pushed me at the top of the hill in the video below, telling me to hurry up. This was her second run down this hill:
So all in all she had a lot of fun, and I was glad we could take the trip. We even survived the drive home, once we were completely exhausted and wet. See you next year, Winterplace!