Thursday, March 09, 2006

It's a LONG post, but it was a LONG weekend =)

I had forgotten how much I truly LOVE to ski!

On Thursday of last week, the Anderson clan (Aunt Micki and Neil and their 3 kids, Uncle Johnny and his 2 kids, Aunt Dianne and Paul, Grandma, and our family) piled into an R7R Limousine shuttle bus, destined for Chicago, IL. The 15 of us were headed for the Amtrak stations to catch our train to Pittsburgh PA.

Ever since my Grandpa Dave died a few months ago, the family has been adamant about spending more time together (other than at each other’s funerals). So my dad and Uncle David set up a ski weekend away in the mountains of West Virginia and by March 2, 15 of us were on our way.

We arrived at the Amtrak station within plenty of time before our train so after getting our tickets, checking our baggage, and doing whatever it is a group of 15 people do, we headed to our gate so as to ensure we were first in line for boarding. After all, we all DID want to sit together!!

After an hour delay, a gate switch, and a whole lot of “Get off the Tile” yelling by Amtrak employees, our crew finally made it to the train (together of course) and anxiously awaited the next 9 hours of relaxation.

The train ride itself was not so bad. I had my books, my IPod, and of course my family to keep me occupied and entertained. Sleeping on the other hand, was a completely different story and as our train rolled into Pittsburgh around 4:30 am, I realized that sleep for myself and most of the Anderson clan, was just not going to be happening that night. Instead, we exited the train and took our seats in the waiting area to wait for our luggage.

I loaded up on coffee and mingled with the fam as I tried to ignore the fact that I had not yet slept and instead was spending my exhausting morning sitting in the Pittsburgh train station. About 45 minutes later our luggage arrived, but the waiting was not yet over as the men still had to pick up our rental cars…30 minutes away!!! The rest of waited patiently (some slept) and by 7:30 the caravan of SUV’s was outside the train station. We could finally leave!!!

The ride to my Uncle David and Jackie’s house was about a 2 hour one, which wasn’t exactly the most appetizing of endeavors considering our long train ride, but we made the most of it. We stopped along the way for some more coffee and waffles at the Waffle House just outside of Pittsburgh, which was enough energy to keep us awake for the rest of the trip. If you’ve never experienced a Waffle House before, you’re missing out on an experience! =)

We arrived to David’s around 11:00 at which point I was dying for some sleep! But it just wasn’t happening yet. We helped David and Jackie pack up their own SUV and then hit the road by 1:00 for yet another 2 hour car ride. This time, into the mountains of West Virginia!

I find it very unfortunate that West Virginia gets such a bad wrap. Sure the state is relatively poor, and yes those “mountain people” do exist, but the beauty of the state is so much more than it’s people. The rolling mountains, and the green prairies and valley. It’s really an unbelievably beautiful place! I tried to enjoy the view from David’s to our cabin in the mountains, but the winding roads made me quite sick and I spent the majority of the trip hunched over my legs.

By 3:00 we had arrived to our cabin. Our beautiful 6 bedroom, mountain top, ski-on, ski-off cabin. I had officially arrived in heaven. After figuring out room situations, unpacking, and getting the kids settled in, we gathered in the living room to relax and unwind. We watched the skiers pass us by out the living room windows and anxiously anticipated our own ski trip in the morning.

As the children one by one filtered to bed, the adults took full advantage of the empty cabin by popping on our swimsuits, and enjoying a few glasses of wine in the outside hot tub. We waved at the night skiers as they passed right by us, and chatted about life. We soon retreated inside to play a quick game of Phase 10, my new favorite card game, and by 9:00 I was ready for bed. I could finally sleep.

We woke up early on Saturday to get as much skiing in as possible. I was nervous at first as I had not skied in a number of years, but the second I placed my boot into my binding, 15 years of skiing all came back to me. It took once down the hill before I was comfortable enough to hit those double blacks I love so much.

After a few times down, I ventured to the bunny hill to see how the rest of the family was doing, teaching their children how to ski. I offered my helping hand and spent the next few hours snowplowing along side my cousin Jesse, showing him exactly how he needs to stop while on a pair of skis. I was so proud of him. He picked it up after just a few runs down. Hooray for skiing!!

We returned home around 5:00 once the cold set in and headed straight to the hot tub to relax our sore muscles. I had forgotten how much work skiing is! Especially when you’re completely out of shape! The rest of the night we spent just relaxing in the cabin. I love being secluded in the mountains! =)

On Sunday, I woke up bright and early again to get a jump on skiing before we had to leave. Today, was a bit different as I was going to try snowboarding. Seeing as how I have been skiing almost my entire life, I was ready for a change. I figured snowboarding was just the winter change I needed. My cousin Melissa and I headed to the hill before everyone else arrived so we could rent our snowboards, and figure out just how the stupid things worked. Thank god we had my professional snowboarder brother along (He’s been snowboarding about as long as I’ve been skiing) otherwise I don’t think we ever would have gotten out of the lodge. He showed us how the bindings work, which foot to lock in, and how to walk with this huge board attached to our foot. He took us on and off the lifts and taught us about the stomp pad and finally, he showed us a few quick snowboarding moves.

We started off on the 2 mile long green hill, Salamander, thinking that would give us just enough time to learn the basics instead of practicing on the little bump they call the bunny hill. BAD IDEA! I didn’t realize how much I would fall. Every time I got up, I fell right back down. Up, Down, Up, Down, Up……….Down. This was how it went for the first hour of skiing. Melissa and I laughed and laughed as everyone kept lapping us on the hill. “Christi, I’ve seen that man three times since we’ve been on this hill, and we’re still not even half way down yet!” It’s true we spent the remainder of the run on our butts, but along the way we finally got the hang of it. Our boards turned and stopped when we wanted them to, and we were actually able to snowplow a few feet before falling face forward into the snow. Once I was up I was able to balance long enough to actually move down the hill, and a few times I was even able to turn the board back and forth to move out of people’s way! Of course near the end I took a few very hard falls and that pretty much ended my snowboarding experience. There is only so much falling you can take in one day before your body just yells. 2 ½ hours was my bodies limit =)

We made our way back to the cabin in pain and ready to go home. I was a little annoyed at snowboarding since I couldn’t pick it up right away, but I had a lot of fun regardless. I think I may have to think about taking a lesson around here before the winter ends. I could just become a snowboarder soon =)

It was a fast weekend complete with a lot of traveling, but it was a lot of fun regardless. Between the mountains, and the skiing, the family, and the laughter, it is something I’d do again in a heartbeat. No questions asked.

I’m just glad to be home. For the moment =)


Erin said...

Sounds like SUCH a fun time!! I'm extremely jealous! Thanks for the post. :)

Anonymous said...

Finally a new post!! All of that and all I want to say is ... Phase 10 is the best game. We play with the kids at the center for hours on days off and it is so much fun!! We need to get together for a game! I'm pretty good!! Heather

Christi said...

ahhh Heather, we totally should. We'll do a date night some night, get some folks together and play Phase 10. It's totally fun! I'm happy you've heard of it!!! I had never heard of it before this weekend. I'm totally addicted now =)

Erin said...

I want to play!

(And Christi, now I'm going to use YOUR blog as a message board.)

Heather, I think it's time you started a blog! You get to read about our lives - I want to read about yours. :)

Your shower is next weekend - whoo hoo!

K bye.

Word Nerd said...

Word Nerd tip of the day:

"2 ½ hours was my bodies limit"

Unless you have more than one body, it should be "body's"


Amanda said...

What a fun trip! It's great that your whole family can get together and do that. And I'm really jealous that you took a train. My whole life I've wanted to take a train trip. You may have inspired me to do so!

Christi said...

A train trip is a lot of fun!! We took one out to Lake Tahoe a few years back and it was the most gorgeous thing I have ever done. The train winds through the mountains, and past little postcard towns and through's just fabulous.

It does get a little long, but with good company, and good scenery, it's all the more worth it!