This guest blog post is brought to us by Denise who blogs at EatPlayLove.
A few weeks ago my family of four headed to Arapahoe Basin Ski Area on the Continental Divide in Summit County. The beauty of skiing A-Basin is that it’s one of the first ski areas off of I-70 heading west, the exit is at Loveland Pass. No Eisenhower Tunnel, no passes with traffic flying by at 65mph. A perfect place to exit in my mind and it’s just about 15 minutes over the pass.
Another huge perk of Arapahoe Basin is the parking. The parking is free and just steps from the mountain, I didn’t think that was possible at a ski area! They have expanded their parking and the High Noon Lot above the Early Bird Lot is still within comfortable walking distance. I was amazed at the ease and convenience of the access to parking at A-Basin, I sent my husband off a few times throughout the day to fetch items from the car.
Kids Ski Lessons
Our first priority once we were on the mountain was getting our two daughters, ages 7 and 4, into their half-day lessons. Their lessons are very reasonably priced and to top it off their lift tickets at full price are only $69 for adults! A-Basin has a convenient meeting spot for all lessons and their instructors wear bright yellow jackets for easy identification. Our 7 year old has been skiing for a few years, but it was our youngest daughter’s first day on skis! The instructors were caring and confident and made the girls feel so comfortable for the drop off transition. They have a great system to check your child in and out to set our minds at ease. For more information on their ski programs, lessons, which include half day and full day options, visit the Arapahoe Basin Lessons and Rentals webpage.
Mom’s First Ski Lesson
This is where my story turns interesting. On the same day that my daughter, age 4, was taking her first ski lesson, I was taking my first ski lesson. We’ll just call me age 4 plus 30 or so years. I have taken snowboarding lessons in the past and really gave riding a fair shot, but it just wasn’t for me. I thought, if my husband and daughters are spending the day on the mountain maybe I should join them. I was fortunate enough to have one of the best instructors A-Basin has to offer, her name is Suzanne Greene.
I joined a group of five other beginning skiers at the bottom of the mountain. We started off gently, one ski on, then two skis, lots of side stepping up the hill half way and practicing stopping on the way down. Before I knew it, we were ready for the magic carpet. At one point as I was focusing on loosening up my arms as I was gliding down the tiny little part of the mountain, I caught a glimpse of my 7 year old riding the lift with a huge smile waving at me. She was proud of her mom. I felt kind of silly, but I was happy that I was out there doing it.
After a few runs on the magic carpet I felt proud, even if my attempts were on a very gentle terrain. Within the first hour, I was turning, on skis, and heading down the mountain! Now granted I was surrounded by children, mainly under 5 years old, but I didn’t let that distract me. Up the hill and down the hill. My husband picked me up and we joked with each other, realizing we both never thought we’d see this day, all four of us on skis!
After our half day lessons, we hopped on the Black Mountain Express to enjoy lunch at the mid-mountain restaurant called, Black Mountain Lodge. Mid-mountain dining is always bustling full of skiers at lunch time, so we just made our way through the crowds enjoying the experience. I was hungry after my morning lesson, the magic carpet apparently did the trick to work up my appetite.
The food at Black Mountain Lodge was a delightful surprise, as they have an in-house smoker to cook all of their meats. My 7 year old and I both had freshly made crepes, I chose to add house smoked salmon to my vegetarian crepe. We also had salad, grilled chicken, sweet potato fries, smoothies, and the girls enjoyed delicious homemade mac n’ cheese. I learned over lunch that it was the busiest day of the 2011 ski season! I was amazed that even though there were lots of people on the mountain and in the lodge, I never felt overwhelmed. A-Basin has such a great atmosphere.
What an incredible day, full of new and challenging experiences. The best part of my entire day is that I left Araphoe Basin with a smile. We spent the evening in a condo, so we could hit the slopes nice and early the next morning. The condo was just a few miles down the road in Keystone, accommodations were provided by Key To The Rockies. One of the perks of our condo that the girls absolutely adored was the indoor pool and hot tub! Nothing like a relaxing soak after a workout filled day on the mountain.
Denise has called Colorado home since 1994, the summer she packed up her car and headed west from her native home New York. In 2003 she left her job as a fifth grade teacher, to stay home to raise her daughter. Now she has two girls, ages 7 and 4, and finds delight in the adventures of motherhood. When she isnt hitting the beginner’s trails, she can be found pursuing her hobby of blogging at Eat Play Love and Colorado Bento.