My two oldest daughters have experienced it. They’ve both tried snowboarding, but my other three kids assumed snow was white and fluffy and room temperature. They never understood that snow is really frozen rain – cold and wet and capable of giving you frostbite.
Maury was never really keen on the idea, either. He had a bad experience in college with a few friends in Tahoe. They hit a patch of ice and nearly flew off a cliff! I don’t think he ever went back after that.
We always had a good excuse not to go to the snow. We didn’t have a place to stay, and renting a home or hotel big enough for all of us was too expensive. Then Maury’s sister and brother-in-law bought a home in Truckee and generously invited our entire family up for the weekend.
My kids went nuts! My boys wanted to try snowboarding, Haley wanted to go sledding, and the thought of sitting on the outdoor patio off a rustic ski lodge next to the firepit, sipping hot toddies sounded very appealing.
So the planning began. None of us had snow clothes. We all needed jackets, boots, gloves, waterproof snowpants and socks. The boys rented snowboarding gear and we bought them goggles. Cha-ching, cha-ching! This snow trip was costing us hundreds of dollars and we hadn’t even left Antioch. We needed two vehicles to haul all the stuff we were bringing, plus two sets of chains.
My sons were sure they were going to be awesome at snowboarding and talked constantly about how they were going to be performing flips and helicopters. I was envisioning broken wrists and ankles, but the hot-toddy fantasy kept me going. We arranged care for all our animals and hit the road on Friday afternoon.
As we made our way north, my kids got their first glimpse of snow. They were amazed and elated. Driving through tall redwoods frosted with snow, I realized I’d forgotten how beautiful it was. The weather was perfect and we arrived safely. The first thing my 13-year-old son did when he got out of the car was jump into a snow bank wearing shorts, tall black Nike socks and sandals. He figured out quickly that once you’re wet, you’re freezing. Haley did the same thing, shrieking with delight and throwing her first snowball – at her brother of course.
On Saturday my boys hit the slopes for a day of learning how to snowboard. My oldest daughter and her boyfriend patiently tried to teach them the basics. Let’s just say no flips or helicopters were performed that day – intentionally. Snowboarding is a lot harder than Shaun White makes it look. Haley didn’t mind watching her brothers wipe out repeatedly, but she finally demanded that we do some sledding.
Apparently that was my job. Maury’s job was to make friends and drink beer next to the firepit on the outdoor patio. Hey, wait a minute! That was supposed to be my job!
Tubing looked like a hoot. Park attendants gave each rider a big spin as they careened down a winding, slippery path to the bottom. I watched as my girls flew down the course spinning, giggling, their hair flying. I could do this! I climbed onto the big inflated tube and looked up at the cute blond park attendant whose name was Thor. He suddenly looked much larger to me, like a Viking ready to hurl a discus, but the discus was me!
Like his namesake, he looked like a guy who threw thunderbolts in his spare time. Before I knew it, I was spinning down the hill pulling major G’s. At the bottom, I lay there and watched the sky spin. I suddenly got a flashback of my worst and final tequila experience. Would the spinning never end? My girls were rolling with laughter. They went two more times. I sat on a bench.
It was a memorable weekend – no injuries or illnesses, and quality time with our family. We just might do it again. After all, I never did get that hot toddy.