Family Ski Trip

Our family decided to venture outside of California and introduce the kids to resorts in Colorado and New Mexico over the Thanksgiving holiday.  It was a fun family road trip with an overnight stay at the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, AZ (who wouldn’t want to sleep in a teepee!) and listening to audiobooks.  Our destination was La Veta, CO to visit with family.

We prepared for our trip excitedly.  We even bought the kids their first skis and boots versus renting- early Christmas presents!  Gearonimo Sports Equipment out of Colorado Springs provides wonderful deals and shipping is immediate.  They were extremely helpful in exchange of equipment, too!

Our skiing was dependent on opening dates set by nearby resorts.  Our first stop?  Wolf Creek.  We learned that this resort reports the most snowfall in all of Colorado! The early season rates were much appreciated as was the fact it was OPEN before Thanksgiving!  Wolf Creek is a locals’ ski hill- all ski and no touristy ski town to entertain.  Parking is conveniently located right next to the lift ticket office.  We found the staff friendly and helpful and learned that obstacles are not marked on the runs so knew to pay attention to the rocks and tops of trees still poking through the early season snow.  We were happy to find that every lift taken had a safety or comfort bar, too!

We had a wonderful day learning the terrain of Wolf Creek.  Happily, a large amount of runs were available to choose from so early in the season.  We witnessed “snow farming” along sheets of plastic resulting in awesome water-like waves of snow from one site to another. Cami (age 4) and Luke (age 8) had a wonderful experience in Wolf Pup Ski School. Luke advanced right out of his age group into the “Hot Shots!”  Cami retained her ski skills gained in last year’s Mammoth Ski School and was up on the lift and skiing down with her class, too.  The Wolf Creek staff eagerly made each child’s experience a wonderful one.  I liked that the school had their own “lodge” right on the slopes for provision of a hot lunch and hot cocoa.  Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our experience at Wolf Creek and look forward to someday getting back there.

Our next adventure was skiing the slopes of Red River, NM which opened the day before Thanksgiving.  We were excited to experience this resort as my grandmother, Dorothy Miller DuLaney, had skied it on homemade skis in the 30s and cousins grew up on the slopes here.  (Cousin Ellen Goins and husband Geoff are the proud owners of nearby Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski Area.)

My grandmother skiing Red River, NM!

Though extremely limited in the runs available early season the groomed snow offered by Red River was very nice (and being early season the rates were discounted!).  We could see from the trail map that this mountain’s full-season offering is amazing.  And you just can’t beat the convenience the town has to offer to the resort- most lodging is walking distance or a jump on a free shuttle, many restaurants and choices of entertainment to choose from, and conveniently located near Taos Ski ValleyAngel Fire, and  Enchanted Forest Cross Country to provide for a complete family ski adventure.  The townspeople are the best, and you can’t find friendlier people than those at The Starr, a kid friendly store in town.

We all loved Red River skiing.  The ski school is conveniently located right on the “magic carpet” slope, Little Blue, and next to the parking lot.  We all got to try the magic carpet as it also offers a convenient way to get to the Gold Chair and Gold Rush.  Cami had a blast skiing with instructor “Kitty Kat,” who made sure she loaded that chair correctly. There are no safety bars on Gold Chair, but restraint bars are on Platinum Chair which allows you to ski down The Face.  Keely and Luke are thrilled to proclaim that they’ve now skied “The Face” of Red River.  Red River ski area is a wonderful family resort offering a variety of runs, torch-light parades, snow coach dinner tours, secret family places to find on the slopes such as a ski-thru mining camp replica, and an extremely convenient town within walking distance to the slopes.

The Proctor kids skiing Red River-4th Generation to do so! Photo credit to Southern Exposure, Inc.

We look forward to more family ski adventures this season!

My next post will be an opinion piece about loading of children on lifts with bars…


Gaining Traction

I’ve been told that the safety bar discussion is gaining traction nationally.  We should see an educational push supported by the National Ski Areas Association and the California Ski Industry Association enacted perhaps as early as this season. The “Kids on Lifts” program includes loading guidelines and kid-friendly seat targets.  I would love if you would let me know if you notice increased chairlift safety programs at your local resorts.

I can’t tell you how thrilled this makes our family.  We look forward to the day that the ANSI B77 standards are updated to include safety restraints on chairlifts.