Our First Family Ski Trip: Mammoth, CA

The first time I ever went skiing was in December 2016. It was before kids and the first winter post-collegiate running. On this particular trip, I had a meltdown moment on the top of the mountain. This was literally my first time ever skiing and at the time we could not afford lessons for ourselves. The plan was to just go for it and teach ourselves. Lance is much better at trying new things than I am. He actually loves the challenge and the risk of it all. I, not so much. I like comfort and safety and routine. I’m really not amazing when it comes to trying something new, especially when that new thing involves a steep, snowy mountain.

Lance and I on our first ski trip, Dec. 2016, Deer Valley

To keep things short, I cried on the top of the mountain and Lance had to convince the lift operator to let us go back down. It was super embarrassing, but I eventually found my groove after sticking on the bunny slopes. By the end of the trip, I felt relatively comfortable on my skis.

Fast-forward 5 years later. Now, this trip was my second time skiing. With 3 pregnancies between these 5 years, it never worked out to ski again. Even though my last ski experience was over 5 years ago, I was going into this ski trip relatively confident. I was pretty sure there would be no mountain meltdowns.

Jan. 2022, Mammoth

And I was wrong. And to be honest, this mountain meltdown was worse than the first one. It was more than tears, it was full on panic. I was breathing heavily and I couldn’t get my boot back into one of the skis. I was so mad at Lance for pushing me out of my comfort zone and I was so mad at myself for being such a baby about it all.

We eventually got onto flat ground and made it to meet my sister and the boys. The afternoon got better as I stuck to the course I was comfortable with and got to watch my very brave son fly down the mountain with Lance.

While things definitely got better and I stuck to the mellow green slopes (schoolyard + gingerbread) if I am honest, I have had this nagging feeling of being disappointed in myself. Why couldn’t I be more fearless? Why couldn’t I demonstrate greater grace under pressure? How am I still prone to mountain meltdowns 5 years later?

These have been the questions floating in my head the past week. And while I don’t have all the answers, here are a few take aways:

1. This is the way God wired me to be. I like comfort zones. I like the feeling of doing something over and over again. This has only increased since having children. And that is ok. I think after this trip I have a better understanding of the elements I do like about skiing. I love going slow and controlled. I love the feeling of being able to look around me and really soak in the beautiful snowy landscape. I love watching Hudson and Lance enjoy the mountain. I think next time, I’ll be totally okay with being on the sidelines or just doing a better job at owning the bunny slopes.

2. I still take myself way too seriously. I need to loosen up. The great thing about skiing for people like me is that it helps to teach you the importance of letting go and not overthinking it. My reaction on the mountain was actually a helpful meter for where I am currently at. I’m too in my head, too anxious and still care way too much about the opinions of others. My hope is that next time I get the chance to ski, I will have experienced growth in this area of my life.

3. I am tired! This is one of the biggest takeaways. I’m still nursing Thatcher. I am also still waking up almost every 2 hours in the middle of the night. Thatcher’s sleep the night before was especially poor in a new environment, an uncomfortable pack n play, and the altitude. My body felt weak. I mentally felt exhausted. Usually I am able to manage but I think the tiredness in combination with fear, made it difficult for me to hold it together.

Mountain meltdown aside, this trip will always hold some memories I don’t want to forget:

1. Hudson’s confidence and bravery with skiing. He really inspired me the way he had no fear. He loved his ski teacher, Kevin. He loved going fast with dad (we did get one of those kid ski harnesses, which helped a lot). I loved watching him act like a true big kid on this trip. He was a pro getting off the ski lift. He walked/wobbled all by himself in his ski boots all day. He really impressed me on this trip and I can’t wait to see him grow to love this sport.

2. The 90 degree pool and swimming together after both days of skiing. Thatcher was happiest in this pool. I loved watching his big grin and the way he happily splashed. It kind of felt like he was telling us: “guys, finally something I can enjoy too!”

3. On the second day, Lance stuck with me in the morning and we stayed on the course I was comfortable with. We did it over and over. I loved this time together. I loved riding the ski lift and chatting and actually enjoying my time. It was peaceful and there were no tears.

4. Thankful my sister was able to join us. We even got to do a couple runs together with her on a snowboard. We did a couple really easy runs together. I love her and thankful for extra time with her.

5. Latin Market for lunch on the second day was definitely my favorite meal of the trip and the perfect afternoon break.

6. Ending our trip with good coffee and June Lake. This felt like the perfect ending to the trip. We got amazing coffee from The Lift, which is right in town. Looking at their website, I wish I actually went in and even ordered food. Such a cute spot. It was the perfect thing to sip on as we walked around the frozen lake. We even saw a couple boys playing hockey on the lake which really made Hudson smile (he is currently obsessed with all things hockey).

Overall, a special trip. A ski trip with two littles is definitely a different experience. It was quite a lot of work and stressful at times, but these are memories I will always hold onto and I hope Hudson will too.

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