Plastic sleds and New Year's Eve at Beaver Run - Sunday, December 31, 2006

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Another beautiful day in Breckenridge and everyone is getting in the groove of things.  Everyone is getting more in tune with the mountain and the slopes.  Everyone is not looking forward to the end of the trip, but we know we have to do one thing that we see each and every day outside of our window: sledding down a hill, street style on a plastic sled.  We went to Wal-Mart and bought plastic sleds.  The kids loved this more than skiing and it is alot less expensive.  By the way, if you ever forget any winter clothes or need extras of anything, Wal-Mart has it all at everyday low prices...this slogan is more true here than anywhere else.  I personally do not like the Wal-Mart shopping experience, but it's worth the hassle.

After many hours of zooming down in all possibe combos (solos, family, son/father, daughter/father, friend/friend, etc.), we learned alot.  We learned that sledding in black dress shoes is not a good idea, that one of the Dads did NOT know there was a locker in the basement of the hotel and would store everyting at The Maggie, which was quite far from the hotel, and that the Sports setting on my Canon camera is the BEST.  We got the most amazing photos and videos of this day and it was one of the most memorable moments of the whole trip.

Now, tonight was New Year's Eve and we wanted to do something low key...not in town. We had many kids in the party and we all wanted to congregate somewhere quieter and that can hold us.  So, we planned to have a Spaghetti dinner at the Ss, which was great along with some drinks and we all headed over to Beaver Run where toward the back there was a game room, lounge area that was pretty secluded.  We opted to stay indoors, but we can see the fireworks through the glass windows.  We had the television on set to Dick Clark's Rockin New Year's Eve at Times Square, some iPOD music, some drink, and we were golden.

As the clock struck 12, we celebrated the year, looked forward to the next one, and felt how truly blessed we were to be there celebrating in the snow.  It was a first for me at almost 40!  It was great and we danced and talked into the night.  Until next year we said!  Unitl next year!

Family learns to ski during beautiful sunny, cold days!

Thursday, December 28, 2006 - Saturday, December 30, 2006

As the week progresses, you get used to the whole process.  Basically, your cold always and you have to carry alot of things across the hotel, snow, etc.  It is work, but it is good work because your family is having fun.  Because the kids were 3 and 7, they needed help.  We had lockers at Beaver Run that we would store our equipment.  The equipment was rented on-site in the lobby area and was probably more expensive than the ones in town, but you could not beat the convenience.  We actually were able to put on the equipment outside the locker area and ski down to the ski lift, but it always took a long time.

During these two days, the family learned to ski.  There was snow everywhere, but the temperatures were cold, but not bitter cold.  It was perfect.  U and I stayed on snowboards leaving us alienated from the rest who took up skiing.  This is important to note that in our stubborness to be cool and to learn something different (which I would not change), we did not spend alot of time with everyone else during the day.  We were to busy falling and sitting, falling and sitting.  It took us these days to finally get it, but it was not easy. During one of the afternoons, U and I wanted to go back down the mountain just one more time WITHOUT falling (which was not easy to do).  Everyone joked that we would go Brokeback if a storm hit where we would be forced to spoon to stay warm.  Yeah...right...don't think so, but they got a good laugh and we made it down OK.

Like with anything that you have never tried before, snowboarding was on my list.  I am glad I did it then, but the next two times I have gone on a snow trip, I have elected to ski instead.  I spend more time with the family and everyone is literally on the same "board."

Settling in at Beaver Run and capping each night at Maggie's! - Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

We woke up early and I had a fart to learn to snowboard, while every other sane family wanted to take ski lessons.  U and I decided on snowboarding and we would drag our wives and sons into it.  Ana used our daughter as excuse (a very valid one I might add) to not do anything, but U's wife was gung-ho.  As we set up the lessons and walked down to catch the lift, we spent 10 minutes talking to the Aussie instructor name Jacob.  He explained everyting and showed us how to put everything on.  U's wife decided it was enough and took herself out of the lesson.  It was a great message for the kids who weren't very happy either, but the Dads were going to SNOWBOARD and that was it.

We spent the day sitting, literally sitting on the snow.  Actually, the sitting comes right after the falling.  You see snowboarding is much harder than skiing:  both legs are strapped to the same board, you don't have poles to help you, the falling happens quick and hard (usually on your tail bone or your back), and you tend to be less in control.  Also, the lift thing is more complex and you have to watch out for all the careening-out-of-countrol snowboarders all around you (who are learning just like you).

The snow was falling hard that day and blinding.  There was a special enclosed tunnel that allowed you to go up the hill on an escalator type thing.  It was convenient and better than taking the lift.  After many attempts and hours of lessons, we decided to call it quits for the day.  The visibility was poor and we were getting hungry.

Each night was the same tradition:  a drink and some appetizer at The Maggie.  It is located at the base of Peak 9 by the Quicksilver SuperChair. It's bascially a bar with bar food, but one of the highlights of the trip where we all congregated regardless of where each family went each day.  It was one of the constants before dinner.

Miamians skiing in Colorado for the first time! - Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Most Miamians claim to have skiied along the East Coast of the United States (upstate New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina), but that is not really skiing until you move west.  For some time, our friends and I wanted to plan a big skiing trip during the busiest and most expensive time of year:  week after Christmas to ring in the New Year.  Not only did we do it once, but we did it two years in a row and in the same place:  Breckenridge, Colorado.   We picked this location because it had everything for the beginner and more advanced skiier, plus the S's visited the year before all by themselves AND they wanted to do it again with alot more people.

IMPORTANT TIP:  To really take advantage of the best deals for this HIGH SEASON time, it is important that you book early.  Start looking at options in July or August prior to your trip and book early.  There are many non-stop options into Denver for access to most ski resorts and if you go to Vail, there is non-stop flights there as well.  As for accommodations, don't just stick with the name brands like Marriott or resorts like the one we stayed at.  There are many privately-owned options where you can find roomier and more convenient options.  For these options, you can go to Vacation Rental By Owner ( or contact a local real estate company like Great Western Lodging (

We landed into Denver in the evening with the Us.  It was cold.  The kind of cold that makes your bones hurt, but we were happy to be there.  There were about five other families flying in for the same week:  different flights, days, schedules, but same thing in mind:  ski the Rockies and start creating some memories just like when most of us were kids.  One of the best things about traveling in large groups is that each evening one family is selected to host dinner.  We all pile into each other's hotel room, cabin, townhouse, or whatever to get a taste of home cooking and good old banter. 

Upon arrival into Denver, we decided NOT to rent a car and take a Shuttle Van with Colorado Mountain Express ( to Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center (  Not to be confused with Beaver Creek (a resort/city in Colorado), this is the less luxurious, but a family-friendly hotel/resort about two hours from Denver, Colorado near the heart of Breckenridge.  As for the shuttle ride, it was perfect to just sit back and not have to worry about driving at night in the bitter cold.  We even convinced the driver to stop at McDonald's.

As we drove into the night, we wondered what the week would have in store for us.  We wondered if everyone was on time.  We wondered why we didn't book a beach vacation instead.  We quickly remembered the beach is nothing new for us, but barreling down a slope in snow was new to us and the opportunity to experience it with a group of friends was priceless.

Arriving late into the night, we unloaded the tons of bags from the shuttle to the reception area.  It was a long way from the reception area, but we finally checked into room 4206.  It was comfortable room with one Queen bed a small kitchenette, exposed bath tub, small living area with sofa bed, and a view of the back side of the resort.   Frankly, the room was a little dated, more long than wide making it difficult to pass through the room without bumping into others or things, but it would have to do just fine.  We made plans for the next day to meet for breakfast and take some lessons.