Saturday, December 14, 2013

A day in the snow

It was -22 degrees C in Stowe this morning when we arrived for our very first cross country skiing lesson. Friends from UVM, Karen and Sonya and their families had invited us out for a day in the snow. I warned them that we had no experience at all of cross country skiing, or any skiing at all, and that I was one of the most uncoordinated people on the planet, but they were undeterred. And we were so excited!

So, they kitted us out in about 5 layers of clothing, and off we went.
As you can see, we were well wrapped up
I was quietly hopeful that cross country skiing would turn out to be the sport that I would excel in - well, perhaps not excel, but at least be capable of doing. For about 3 minutes and  50 feet of gliding. Then I fell over. And again. And again. Looking out at the 4 mile hike they'd planned for us, I took off the skis and put on some snow shoes instead. That was more like my idea of fun - and it was a great way to hike through the snow.

My hair hasn't turned grey - it's just frozen!
The rest of my family happily proved to be much more agile and persistent.

Rose, Sonya and Karen

Bruce and Lizzy took to it like ducks to water. Lizzy was soon way out front with the expert families. Sonya and Karen have had their families out on the snow since they were babies. Karen said, before her children could walk, she would pull them behind her on a sledge as she skied, and as soon as they could walk they were up on skis.
Em took a little longer to catch on. But on the way back, she suddenly got the knack.

We skied (or snow shoe-ed) past snowy forest and frozen rivers. I could see why Karen and her family skied every weekend - the beauty and the quietness were entrancing.

Rose and Emily take a break from the skis
We stopped at a little hut where we drank hot chocolate in front of a roaring fire. And then the trek back seemed to just whiz past - we were so much faster and more confident. I'm sure, by Karen and Sonya's standards, we were still the most uncoordinated family ever - but we were thrilled by the experience.

Karen made a wonderful lunch to warm us all up when we got back - homemade tomato soup, cheese toasties with homemade bread, and fruit. And then we headed back through the snow, picking up hot cider from the cider mill on the way home. We spent a pleasant evening watching Cool Runnings, about a Jamaican bobsled team (if you haven't seen it, I recommend it highly) and dreamed about a trip to Lake Placid (where you can do bobsledding - there's no stopping us now!).

And now it is 9.30pm and everyone else has fallen into bed. As I sit here, snug and warm in the cottage, it is -12 degrees outside, and the snow is falling and is forecast to keep falling all night. We will wake up to several inches of snow in the morning. Karen and Todd and their children, Bjorn and Annaliese, were eagerly looking forward to 10 inches of soft new snow in Stowe tomorrow, so they could head out alpine snowing. But we, I think, will nurse our bruises, remember with a sense of accomplishment this perfect day, and stay inside to decorate our Christmas tree.

Thank you to Karen and Todd, Sonya and Brian, and your wonderful children, for your patience and kindness, and for giving this kiwi family the happiest day.

ps we did indeed wake up to a blanket of snow. 

What lake? What mountains?

crazy kiwi kids!

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