It was a tough first day at Stowe to be back to snowboarding. Boston was experiencing an early season blizzard. 200 miles northwest of Boston, Stowe was just getting the deep cold and heavy winds, with only light snow. Just enough snow to drop visibility to a few dozen feet, at best.
I have enough fleece, silks and outerwear to deal with the cold and was ready to deal with the conditions. Unfortunately, the winds were knocking around the chairlifts. That meant closed lifts and lifts on wind hold. If you could get on a lift, you were getting blasted by the wind, giving you a cold ride up. Monday was one of the worst weather days I’ve had riding a snowboard.
The weather turned better on Tuesday and back to bad on Wednesday. Cold and wind were the prevailing conditions. Thursday was a fantastic day, with warm temperatures and bright sunshine. It felt like March.
The trail conditions were mixed. Some trails had some thin, soft natural snow. Most had rock hard man-made snow. I managed to grab a run on Goat during the brief window it was open. We managed to hit Whirlaway just as the ski patrol was dropping the rope to open the run. Those runs were the highlights of our snowboarding week.
But we were back on the slopes mostly for the kids. They were old enough to start enjoying the snow slopes.
It was a tough day for the kids. The Boy was having his first snowboard lesson and The Girl was having her first ski lesson. They would go out for a few minutes, get pummeled by the wind, get cold and come back inside for hot cocoa. Needless to say, their skills did not increase much after the first day. Shortly after lunch, The Boy had the ski school call us. He was “tired of being an icicle.”
We had a great experience with Stowe’s new 3 Ski Adventure. It’s a full day program for 3-year old kids, separate from the bigger kids’ Adventure Center. The instructors and personnel in the center were very friendly and caring.
The Girl had a great time inside and out. We managed to sneak a few visits while she was riding the magic carpet and slipping down the slopes. It’s hard to expect too much from a 3-year old on skis. They barely have enough strength and coordination to put on their skis.
The 3 Ski Center realizes that it’s about the kids having a good time. That’s what we wanted. If The Girl had a good time, she would want to come back again. That means more snowboarding for me.
She had a good time. There was a hearty “See you tomorrow” for the instructors at the end of the day and she was excited to head off for ski school each morning. Her excitement may have been as much about her new pink helmet as it was for the skiing.
The Boy was with the bigger kids in the Adventure Center. He wanted to try snowboarding. (Yeah!!) The Adventure Center is more chaotic, but the kids are big enough to deal with the larger room.
As with The Girl, we wanted The Boy to have a good time. We didn’t expect him to be carving up the slopes. We just wanted a good introduction to snowboarding. That’s what he got. The weather was tough, but he had a good time.
We picked him up early on the last day and dragged him up a chairlift with us. He was not ready for a bigger slope yet. He was barely making turns. But he was fearless and willing to take the inevitable falls that come with learning to snowboard.
Our trip to Stowe was a success. The kids had smiles on their faces. We had some great runs, so we had smiles on our faces.