Saturday, April 3, 2010

Let it snow!

Wow, I just disappeared there, didn't I? I was sure that I'd have time to put up a quick post before we left town last Saturday, something like:
but it didn't happen. And once we were in the mountains, I really didn't feel like facing a computer. So I pretty much didn't.

We left for Mammoth last Saturday, to spend spring break skiing and hanging out in front of a fire. I, of course, had my own packing priorities (it helps that my ski gear mostly lives in one place, so there was very little searching to be done):
That bag held a whole lot of goodies.
That's two spindles, three sock projects, a hat, two neckwarmers, and a shawlet. I actually was fully prepared to bring more, but decided, wisely, to leave the rest behind. It's probably just as well that I did, as I finished far less than I brought, and I didn't even touch the spindles (I'd forgotten, as I always do, how tired my hands are after a day of skiing the steeps -- it takes some serious pole-work to make those turns).

I did, however, finish a neckwarmer and an earwarmer (not enough yarn to make two neckwarmers). The neckwarmer is currently on Older Daughter's head (she likes it better to hold her hair back and keep her ears warm), but it's a wider version of this:
Isn't it cute? That's Mary Lou's new pattern, in Mini Mochi; I tossed the skein and pattern in at the last minute, and I'm so glad that I did. The pattern is such fun, and perfect for the long color changes in a yarn like Mini Mochi. I knitted madly on the neckwarmer all the way up on Saturday, and finished it and the earwarmer (for Younger Daughter) on Tuesday, which was our rest day.

That rest day actually turned out to be perfect timing. We skiied Sunday (which was Older Daughter's twelfth birthday; how did I get to be old enough to have a twelve-year-old daughter?), and it was an absolutely perfect day. I think Older Daughter felt that it was a good way to spend her birthday.
She looks pretty happy at the end of the day, doesn't she?

The snow was gorgeous, and the mountain was nearly deserted. I don't think Rick and I waited in line once all day. We skiied the top of the mountain, which wasn't even open the last time we went up, and the girls took a lesson. It always amazes me how happy I am to be back on skis. I took a skiing hiatus for a number of years, while I was pregnant, and the girls were little, and it surprised me utterly how comfortable I was the first winter we went back. I got those skis on my feet, and it was like my body remembered everything it had to know, how it feels to walk in ski boots, the moves that make it possible to stop suddenly, turning to face the top of the slope, the joy of speed. And this week, the snow was FAST. I like going fast.

(Does anyone remember this VW commercial from a few years ago? The first time Rick saw that fast sitting in the front seat, glowing malevolently, he took one look at me and broke up laughing. He didn't stop for a while. This might make even more sense if you know that his nickname for me for years was Mariana -- as in Mario Andretti. I like to go fast. Heh.)

We'd always planned to take Tuesday off, to put a break in the middle of four days of skiing, and our timing turned out to be perfect. Because on Tuesday, a storm blew in and dropped 18 inches of perfect powder all over Mammoth. And it got cold. It was down to about 4 degrees at night, which meant that the snow stayed light and fluffy. Younger Daughter spent some of the day outside, building snowmen and playing in the powder.
I stayed inside and knitted my Turkish socks.
(You can see there how ski boots chew up my ankles.) Aren't they gorgeous? And SO fun to knit!
I've changed them a bit, and I think these will fit my feet better than the original version. I'd forgotten how much fun two-stranded colorwork really is. It feels like it goes quickly, because I'm always motivated to finish just one more motif. Rick's very impressed with them, and has asked whether I'd knit him a sweater like this. The answer is yes, but most definitely NOT at this gauge (about 7.5 sts/in).

So there it is. A perfect week of skiing, almost no lines, plenty cold. I think that one of the best bits, for me and Rick, was seeing how much the girls enjoyed themselves. There's nothing more fun than seeing them become more and more confident, not only on skis, but just in general. At the end of each day, they were leading us to the runs they'd liked the best, poring over the map of the mountain and planning how to get to where they wanted to take us, which chair lifts to get on, and which runs to take.

On the third day, Older Daughter stayed with her lesson to ski with some new friends she'd made, and we took Younger Daughter off to ski with us. She was doing so well that I asked her if she wanted to ski down a black diamond run (an easy one, honestly), something she could brag about to her sister later. She thought about it, and said maybe not just yet, so we planned to take another way down. As we were skiing toward the lift, I heard this voice behind me saying, "Mama, I've reconsidered my decision." (Honestly, that's a quote. I about bust a gut trying not to laugh.) "I think I'd like to ski that black diamond." So we did. And she nailed it. Slow, but steady, and she was so proud of herself afterward, I thought she'd burst. I think this is what they mean when they say that sports are good for kids, especially girls, that they increase confidence and positive body-image and all of that.

Not to mention the fact that they're fun.
Top of the mountain, 11,000+ feet. (Rick and I kept having to pop our ears as we skiied up and down the 3,000 feet of vertical drop on the mountain.)
It was very cold, though. The last two days, all of the skiers on the mountain looked like bandits, with no bit of skin showing anywhere.
Our last day, the mountain was covered in absolutely stunning, completely untouched powder. And every skier wanted a piece of the untouched snow. As soon as the lifts opened to the top, it was like a land-grab, skiers making mad dashes for any untouched run they could find. Rick and I managed to bag first tracks on one of the bowls on the backside, and spent the rest of the day feeling quite smug about it. (Turns out, I'm not very mature at all about some things.) The snow was absolutely gorgeous, like skiing in clouds.

And now we're home. There's laundry to do, and a dog to walk, and a house to get ready for a new week. But it was so good to get away. I didn't fret about work, or about any of the things I've been spinning my wheels about lately. I didn't think about deadlines, or about anything more pressing than finding that new snow, making that next turn, catching that next ride up the mountain, and cheering the girls on as they skiied away down their runs.


Lori said...

welcome home! it sounds like a great trip! i know what you mean -- i have no idea how i got old enough to have a 28-year old daughter. that one has me stumped.

and i love those Turkish socks, such great colors.

Lynne said...

Sounds like a perfect break - physically, mentally and family-wise. Glad to hear that it all went so well.

A belated happy birthday to Older Daughter.

Nana Sadie said...

Sounds pretty darn close to perfect to me!
Those socks are great, but your poor ankles :(
I almost envy your trip - ok, I do, but not for the skiing. Raised a dancer, I was taught early on to avoid anything that might break my leg/ankle and end my "career," so never got to try skiing. I've often thought cross-country would be fun, tho'...
They call you Mariana, eh? ROFLOL! (yes, I can see it...I've seen you knit sweaters!)
And I have no idea how I got to be old enough to have a 32 year old daughter, either!
I missed you!

twinsetellen said...

What can I say? Just that I am delighted for you that the week was so wonderful. As Sallee notes, we missed you, but boy, was it for a great cause.

Mary Lou said...

And our snow just melted. Thanks for the kind words on the pattern, glad your daughter likes it. Happy Easter if you do it.

Stell said...

I love the just-in-time production of knitwear, very clever time management. And Turkish socks are my new fav too.
perhaps we need to rediscover skiing post small children? You made it sound like a perfect holiday

Jane said...

Sounds like it was just what you needed. Think we all need a break from time to time to rejuvenate ourselves. Enjoy the rest of the weekend

Rachel said...

Sounds just like the perfect time away you needed, good for you :)

jill said...

My husband's PE class use to ski Mammoth (he grew up in Bishop). The last time we were there we cross-countried. Sounds like you and your family had a blast. That's the way to do Spring Break!

twinsetjan said...

It's hard to say how much I wanted to be there with you!! After being suddenly relocated from Colorado Springs back to the east coast last summer, my skiing has been very much curtailed. Glad you had such a great time!

Bea said...

Love the socks and the neckwarmer/earwarmer combo. I've never been skiing. You've made it sound quite fun though! I love your daughters smile, you can't say happy any better then that.

Rachael said...

So glad you had such fun!! Sounds like a wonderful trip.

Now that I see the swift with everything you managed to pack into it, I'm even more curious!

EGunn said...

Oh, that sounds wonderful! I'm so glad you got to take a real spring break; it looks like a great trip.

The socks are lovely. I've never done stranded knitting in a sock, but I bet it would be fun. They're certainly fun to look at.

Happy birthday to Older Daughter, and congratulations to Younger Daughter on her black diamond!


The socks are beautiful!

I never skied, but used to roller skate like a demon, so I appreciate a little bitty bit your feelings of speed and freedom on the slopes.

RobinH said...

Ah, marvelous! I used to ski a lot and you've just brought back to me how much fun it is. Especially out west.

And so true about colorwork- love the socks!

Alwen said...

I love Turkish socks. I really have to get over my mental block about colorwork (beyond double-knitted).

It's pretty surreal for me to see all that snow and hear about cold, when last week we had three days in March that broke 80 F. It makes me feel like I don't know where I am in the year!

AlisonH said...

I love that sock and thoroughly enjoyed the description of your trip: I've never skiied, will never ski having no balance now and no sun tolerance, but I loved hearing how much you all loved what you were doing together. Vicarious vacations: a slippery slope.

Carrie K said...

Fun! At least it sounds like fun. Glad Older Daughter dared to reconsider her decision!

Those Turkish socks look quite fab but your poor ankle. Fun is suffering. ;) or something like that.

Willow said...

You had a wonderful spring break! It sounded more like Christmas break :)

Linda said...

I envy you. We haven't been skiing in quite a few years. Fresh poser is the best! Glad you had such a great family time.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful memory makers you're gifting your daughters. This spring break vacation certainly etched lasting imagines in their minds. So beautiful. Love it that YD braved the Black Diamond run!!!