Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ski Report - Week 1

The girls have looked forward all year for the chance to get to go skiing again this winter. The day finally came this past Friday! We are able to get a really good group price through our homeschool group, otherwise it's not something we would be able to do. Last year our group skied at Mt. Spokane, but this year we are at Silver Mountain in Kellogg. It's a whole new experience!

It took me an hour and fifteen minutes last year to drive up to Mt. Spokane, on sometimes icy switchbacks up the mountain. Just a little nerve-wracking for Mom! Silver Mountain is much more convenient. It's a straight shot to Kellogg on the interstate. Well, not really straight, as we have to go over a mountain pass to get there, but still interstate, so usually clear. Then we get to ride "the world's longest gondola" up the mountain--a 30-minute ride--to get to the ski runs. That's where the adventure came in for us this week!

Our family has ridden up the gondola a few times before, but always in the summer.I was looking forward to seeing what the view looked like in the winter. Friday, it was a little foggy and there wasn't much snow on the ground at the gondola base where we parked.

The view wasn't very inspiring as we started our ride, trusting that it would indeed be snowier at the top! (The plexiglass windows of the gondola cars are very scratched-up so the pictures from inside the cars aren't real clear.)

Part-way up the first mountain, looking back at the town. We just really haven't had that much snow this winter.

The little town of Wardner tucked between the first and second mountains we went over...

Finally, snow! The view from the top (taken from inside the ski lodge, where the windows are clearer):

The girls were excited to get started. We had arrived early in plenty of time for them to practice for a bit on the bunny slope before time for their lessons. They had a great time... and I enjoyed drinking my coffee, doing a bit of work online, knitting some, and visiting with a friend from the warmth of the lodge.

But then the wind kicked up. Snow was blowing everywhere, the trees were swaying, and those gondola cars? Yeah, they were swingin' in the wind, too! Yikes! And that's the only way down! My friend and I wondered if they ever had to shut the gondola down with people "stuck" up on top. Lodging is down at the gondola base. The "Mountainhaus" is a coffee/sandwich shop, not a place to sleep.

After lunch I told the girls I thought we might leave earlier than we had planned, because of the wind. Then I saw the signs that had been posted around, "Do to high winds the last ride down will be at 4:30." (Yes, they spelled "due" d-o. I was tempted to take a pen and correct their spelling, but I refrained!)

It was about 2:45 when we headed down. I asked the attendant as we boarded the gondola if they ever had to stop the gondola with people still on the mountain, and she said they never had. So I guess that's comforting. I was somewhat expecting the gondola to stop a few times on our way down, just to wait for gusts, but it didn't. It really wasn't as scary from inside the car as it had looked from the lodge. So we survived! And we hope it's not as windy next week!


The Watts Family said...

That sounds like a scarey Gondola ride indeed but wonderful you got to get that ski trip in!! ~Blessings Heather :)

Nancy M. said...

I think the gondola would have scared me, I don't really like heights. I'm glad y'all had fun!