For years, I've tracked my vertical feet during ski days. When I was a beginner to intermediate skier, skiing on my own, I would typically ski close to 30K vertical feet in a day, but it was on easy terrain. These days, when I teach, we typically ski 12K-15K vertical feet in a day. A few years ago, on a ski trip to CO with some other instructors, we hit 22K nearly every day, but that was all on tough terrain.
Earlier this year, in some clinics, I hit 22K to 27K feet per day, while skiing with other ski coaches. Those days were split between easy and hard terrain.
Yesterday, the kids had off school, the weather was supposed to be perfect, I had a gift certificate to Stowe, one of Vermont's most expensive resorts, and we decided on a family ski day. Stowe is famous for four runs - the Front Four. They are named Liftline, Goat, Starr and National. Yesterday was the first time I'd ever been to Stowe with each of those trails open top to bottom. My son and I skied all of them, plus a bunch of tree runs, some other single and double black diamonds, and lots of bumps. My wife and daughter skied most of what my son and I skied, although they bailed on a few of the tougher runs, especially as they got tired.
My daughter really struggled on the top of Goat - one of the tougher ski trails in the northeast, but she mostly held her own. My son skied great and we talked about skiing and teaching skiing a lot during the day. He made some great observations about my skiing. The kids didn't fight, the snow was amazing, the sun was out, and we just had an amazing day on the snow.
Finally, after 27K vertical feet, including finishing the day with a double black diamond run followed by a tree run, my son and I admitted we were done. Toast. Worn out. My wife and daughter had quit a bit earlier, so we met them at the lodge. My son and I skied 27K vertical feet and only one run was easy. Everything else had been challenging terrain.
After skiing at Stowe, it's almost mandatory to stop for an adult beverage at a local establishment called the Matterhorn. My wife and I had a couple beverages there while the kids played video games. Then, it was time for our dinner reservation. Regretfully, there was a mix-up, and the restaurant where we were going is closed on Tuesdays. Bummer.
But, I remembered a fairly new Mexican place in Stowe called Frida's that has gotten great reviews. I would have to say that they are clearly cooking the best Mexican food (in a restaurant) in the state of Vermont right now. Their salsas were very interesting - unusual and very flavorful. I had the "Tres Tacos" plate, which seemed appropriate because my ski day ended on the tree run called "Tres Amigos". I had one pork carnitas taco, one oyster taco and one beef tongue taco (I can hear my few readers being disgusted already). But, the food was really excellent. I had a side of roasted poblano peppers and onions in cream that was unlike anything I'd encountered in a Mexican restaurant before. My wife had an amazing duck dish in a pumpkin seed sauce. The kids loved their entrees as well. My wife and I had a couple more adult beverages with dinner.
My son was driving home. On the way home, my wife and I were talking. We were just glowing from the day. Great skiing, a wonderful day with our family, great food - what more could a person want.
Our son is 16 and will be off to college about 18 months from now. We hadn't skied together as a family for a full day in 5 years. We are running out of time for days like this.
My wife and I both agreed that it was a "Top 10" day - the kind of day we'll talk about in the old folks home many years from now. Hopefully our children will remember the day in a similar manner later on in life. Hopefully, long after my wife and I are gone, they'll be together someday and reminisce about that wonderful family day at Stowe.