Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Less Tired

Asleep by 8:00 last night and I slept for 11+ hours. I feel much better today.

It's supposed to be rainy today, so I'm going to lift tonight. But, the next three days are supposed to be warmer and nicer, so I'll shoot for some runs later this week. By Saturday, it now looks like it might get to almost 80F. Ski season could be headed for an early end this year.

But, running outside in shorts and a short sleeve shirt later this week will be nice, so there are good and bad things to be found in the weather.

Now, I have to decide when to change my car tires. I use studded tires in the winter and summer-only tires the rest of the year on my WRX. Changing over too early to summer-only tires can be very risky if we get even a little bit of snow. April 24th is the date where the average nighttime low rises to 33F. It's not until June 7th that the record low is above freezing, but that's a bit late to change my tires. Right now, I'm thinking that I'll shoot for somewhere between 4/12 and 4/19.

Monday, March 29, 2010


This past weekend was my last weekend teaching skiing this season. As much as I love the job and as much as I love skiing, I'm just plain tired right now. I haven't had many days since Thanksgiving where I wasn't working at the mountain or at my day job. Three of the days I took off work from my day job were spent in skiing clinics, where I was the student.

I seemed to be sicker this past winter than in previous years. I caught a bad cold early in the ski season and the cough has still not fully resolved. It seemed that every time I was getting close to being 100%, another cold would get me. I also took my first ever sick days from teaching skiing this winter, and this is my 9th year of teaching. This could be simply because I'm getting older and pushing so hard, but it could also be about diet, lack of sleep, or maybe just bad luck. But, I hope to not have any more winters like this one, in terms of how healthy and fit I feel while skiing.

So, it's time to get some extra rest for a while. I don't think I'm going to work out at all tonight. I'm going home from work, eating dinner, and going to bed. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day after a long night of sleep tonight. By the end of the week, we are going to have some 70 degree days, so I'm looking forward to running in shorts and a short-sleeve shirt.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Love/Hate Workout

Doing my 5x5 power-lift workout is really one of my favorites. I think. It's a really simple workout:

Squat: 5x5
Bench Press: 5x5
Deadlift: 5x5

Sometimes, I take a 3 minute rest between sets so I can lift a bit heavier and other times, I use a 2 minute break. So, excluding warm-ups, it's only a total of 75 reps. And, with a 2-minute break, I can be in and out of the gym in 40 minutes or less. But, it's also an intense workout. Doing only 5 reps per set, I can lift fairly heavy, at least by my standards.

So, I'm a bit sore today. I'm going to do an easy run after work, which will hopefully help with the soreness. And then, I will spend my last weekend teaching skiing for the season. Nine years of teaching have gone by incredibly fast.

But, starting next weekend, I can run on the weekends, which I haven't done since about Thanksgiving.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A brief lull

I took yesterday as a rest day. I got home at a reasonable time and cooked dinner for my family. I relaxed a bit and just watched some TV (Biggest Loser from Tuesday on the DVR). And then I went to bed early and slept late. I needed all of that.

Today, I released a new version of our software to production. Even though I have the title of Director of Information Technology, after a recent staffing change, I basically am Information Technology. It's amazing to me that in the current economy that we aren't getting many qualified applicants for a high tech job that pays very well by Vermont standards. Here is one response we got yesterday:

"I've designed, implemented and managed all of this at a major leading medical center. Where is the incentive? Salary is not enough. Equity?"

I probably can offer an equity stake in the company, but this just struck me the wrong way. I have no interest in courting someone who came across so arrogantly in an initial contact. Maybe I misread it, but the person didn't even send a resume. I'm not even going to respond.

So, after a rest day yesterday, tonight is a lifting night - 5x5 of the powerlifts. Tomorrow will be very cold, but I'm planning a very easy run of 60-90 minutes after work tomorrow.

My focus on eating "primally" (This phrase comes from The Primal Blueprint, but primal is somewhat like Paleo and somewhat like Evolutionary Fitness and who knows what other "systems" out there) is getting better and better. No grains for a couple days. I'm being really careful about carbs. Last night, I had roasted zucchini with a meat-based "pasta" sauce. This morning was eggs with veggies and cheese. Lunch was a salad with some protein and an olive oil based dressing. Bit by bit, it gets easier to stay away from grains. But, bread and potatoes are probably my two favorite foods, so it's going to be a long battle. And beer is made from grains, isn't it?

Winter is on its way back for the next few days - not much snow, but lots of cold.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Short but intense

I had a meeting yesterday at 3:00. I had another one at 6:30. I figured the first meeting would end by 4:00, I could wrap up a few things in the office, and get out for a run of at least an hour between the meetings. It didn't matter if I was sweaty and smelly for the second meeting; it was a teleconference.

But, the first meeting dragged on and on. And, I kept getting assigned new work as part of the discussion in that meeting. I finally got out of the office a little after 5:00. From there, it was a 15 minute walk to my car. Then, I had to change clothes and drive to where I could run on a bike path rather than on sidewalks and through traffic.

By the time I started, I figured I could run for 30 minutes and still make my meeting. So, I figured I had to make those 30 minutes count. I did a five minute warm-up, and then I did 10 x 1 minute repeats, with a one mine rest interval. According to my Forerunner, I was just under a 7:00 pace on average for the repeats. Not fast, but way faster than most of my recent runs.

Then, I had the meeting, I had to do some clothes shopping, get some dinner, etc. I never even went home last night. I stayed with some friends who live 10 minutes away from my office rather than driving an hour home and an hour back. I got to their house at 9:00, pretty much ready for bed, but we stayed up talking for a while.

Oh yeah, Monday night, I did an upper body workout. A few months ago, I got some advice from a guy who just broke the Vermont age 50+ bench press record. I can deadlift and squat more than he can, but he can bench press almost twice what I can. He spotted me on a failed attempt at a new high weight, and commented that I had a really close grip. So, I changed my grip and I instantly lost about 15 pounds on the lift. For the past couple months, I've been just clawing my way back to where I was. But, I feel more stable when lifting and I can feel that the wider grip is pulling more muscles into play. So ultimately, the change should be a good thing. Anyway, on Monday night, I finally got within 5 pounds of where I was a couple months ago. By the end of April, I hope to finally get the lift that I didn't make a couple months ago.

I think tonight is a rest night, lower body weights tomorrow and a longer run on Friday, before skiing this weekend. Saturday morning, when we start skiing, the temperature is supposed to be about 5F. No spring conditions to start that day.

Monday, March 22, 2010

One week to go...

I had my 15th weekend of teaching skiing the past two days. Saturday was amazing, with soft spring snow and huge, soft moguls. Sunday started out slowly after it got below freezing overnight, but about 12:30 yesterday, the snow softened quickly and I spent the rest of the afternoon skiing tough bump runs with just two of my students. Next weekend is the end of teaching, but hopefully not the end of skiing for the season. I hope to ski at least one day per weekend through April, if the snow lasts that long. It's raining right now, but we are expecting some snow in the mountains tomorrow night.

This morning, my legs are pretty beat up from the weekend of skiing, so I'll do an upper body lifting workout tonight. My department at work is down a person right now, so I've got a lot of work to do, and I have to be in the office rather than tele-commuting. This will cost me a lot of time each day, but I'm determined to still get in my workouts.

My eating has been pretty solid, although I have eaten some grains at the mountain the past two weekends. There are very few options for healthy food at a ski resort, and I admit that I've been rather lazy in not packing some lunches for myself. But, I am incrementally cleaning up my diet right now. When ski season ends in a few weeks, my beer consumption will probably drop considerably, which should help me to drop a few pounds.

Friday, March 19, 2010


So much is going on. Today is the last day for an employee of mine where I work. I've been trying to learn as much as I can from him before he is gone. We are moving our application to new servers and a new network. Actually, it's not we, it's me. Doing software updates. Supporting customers. Way too busy.

I've been working out when I can. I ran 6 on Wednesday - my longest run in way too long. I lifted on Monday. I may do some quick sprints tonight, which I also did last Friday - 10 x 20 seconds all out with about a minute of rest.

I have two weekends of ski instruction left. That's basically my refuge right now. I'm looking forward to those four days of teaching over the two weekends.

My biggest fear right now is that after I'm done teaching, that will mean my weekends are free for working. I at least need to do some recreational skiing or some running on the weekends. But, work will be there as well.

My wife got a promotion at work. Her department is down a person, so she's basically doing her old job and her new job. Plus, she's coaching my daughter's Destination Imagination team. They compete tomorrow, so that will be over. Unless, of course, they win a state championship and they want to go to Tennessee for the national championship. They won at states last year, but they moved to a harder category this year, so who knows what will happen? If they win, my wife has to do coaching and fund-raising.

Last night, we deserted the kids to have dinner together in a restaurant, just so we could have some time together.

My son is still teaching skiing and doing school stuff. The SATs are coming up. He seems to have his first choice college picked out - University of Utah. He can't fool me; it's a choice made because of skiing, but it's not a bad choice at all.

Busy, busy, busy. I need a vacation day just so I can play my guitar sometime.

I look at the trouble and see that it's raging,
While my guitar gently weeps.
As I'm sitting here, doing nothing but aging,
Still, my guitar gently weeps.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lifting last night, running tonight

Last night, despite the nice weather, I changed my mind at the last minute and went to the gym to lift. I did an upper body strength workout from The New Rules of Lifting book. That book has three categories of workouts: weight loss, strength, and hypertrophy. I tend to use the workouts from the first two categories, and last night, I wanted an upper-body only workout, which meant I had to use one from the second category. In the weight loss category, all the workouts are full body workouts.

So, I did bench presses, bent over barbell rows, close grip lat pulldowns, dumbbell presses and then lower body Russian Twists. It was a good, intense workout that only lasted 45 minutes. That's one of my workout goals these days, for at least the majority of my workouts. I do either a short and very hard workout, or if I do a longer workout, it's easy. For running, easy means in the 60%-70% of my max HR, which is pretty slow - walking when I come to uphills.

Tonight, I'll go for a run after work; it's another beautiful spring day here in Vermont and I'm going to run the bike path along the shore of Lake Champlain.

Not much else to say - back to work. Only two days until it's time to ski again.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tough week so far

I'm feeling mostly healthy, but work has been pretty intense so far this week. Last night, it was 8:00 by the time I got home and I never made it to the gym. I was too beat to even cook dinner, so we went out for dinner. My wife and I commented during dinner that both of us felt like we'd worked an entire week already and it was only Tuesday.

So, last night was a good test of my Primal Blueprint new rule for the week. Trying to avoid grains in a restaurant can be tough. But, the decision to do that has me really thinking about what I'm eating right now. For the past few months, so much of my eating has been completely mindless, which is really bad. My kids ordered burgers and fries. My wife had a Caesar chicken salad. They brought bread to the table. I had a steak and veggies and a few potatoes. Soon, potatoes and other tubers and legumes will also be gone, but for now, it's good enough to just skip the grains.

Today has been another intense work day, but it won't end as late as last night. So, I'm hoping to get in a run after work, maybe with the dogs or maybe with my wife, or maybe both. After that, I think I'm going to fire up the grill and cook some steaks outside. I haven't used the grill for quite a while right now, but it's up to 50F outside right now, so tonight will be the night.

Right now at work, I'm trying to hire a new developer, learn a lot from an outgoing employee, finish coding and testing a new release, and preparing to re-host our entire IT presence in a different location, using different tools and different operating systems. I'm guessing that I won't be able to take any vacation time for months right now.

But, with only 3 weeks left of ski instruction, I will soon have my weekends back. I just hope that they don't get consumed by work. I need to get back to doing more consistent workouts.

I should probably lift today, but the weather is demanding that I run.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Five Miler

My last run longer than last night's easy five miler was on 12/14/2009. Last night's five miler took forever, it seemed, at a slow and comfortable pace, but I got through the run just fine. It was nice to go out for a run, feeling motivated to run.

After running, I made a simple dinner of haddock broiled with olive oil, steamed green beans with butter, and a salad.

I re-read part of The Primal Blueprint last night. The basics of the Blueprint can be found at the link. I've decided that rather than trying to just turn a switch, I'm going to improve every week. So, this week's goal has been to cut out grains. In reality, that's a tough assignment all by itself.

The PB is made up of 10 simple rules. Some of them, I'm good at already.

"Eat lots of animals, insects and plants" - I do this a lot, except for the insects part. Regretfully, another rule states "Avoid poisonous things". While this might seem easy and obvious, when you find out what Mark Sisson means by poisonous, it isn't so easy. Sugar and grains top the list of things most people wouldn't expect to see on a list of poisons. Gary Taubes would put them on such a list, but not many others. My recent beer consumption would count as ingesting poisonous things. Other items that the PB considers to be poisons, at some level at least, are legumes and other starchy vegetables. My lunch today included black beans and delicata squash, two non-primal foods. Artificial sweeteners make the no-no list. And for some people, dairy products make the list as well. That's a lot of different foods to give up, at least on a regular basis.

Some of the rules I really have nailed down already. I already "Lift Heavy Things". I make time to "Play" - my ski instruction is just like being at day care all weekend, except I'm the bully who gets to make the other kids do what I want. Sometimes anyway. I get lots of sleep. I get out in the sun nearly every day.

I do have a history of subscribing to what Mark calls Chronic Cardio. Isn't that what ultrarunning is as a sport - moving for hours and hours on end? And yet, there is a rule in the Blueprint about moving around a lot at a slow pace. I probably move too much and much of the time at too fast a pace. There is also a rule about sprinting, and because of that, I add in speed work to my running more and more often these days.

I don't think that following all of these rules will make me a great ultramarathoner. But, I've never been great at this sport anyway. Right now, I'd just like to be leaner, stronger, more agile and more flexible, and feel less old.

I'm afraid to even step on a scale right now. I'm guessing I've gained 25 pounds since September and I have a lot of work to get rid of that extra fat.

Tonight, I'm going to do an upper body workout in the gym.

Monday, March 8, 2010

On another note

I mentioned in my last post that I've been heavier this winter compared to winters past. During the summer, I had made some changes in my diet that were really helping me. I was essentially following the eating plan of the Primal Blueprint and I wasn't drinking any alcohol at all. I was lifting heavy, running as my hamstring would tolerate running, and doing some bike rides. My weight was dropping slightly and my BF% was really dropping.

And then, in September, it all fell apart. I started drinking again after four months of no alcohol. I started eating grains again. I got lazy with dairy, no doubt eating too much. I allowed myself some sugary treats, something I very rarely do.

And, by November, I was getting sick. And gaining weight. I was drinking some alcohol on a near daily basis after four months of no alcohol at all.

So, I've decided that I need to return to the Primal Blueprint lifestyle. It's been very effective for me, but when I don't follow it, it obviously can't work.

This time, rather than changing everything overnight, I'm going to ease into it a bit. One new habit every week.

This week, grains disappear from my diet. I've gotten to the point where I'm eating bread every single day right now, and that has to change. So, no grains from now on. This is a huge challenge all by itself, and I want a week to make it happen.

For breakfast, I had eggs with ricotta cheese, veggies and sausage.

For lunch, a salad with tuna and veggies.

If I'm going to get myself back to being in really good shape, it has to be something I MAKE happen, rather than hoping it will happen all by itself.

Time to get back to work.

Next week, I'm planning to ditch sugar as well.

Twelve hours of sleep?

My last post was last Wednesday morning. I was tired and sore when I woke up that day, which I expected after one of my hardest skiing days in quite a while. But, regretfully, something else was going on as well. It became apparent during the day on Wednesday that I was coming down with a cold. I've had a really rough winter - worse than many recent winters, in terms of illness. I feel like I haven't really been 100% since about Thanksgiving.

There is no doubt that my winter-time schedule of working five days per week in the office and then teaching skiing all weekend, every weekend, is taxing. I've had a few nights recently where I've awakened during the night, and I found myself wondering which job I would be doing in the morning. That's kind of a weird feeling, to be in a haze and wondering what day it is.

Since the first of the year, I've had two days where I didn't ski or work my day job. Those two days were sick days, spending a weekend on the couch because I was too sick to teach skiing.

I don't mean to complain here; I choose this lifestyle because I love teaching skiing. Plus, I need a "real" job to pay the bills, and I really do love my job during the week. But, it is physically and mentally demanding at times, and I can get pretty worn down over the winter. This winter just seems to have been worse than some recent years. Perhaps it's because I entered this winter less fit and a bit "heavier" than in recent years, and maybe my advancing age is a factor as well.

The cold turned out to be relatively mild, and by Saturday morning, I was feeling better. I wasn't 100%, but I felt good enough to teach skiing. We had a great weekend on the snow - two beautiful sunny days with above-freezing temperatures. I love spring skiing, although it seems a bit early in arriving this year. It would be nice to get one or two more snowstorms so the mountain snowpack will make it through April. But, rather than worry about that, I just enjoyed the weekend. We skied some hard terrain through the weekend, and it was fun as usual. My group of girls seemed a bit wild this weekend. I blamed it on the weather, but I was concerned by how poorly they were listening to me at times this weekend. I think the season wears on them as well - spending sixteen straight weekends on the snow with the same instructor has to get a bit old after a while.

When I got home last night, I was beat. I just sat on the couch, staring at the TV. For the second day in a row, I didn't even have a beer when I got home from skiing. By a little after 6:00 p.m. last night, I was dozing on the couch. At 6:45, I headed to the bedroom to rest for a while. I "rested" until 6:45 this morning - a solid 12 hours of sleep.

I feel great this morning for the first time in a while.

I still have a huge amount of work to do at my regular job, but that's part of working for a start-up company that is constantly undergoing change. I have three weekends of instruction left in my ski season. After that, I can ski as little or as much as I want on the weekends, but it won't be work. And by then, I can choose to spend a day running rather than skiing if I want.

I'm not looking forward to the end of ski season, but perhaps I am looking forward to a slightly less intense 7-day workweek in the near future.

Tonight, I'm going to go for an outdoor run after work - easy pace and just for fun.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Amazing day

Monday night, I did an upper body lifting workout. I wanted to save my legs for a day of skiing with my family on Tuesday.

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.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Great ski weekend!

Finally, we have snow - almost 5 feet of new snow at higher altitudes. However, due to warm temps during the snowfall, especially at lower elevations, the snow was very variable. So, we had to search out the best snow for skiing through the weekend.

Early Saturday, some co-workers tried a popular tree line. They bailed out because the snow was too dense lower in the run. That put me on guard and I told the girls that I teach that we would not be getting "first tracks" anywhere. I wanted the snow to be skied first by others so we would know it was safe. We took it fairly easy in the morning, but eventually tried some bump runs before lunch. I was surprised at how soft the snow was on those lines.

So, after lunch, we tried a couple tree lines and found them to be very fun. We then headed to the Castlerock area at Sugarbush - an area with no snowmaking, minimal grooming, limited lift access, and difficult terrain. The lines were ridiculously long, but one of my students wanted to ski a run from this chair to complete her tick-list of skiing all eight double-black trails at Sugarbush. Others told me that the wait for the chair was worth it. So, we waited - about half an hour. And then we skied under the chair - a run called Liftline. It was amazing - as much fun as I've ever had on that run. I described the run as "epic", only to have one of my students tell me I wasn't cool enough to use that word. Oh well, I may be old but I can still ski circles around my students.

By the end of the day, I was beat from difficult skiing. I was starting to take off my boots when a co-worker told me I HAD to ski some more. I tried to protest, but he wouldn't listen. Fifteen minutes later, I was at the summit. We wanted to ski a tree run, but the normal access point was not available, due to a 3:30 trail closure. So, we improvised and skied some seriously steep tree lines, including some untouched lines of soft powder. It was almost 4:30 until we got off the mountain.

I went home, cooked dinner, and fell asleep pretty quickly. Sunday morning was coming quickly. Because the conditions had been so good on Saturday, I changed our routine on Sunday. We normally start on easy terrain, but it's late in the season, the girls are in good shape, and the snow was great. So, we "warmed up" on an intermediate bump run followed by an expert bump run. From there, we rode the chair again and did an intermediate tree run and rode the chair to the summit. From there, we took our time on a double-black, natural snow run - one of my favorite runs on the mountain. We then went for an early lunch.

After lunch, we headed back to the summit. We skied one tree line on the way. I let the girls take about 30 minutes to play on a summit platform at the top of Mt. Ellen. And then, we skied another double-black diamond run. The snow was so soft and consistent, that I wanted the girls to attack the line aggressively, and a few of them managed to do that.

As we finished this run, we had two choices. Some of the group wanted to do one more hard run in the Castlerock area. But, two girls had clearly had enough. Their hands were dropping, their hips were dropping, and they were clearly tired. Skiing a steep, narrow, twisty trail late in the weekend when people are tired is dangerous - someone is likely to get hurt. The operating slogan of the Professional Ski Instructors of America is "Safety, Fun, Learning". I opted for safety, as I always do, and we went inside for a hot chocolate break.

After that break, we did a little skiing on easy terrain to wrap up the day. At the end of the lesson, I handed a group of happy and tired girls back to their parents.

To be honest, I was tired as well. The final run on Saturday took a lot out of me, and I failed to properly re-hydrate Saturday night. I was planning to ski with my family for the day today - something we hardly ever get to do. But, it was windy when we woke up this morning, so we deferred until tomorrow. The kids have today and tomorrow off fromschool, so my wife and I simply changed our vacation day.

So today, I'll do an upper body lifting workout, but I'm letting my legs rest. And, I'm trying to catch up on hydration. Tomorrow should be a really fun day, hanging out with the whole family at a resort that I've skied a lot, but one that my son has only skied once, and my wife and daughter have never skied there. We have a gift certificate for one free lift ticket and a second gift certificate at a restaurant close to where we'll be skiing, which we'll use for dinner after skiing. It should be a great day.