25 Photos of a Little Girl Not Exactly Roughing it on an Old-Fashioned Ski Trip

Skiing

I'm not saying she's destined for a gold medal. But do I really have to? I mean, you see it, right?

Ski areas across the United States are taking a beating this winter due to the lack of snow.

But let’s be honest: Unless you’re Shaun White (and you’re not, by the way), who cares? It’s not the snow that makes the trip. It’s the family.

I grew up skiing on no snow. My family used to vacation in Vermont every winter where we basically skied on ice. And yet my memories of those trips are among the ones from my childhood that I most cherish. Jiffy Pop cooking in the fireplace. Hot tubs in the dark with snow quietly disappearing into the steam. My mom telling me to stop crying, get up and ski down to the bottom — right now! — if I wanted to ever see the light of day ever again. Those were good times.

Earlier this month our family drove about 90 minutes east of where we live to spend a weekend in Beaver Creek, Colo. My 3-year-old daughter took her first ski lesson and could have cared less that there was barely an 18″ base (or that it dumped 8″ pretty much the entire time she was on the hill).

Her experience reminded me of my ski trips as a kid. Only Beaver Creek isn’t exactly roughing it, and at the same time, the experience was just about as old-fashioned as you can get in terms of warmth and family friendliness.

You don’t need scores of inches of fresh powder to make good memories. You just need the people you love the most (although crayons, a magic carpet ride, snow angels and chocolate chip cookies don’t hurt). It’s what mattered most to me as a kid, and what I think my kid could actually articulate meant most to her when we were in Beaver Creek.

These are the images of her memorable weekend, although I swear they could have been ripped from my mom’s photo albums of our trips when I was little:

 

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  • You mean they have crayons? 1 of 25
    You mean they have crayons?
    And paper? Then this is totally going to be a good weekend.
    When I was a kid, the first night of a ski weekend was always the best: You arrive in the dark but the stars that forever seem to shine brighter in a ski town help add to the giddiness of anticipation. Some things never change, as arriving at The Charter in Beaver Creek proved to be true.
  • Somehow hotel beds are just better 2 of 25
    Somehow hotel beds are just better
    They just are. At least they were when I was a kid, and my kid thinks they're the bee's knees, too.
  • Fruit Loops 3 of 25
    Fruit Loops
    The pre-ski breakfast of champions.
  • Let it snow! 4 of 25
    Let it snow!
    If your heart doesn't melt at the sight of a toddler earnestly attempting to catch a snowflake, then clearly you're made of stone.
  • This is not your mother’s ski school 5 of 25
    This is not your mother's ski school
    The Beaver Creek Ski School greeted us with the equivalent of a warm hug. All schools — ski and otherwise — should be this welcoming and organized.
    For a 3-year-old who'd only been on skis a few times previously, she acted like a pro from the get-go thanks to the pros who knew exactly what to do from the second they fitted her in the clunky ski boots.
  • And she’s off! 6 of 25
    And she's off!
    No matter that it dumped more snow during the few hours she was in ski school than it had in weeks and weeks, she acted like it was raining glitter and gumdrops.
    So that's different from when I was a kid, by the way. Or at least that's what's different about my daughter and me. If it so much as clouded up when I went skiing when I was little, I had to retire into the lodge to take shelter by the fireplace lest I risk melting.
  • Clearly she’s a natural 7 of 25
    Clearly she's a natural
    Next stop: Sochi 2014
  • We have a winner! 8 of 25
    We have a winner!
    Of course all kids are winners, but are they all so damn cute when skiing down a 10-foot-long hill?
  • The Magic Carpet 9 of 25
    The Magic Carpet
    I'd call it magic if you ski down 20 times and still go back up for more.
  • Après-kitty cat 10 of 25
    Après-kitty cat
    Face paint for a job well done? She'll take it!
    And I'll always remember it.
  • Chocolate chip cookies 11 of 25
    Chocolate chip cookies
    Beaver Creek hands out more than 400,000 warm cookies après-ski annually. That alone would be enough incentive to work skiing into my daily routine (in the summer, too).
  • Ice skating at night 12 of 25
    Ice skating at night
    And outside in the snow (er, glitter and gumdrops). Preschooler bliss.
  • Did I mention hotel rooms rock? 13 of 25
    Did I mention hotel rooms rock?
    Particularly because you can watch TV — in bed!
  • Day 2 14 of 25
    Day 2
    You mean we get to stay another day? Sweet!
  • Say cheese 15 of 25
    Say cheese
    She hams it up for the camera for good measure.
  • Why can’t we eat like this every day? 16 of 25
    Why can't we eat like this every day?
    That's the one drawback of good hotel breakfast buffets: The pressure is on Mom when we go home to impress with a similarly spectacular spread.
  • Next stop: Tubing 17 of 25
    Next stop: Tubing
    It's like sledding, only cooler. And a little scarier if you're 3 and overthink it.
  • This isn’t so bad 18 of 25
    This isn't so bad
    In fact, it's kind of awesome.
  • Wheeeeeeee! 19 of 25
    Wheeeeeeee!
    When asked if she wanted to go down straight or if she wanted to spin, she responded, "Spin! Spin! Spin!"
  • Can we go again? 20 of 25
    Can we go again?
    And again. And again. And again. (Thank goodness there's actually a limit on how long they'll let you do it. Otherwise we might still be there.)
  • There’s more crayons? 21 of 25
    There's more crayons?
    And I can draw outdoors? This is what heaven must be like, right?
  • Snow angels 22 of 25
    Snow angels
    It was hard to walk from Point A to Point Anywhere Else without her stopping to make snow angels.
  • And more snow angels 23 of 25
    And more snow angels
    Did I mention she left her snow angel mark on pretty much every conceivable patch of snow? (Beaver Creek is a substantial mountain, so you do the math.)
  • What’s a ski village without an accordion player? 24 of 25
    What's a ski village without an accordion player?
    Not to mention an accordion player who can improvise, "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and "I Love You, You Love Me." (You mean he knows Barney? Wow!)
  • Yup, the weekend was THAT good 25 of 25
    Yup, the weekend was THAT good
    You know it was a successful trip when her eyes shut within 45 seconds of getting in the car to go home.

All images: Meredith Carroll

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