Getting away from the daily grind and escaping to the silence and solitude of snow capped mountains is something this mom dreams of. Where piles of laundry are replaced by a blanket of fresh falling snow. Where my snug fitting helmet drowns out the constant river of minutia that continually babbles from my 10 year old daughter. To simply have a little “me” time.
So what the heck was I thinking, inviting all of these people with me??
It’s not what I was thinking, it’s what I knew: The more the merrier! This day on the slopes was meant to be shared, and I was going to have a blast with moms who have become friends and their sweet gals, too.
When it came time for my daughter to have her second round of ski lessons to help her become the pro she sees in her mind (see her first time here), I knew from experience she’d do best with her gaggle of gal pals.
Each year, Ski Utah offers a Ski Passport program that gives 5th graders the opportunity to ski at each of Utah’s 15 resorts three times during the ski season for a one-time processing fee of just $45. 6th graders can sign up too, receiving one pass to each of the 15 ski resorts.
Ali and her friends each had their Ski Passports in hand so it was a no-brainer we should have them all come up together.
But then I had an epiphany! Let’s make this a mom and daughter date and invite the moms along for the ride. Why should the kids be the only ones to have all the fun?
I’d skied with each of the girls together but this was a first with the moms. There are a few rules of thumb I followed in gathering this larger group together and I must say, it made the day a total success.
Invite Skiers of the Same Level
A group that skis together has fun together. Making sure each of the young girls were all at the same level of skiing was paramount to turning the day into a fun day instead of a purely teaching day. And that went for the moms too.
Two of us moms grew up skiing and had skied together before so that was a no-brainer. Two moms had taken up the sport just a few years before. One mom just switched over from snowboarding to skiing, she realized it was no fun to have to rescue your fallen daughter on skis while on a snowboard.
Not to worry, moguls and bumps for the two more experienced in the group have given way to long cruisers on Deer Valley’s perfectly groomed runs. We were more than happy to spend the day working on our turns with the rest of the crew.
For the girls, they had all been skiing together before and loved having their freedom of riding the lifts on their own. And us moms were more than happy to let them.
Take It Easy
With five moms who are used to being in charge, five girls who were beyond chatty with excitement and two cars with plenty of gear to keep straight, the decision was made early in the game to take it easy and don’t rush the morning. We put the girls all in one car with one mom driver so they could crank up the tunes and chit chat away while the other moms piled into the other car for a more leisure ride of discussing school politics, hair dye and the latest episode of Scandal.
Once we arrived at Deer Valley, we consciously didn’t rush. Nor did we have to. Everyone from the shuttle driver to the ticket agents and the lift operators made it simple for us to ease into our snow day.
Being together as moms and daughters doesn’t mean we had to be glued in pairs like animals on Noah’s Ark. Instead, the moms were happy to let our gals head up on the first chair on their own and leave us in their snow dust as we followed a few chairs behind.
As luck would have it and being the extra observant mothers that we are, one of us spied a single blue ski pole half buried in the snow under the chair. “I hope that isn’t ours,” said one mom, as the other mom immediately replied, “Oh no, it is. I bet it’s Katie’s.” “Yep,” we all agreed in unison. “If it’s anyone’s, it’s Katie’s.”
Long story short, we spent our first two laps on Silver Link ski run searching for the easiest route to gather Katie’s pole. But good moms (and daughters) that we are, there was no blaming, there was no sulking, it just became an adventure for us all to map out and go on together. Finally, we put in a call to Deer Valley Ski Patrol to retrieve it for us.
Ladies Who Lunch
With a few runs under our belts the girls were already asking for lunch. What? After operation pole retrieval It seemed like we’d just gotten there. But why fight it? Sure, let’s get some food in those bellies, because we all know a hungry kid is a grumpy kid. And truth be known, I knew what was in store so I was more than happy to belly up.
We headed back down to Snow Park Lodge for a feast. When Katie’s mom jokingly told her she’d packed her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich she almost fell off her of chair. As the most adventurous eater of the junior group, this was her favorite part of the day.
There was no shortage of variety for all of us to load our trays. As a fan of the Natural Buffet salad bar, I was pushing it like a used car salesman. Where else on a ski hill can you get a daily variety of ultra fresh salads to accent your baby greens? Italian Wheatberries and Tomato Salad, Rainbow Pasta and Shrimp Salad or Sczechan Eggplant Salad with baby kale, fried tofu and sugar snap peas! Not to mention steamed artichokes with saffron aioli and Deer Valley’s own housemade cheeses and an assortment of olives that made a meal in themselves.
Even so, two of the moms simply couldn’t resist Deer Valley’s famous Turkey Chili. And, really, why should they? It’s the best.
Grilled cheese, more turkey chili, and for our wonder-eater Katie, the special Ruben Cheese Burger rounded out our tastings.
Of course treating the girls to whatever dessert they wanted (carrot cake for my girl!) gave each of us moms a reason to ask for a bite (or five) as we discussed who was on what diet and how it was going. No blame here, we were working up an appetite.
Ditch the Kids
As every mom will tell you, we love our babes. But how great is it to put them into the capable hands of someone else so we could be on our own for a little faster paced afternoon?
Enter Letitia Lussier, a Deer Valley ski instructor since 1981, she knew exactly what motivated these girls and was ready to teach them a lesson or two that they wouldn’t usually hear—or listen to—from their dear old moms.
After assessing their abilities, Letitia took the girls down Silver Link and then over to Quincy Express and Silver Strike Express chairlifts, where they happily skied blue ski runs and discovered hidden trails through the trees. As moms will do, we followed along for a run or two and then headed off on our own girls day adventure.
It had begun to snow harder at this point, making for a fluffed layer of Utah’s famous light powder on the expertly groomed runs. We couldn’t have asked for more.
The moms made our way over to Empire Express and skied longer and faster than we had with our mini-me’s, giving our thighs and form the workout they both needed.
Or, something like that.
Before we knew it, it was time to head back to Snow Park to meet up with our gals and start the trek back home.
Why oh why did it have to end?
Take a Selfie
After finding our girlie group and thanking Letitia for an amazing day on both spectrums of the age range, we brought the cars up and readied ourselves for the ride home.
But first, of course, we posed for a selfie.
In this day and age you simply can’t escape getting a group photo (or 19) to document the day. And why would you?
Because these memories are what mom and daughter dates are made for.
What We Learned
Favorite part of the lesson: I really liked our ski instructor. “She told me to lean forward more and it just helped a lot.”
Favorite thing about Deer Valley: “My favorite part about skiing at Deer Valley was hanging out with all of my friends and their moms. The runs were really groomed. Yeah, it was awesome.”
Favorite lunch: “Cheeseburger and a chocolate chip cookie”
Favorite part of the lesson: “I liked learning how to ski the trees. She took us on more inclines and more steep hills, too. She helped us learn how to balance and keep more on our turns by bouncing and staying on one foot and on the balls of our feet with our knees and shoulders past our toes.
Favorite thing about Deer Valley: “The thing about Deer Valley is that the runs are really groomed and it just makes it a lot easier.”
Favorite lunch: “Grilled cheese and a chocolate croissant.”
Favorite part of the lesson: “My favorite thing was going through the trees like when we went into Bucky’s Front Yard and the other trails. That was the most challenging part of it. She taught us to stay far apart from everybody and that we can’t go close to each other, and for everybody to go at their own speed. And she told me to not lean back on my skis.”
Favorite part of Deer Valley: “I like the runs by Quincy Express chairlift the best. And riding the lift with my friends. And lunch. And it snowed!”
Favorite lunch: Turkey chili and carrot cake
Favorite part of the lesson: “The best thing I learned today was to balance on your skis more. The instructor first had us pick up our outside leg and then she had us stop and just pick up the other leg and then only have the tip of the ski on the ground and everything else up when we’re turning.”
Favorite part of Deer Valley: “They have a lot of area to ski and the bathrooms are super nice.”
Favorite lunch: “I got a special Ruben with cheese on it and chocolate chip cookie.”
Favorite part of the lesson: “I learned that you have to keep your body forward and that you have to ski aggressive!”
Favorite part of Deer Valley: “Probably going down Success ski run with my mom and the hills and how it’s so beautiful with beautiful trees in the mountains, and probably the food. I have so many things.”
Favorite lunch: I had the famous Turkey Chili with some bread and apple cider and a huge cookie. It was so good.”
For a list of kid’s trails, download the Kids Adventure Map here.
To sign up for Youth Ski School, visit here.
For a list of on-mountain dining options, visit here.
Heidi Larsen is the creator of foodiecrush.com, the blog and online magazine featuring family friendly recipes and inspiring photography. She also photographs Deer Valley Resort’s food and fine dining when not enjoying quality time on the ski hill with her husband and 10 year old daughter. See more of what she’s crushing on at Facebook and Instagram.