Monday, January 19, 2009

Our First Ski Trip in France

We went to the Pyrenees to ski this weekend. It was special for many reasons:
  • This was the first trip to the snow for the kids.
  • This was our first ski trip in France.
  • This was the first time Mike and I have been on skis in about 8 years.
  • This was Mike’s first time on skis since his knee surgery last Feb, and he can ski!!

For my family, I want you all to know that I thought of Dan all weekend. He would have loved skiing with us in France. I think that Max may follow in Dado & Dan's footsteps . . . or should I say - in their ski tracks! And - either Max or I simply must wear a beret the next time we ski, in memory of Dan. :) ICBMs for all!

We had an absolutely wonderful time – all despite the fact that I was a bit cranky our first afternoon. Sorry, my little family!

We arrived Friday afternoon, and the kids instantly headed out into the snow field next to the hotel. Our room had a terrace overlooking the snow field, so we unloaded the car and unpacked while they screamed in joy and frolicked in the snow.

Check out the sunset view from our terrace!

Look how cute they are - ready to hit the slopes the first day!! They were so excited. Although, ummm, someone should really tell Max that the boots go on your feet. :)

After a mere 4 hours of lessons, Max and Josey already ski like they’ve been doing it for years. Seriously! They were the only children signed up with the English-speaking instructor, so they got private lessons two mornings in a row.

This morning (Monday), Max looked sad. We had the following conversation (in French!):

Me: Are you okay?

Max: Not so much.

Me: Why not?

Max: It's not the best day ever today. It would be better if we were skiing again.

Here is the world’s best ski instructor – David (in French, that is pronounced Daveed).

When they were finished with David Sunday, they could ride the chair lift and ski any blue run!! For those of you who are not skiers, that means that they were on the intermediate runs. Too cool! I really wish that Alex liked skiing, too. She would have looked good on the mountain with us. (Josey is in purple, and Max is in red.)

They even tried the jump! Here are some Josey action shots.

This is how happy I looked watching my two littlest ski!

This is how tired we looked Sunday afternoon.

Now I just have to share a few other highlights of the weekends.

We headed out for dinner Friday evening, and we got really, really lucky. We picked the first restaurant that looked open – Le Schuss. The owners – husband and wife – were incredibly kind. They seated us 30 minutes before opening, and Dado struck up a French conversation right away. We found out that the man had skied Squaw Valley (Dado’s very favorite ski resort) and raced in Aspen.

Having found common interests, the conversation took off in all sorts of directions. Next thing I knew, Mike was telling him that we wanted to find a chalet to rent in the area for our next trip. The man said that his friend owned a great chalet, so he would give him a call. Thirty minutes later, the chalet owner showed up at the restaurant! When we were finished with our meal, we followed him to the chalet. This place is meant for a rock star. It was amazing! Three levels, windows everywhere, Jacuzzi tubs & sauna, fireplace, 5 minutes from the ski resort, beds for about 10-12 people, and it’s a real log cabin. Like I said – amazing! We are going to stay there for a few days to ski while Susie, Mark, and Sean are here visiting. Woohoo!

Now let me tell you about the food. Ohmigosh! Le Schuss serves specialties of the mountains, and they are fabulous. Dado tried to order red wine, and the man insisted that we try his homemade Sangria first. As most of you know, I’m not a drinker. However, this Sangria was deeeelicious. That was followed by an excellent salad, complete with geziers and foie gras. (Let it be known that this salad was similar to the salad Sandra served on Christmas Eve, but Sandra’s was infinitely yummier!). Next, Josey and I shared a tartiflette, something that I have wanted to try for months! Tartiflette is similar to scalloped potatoes, only so much better: Roblochon cheese, potatoes, onions, and ham. We even got to watch them broil it in the wood-burning oven before they served it. Scrumptious! Dado had lamb, which he said was yummy. Max had two kinds of pasta! I accidentally ordered him pasta with white sauce and ham (which Josey and I thought was delicious!!), and he really was unhappy about that. The proprietor saw that Max was unhappy, so he brought him the pasta with red sauce that I meant to order – free! It was a great evening.

It was an absolutely fantastic weekend. Blue skies, great weather, good snow, good moods (mostly), good food, short drive . . . we couldn't have asked for better!

Love to all!

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