Spring Break-Vail

Wednesday morning we packed it up and headed out to destination #2…VAIL!  Gary and Marla had flown in the night before, grabbed the rental van, and met us at our hotel.  We drove to Vail, checked into our rooms, and walked straight to the base of the mountain.  {A little Erika sidenote…I LOVE mountain towns.  They’re always so cute and I always leave wanting an antler light fixture.}

The weather was AMAZING the entire three nights we were in Vail.  AMAZING!  Like eat lunch outside in the sun-kind of amazing.
We were all excited to have M and G traveling with us for the last leg of the trip.

My caesar salad tasted way better with such a gorgeous view.  

This kid was a turkey the entire trip…the kiddos all had double decker peanut butter and jellies…they kept raving about them.

A quick pic before we set off on an adventure…

Ski gear time!  Is it just me or are ski boots pretty uncomfortable?  

Do we look like we’re ready to kill it on the mountain?

Vail {we were in the Lionshead area} has a really nice gondola.  We took it to the top…straight to Adventure Ridge, where snow tubing and a roller coaster on the mountain awaited us.

But first, a ton of pictures in their first gondola ride.

They loved it!

And we did too.  🙂

The cutest coaster was at the top of the mountain.  Two riders at a time and you control the speed.  All our kids were too short to ride alone.  So we partnered up and got a ton of rides in before it closed.

Hands-down she chose me because she knew I’d drive the slowest.  haha!

We tubed and found friends at the top of the mountain!  CRAZY, huh?  The hubby and Tab ref football together, our kiddos totally hit it off {it’s been a while since we’ve seen them}, and they all tubed together for a while before calling it TOO COLD.  We had dinner at the top of the mountain and then headed straight to bed.

Day Two in Vail was our Private Family Instructor Day.  {Can you spot Bowen going under the poles?}  I have lots of thoughts on this day.  First of all, we scheduled a private instructor for many reasons…there were five of us interested in lessons.  Gary, the three kiddos, and me.  If we had paid for us all to go to a full day of ski school, it would have been crazy expensive.  I didn’t know how Bowen would do in ski school all day-that’s a long day for a four-year-old and Vail doesn’t do half-day ski school.  And I didn’t want any of them to be scared or crying about ski school.  I wanted the vacation to be full of happy memories, so the private instructor seemed like the way to go.

It was really difficult for our instructor to help Bowen, who’s four and never skied before, along with three other people who’ve never skied before and then me-who has but wanted some extra pointers.  The range in abilities was too much for one person.  And I’m not saying I’m so good…just a four-year-old and six-year-old who could care less if he falls down vary a ton in ability!  

Knowing what I know now, I’d have put all the kids in ski school {and probably me too}.  With that said, it worked in the end.  The instructor was very nice and patient and every family has to do what will work for them.

We all started the day in this area…pretty early on I realized the kiddos just need tons of practice.  The instructor was doing great with them so Tab and I headed up alone for a little skiing.

When we met back up with them, they had graduated to this bunny slope.  I must tell you…I’m not usually a big worrier or nervous person, but this view made me so nervous.  Doesn’t it appear like they’ll just keep skiing down the mountain if they can’t stop?  Well, that’s pretty much how it looked in real life.  haha!  There was a little drop…so they probably would have just crashed in the snow, but it definitely appeared a bit scary!

At this point, Tab took Nixon off to help him.  It clicked with Nixon pretty early.

We had lunch at the top of the mountain.  Can I tell you how amazing it felt to sit down?!  While I was finishing, Bowen’s head made his way to my lap.  He was exhausted.  When we’re at home, he typically doesn’t nap, but it had been a long day!  I called Marla, who’d just gotten back to the hotel and said she’d love to hang with Bowen for a bit.  So, I took Bowen to her while the rest of us finished the day.

Right next to the bunny slope was a small hill.  The hill had it’s own chair lift.  Can you spot Tab and Nixon on the lift?  Nix is in the orange with the green helmet.  Tab and Nixon spent the afternoon doing this hill over and over again.

A view from the top.  🙂

Basically, Nixon and Tab were behind me on the bigger hill riding the chair lift and Ebby Lee and the instructor were on the bunny slope and this “Magic Carpet Ride” aka conveyor belt would take her back to the top.

Gary, Tab’s dad, had taken a break, Bowen was resting, so it was just Ebby Lee and the instructor.  I looked over and Ebby Lee was skiing SO SLOW.  Do you guys remember my ski video from two years ago?  Well, if you thought that was slow…this was taking slow to a whole new level.  I was a little panicked about how the next day was gonna look.  Our plan was to ski with the kiddos by ourselves…no instructor.  And by “a little panicked” I mean a bit terrified.

Around 3:00 Ebby Lee, Gary, and I called it a day, but these two decided Nixon would try out the greens and ski with Tab to the bottom.

We rode the gondola down to the base of the mountain.

Lionshead has a really cool playground.  My kiddos wanted to hit it up every day.  I took Ebby Lee and Bowen while we waited for Nixon and Tab to make it down.  Check him out!  He did it…skiing all the way to the bottom on his first day.

Source:  Marriott

*I’m adding this in a random spot but we stayed at the Vail Marriott Resort and it was fabulous.  A quick walk to the base of the mountain.  They had a smore station every afternoon so on our way into the resort we’d stop for some chocolate and marshmallows.  Yes, please.  There was a bar/grill on the first floor-super casual.  And in the morning we grabbed a quick breakfast and coffees at a little grab and go type spot on the second floor.*  This is not a sponsored post, but I really liked our hotel.  Just wanted you to know.  🙂

We got back to the hotel and everyone was EXHAUSTED!  These four enjoyed the hot tub and pool.  Then we grabbed a bite to eat in the bar/grill at our resort and went straight to bed.

I’ve gotta be honest…my mama heart was torn about the next day.  Our plan was to ski with the kiddos-just us.  Although they had come a long way from never skiing to the end of day one, I just didn’t know how we’d keep up with all of them.  I really wanted to put all or at least Bowen in ski school.  Tab kept assuring me they’d be fine.  #sometimeshubbyknowsbest #sometimes #winkwink

On Friday, these two were in my care.  I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t worried about them speeding down the mountain accidentally on my watch.  But…you guys!  They rallied and learned SO much!  We were on the bunny slope and eventually all graduated to the bigger hill with the chair lift!  {EVEN BOWEN!} 

Tab took Ebby Lee off for a while and somehow convinced her skiing is for going faster than walking.  It worked!!  She became a great little skier and even skied greens and BLUES with him later in the day!

The big kids and I enjoyed the chair lift.  When I rode the lift with Bowen, I had to hold his coat because I was panicked he’d fall AND when we got to the top I was the crazy lady saying, “PLEASE, STOP THE LIFT!!”.  I had no clue how to get him off the seat WITH it moving. #wewereabitofamess

With that said, Tab and Bowen on the lift managed just fine.

We had a couple other mishaps…{I should probably say I…not we.}

It was just Bowen and me for a bit.  He was following me down the mountain and he fell.  Above me.  On the mountain.  He couldn’t get up.  I have no clue what an experienced skier would do in this situation but I took my skis off, left my poles, walked up the mountain to him, helped him up, and then we came down.

There was another time he’d fallen, I’d taken my skis off to help, and then we were getting on the conveyor belt.  Bowen is a trooper on a belt WITH skis.  Without the skis, he cannot keep his balance.  I was holding all four of our skis, my poles, and trying to help him balanced.  It wasn’t working.  We were a hot mess and finally I chucked all our skis and poles on the belt and Bowen and I rode the whole way up SEATED.  The nice guy at the top was laughing so hard. 

We definitely had our moments, BUT we left the mountain Friday afternoon with THREE little SKIERS AND EVERY SINGLE GLOVE we took with us!  Modern day miracle right there.  I was shocked at how far they came {and that we didn’t lose a single glove}.  Hearing them talk about how much fun they had made my bruised shins and the expense {skiing is expensive} all worth it.  We made some amazing memories, left a little of our hearts on the mountain, and can’t wait to plan our next ski adventure.  

I’ll post some videos throughout the day on Instagram {slaughteren} of them skiing.  They did so well!

 For dinner that night, we headed over to Vail Village and ate at Bully Ranch.  The decor was all mountain lodge-y and so cute.  I spent the entire dinner wondering where I could put a big light fixture with antlers in our house.

 These two were sunburned, wind burned, and all kinds of chapped, but they had a blast!

On Saturday, we headed back to Denver to make our way to Dallas.  {We use the passports at airports just because they’re easier to keep up with than birth certificates.}

Thanks so much for virtually traveling with us over the last couple days.  I had lots of fun recapping our Spring Break.  See you tomorrow with my Friday Favorites.  XO

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  1. 3.16.17
    Tara @ Mommy In A Nutshell said:

    What a blast! I am incredibly impressed that you were able to handle all three kids with different abilities on the slopes. #momgoals

  2. 3.16.17
    Anonymous said:

    Oh gosh I love this! Our ski resort has the mountain coaster and I am a very slow driver too! And I am super apprehensive about picking up speed when I ski, so I think Tab's pep talk might help me too! Looks like such a great trip!

  3. 3.16.17
    Mix and Match Mama said:

    Well, there were just too many cute pics to comment on just one! I loved that you included every detail down to why you loved where you stayed. I'm so glad you guys got away for such a fun family adventure! I want to come next time. We can eat s'mores together and talk about our antler chandeliers :).

  4. 3.16.17
    Anonymous said:

    What a fun time! I mean, the pictures, hearing about the kids learning to ski….I loved this recap!!! So glad you had such a great trip! Do

  5. 3.16.17
    Megan @ Letting In The Light Blog said:

    Not losing any gloves=mom of the year in my book. Not sure I'm a skiing person, but eating outside is my love language. This recap makes me want to book flights for the five of us today!


  6. 3.16.17
    K said:

    Hi Erika!

    What a fun trip. Next time you guys head out west, I strongly recommend Beaver Creek, CO (very close to Vail). They have an excellent ski school/lesson program and green level hills that stretch from the very top of the mountain to the very bottom. It's a wonderful place to learn to ski and has ample "easier" green and blue runs for practicing!

  7. 3.16.17
    Sara said:

    LOVE this hotel in Vail! I'm not a skier or even a snow person, so I have only visited Vail in the summer, but it is a super fun town then, too.

  8. 3.16.17
    dresselfamily.blogspot.com said:

    Not losing a glove.. you need a medal and a crown lol
    I've never skied but my girls do with school every year.. my legs hurt thinking about it!.. what a great vacation! !!

  9. 3.16.17
    Marla Slaughter said:

    Loved spending a little time with you guys on this trip! Erika, when I see what all you young mothers do with your kids I'm just amazed! I really don't know how you get it all done! Love you!

  10. 3.16.17
    Amy said:

    I have followed your blog for a while and have never commented but this was hysterical. I have never been skiing in my life but I couldn't help but smile at the thought of y'all sitting down on the conveyer belt as you rode up the hill. That would so be me. Thanks for sharing such great pictures with such detail in your trip.

  11. 3.16.17
    Unknown said:

    We took our three kids skiing in Michigan 2 weeks ago. I understand the pain! I burst out laughing about the comment the skiing is suppose to be faster then walking! We use a small skiing backpack for the youngest to help us get him up if falls and on and off lift.

  12. 3.16.17
    Unknown said:

    Looks like a great trip!

    I have 4 kids and fly/travel all the time … why do you need birth certificates when you fly?! Never heard of that.

    • 3.16.17
      Erika Slaughter said:

      They always ask us for birth certificates at the airport?? Maybe it's a DFW thing?? Maybe our kids don't look like us? Ha!

    • 3.16.17
      Unknown said:

      Okay this is interesting- a few years ago we flew from LA to DFW and I didnt have one of the birth certs for a child. My mom works for an airlines and said "oh we never ask for those"…in LA it was fine but when we flew out of DFW they did ask us for it!!! Crazy. We live in Austin now and carry them with us in case but haven't needed them again. So..who knows!?

  13. 3.16.17
    Olivia at Joyfully Prudent said:

    Oh my gosh Erika, I'm just laughing throughout this post and can totally picture some of those moments as myself with my kids. But I can't wait to take our kiddos skiing. I've only been once and it was pretty much ice so I'm thinking it can only be better for me. I wish I could post a video of me skiing…it was hilarious…and by hilarious, I mean totally embarrassing. Glad y'all had fun! That hotel sounds fabulous!

  14. 3.16.17
    Sarah DeWald said:

    Thanks for sharing your trip – it looks like so much fun! Now I want to learn how to ski. I'm afraid that I'll just fall constantly and the little kids will show me up! haha

  15. 3.16.17
    Mrs W said:

    I loved this post so much!! I love when all parents are brave for their kids and do things out of their comfort zones just to show how much you love them!!! I still remember when my dad took us ice skating, and he fell and cut his hand open. We felt so bad but he said he didn't care, he just wanted us to have fun and experience something new with him. I already know my daughter is going to make me do stuff I wouldn't normally do, she's fearless when it comes to rollercoasters, while I'm a chicken. As soon as she's tall enough, this mama gonna have to get brave!! Thanks for sharing this with us!

  16. 3.16.17
    Jen said:

    Reading that stressed me out haha! Good for you to keep going through it for all the memories. I know it was a lot of work, but still fun to look back on. With that being said, I'll stick to Disney.. for now.

  17. 3.16.17
    Laci said:

    Do you like Denver/Vail better than Utah?? Or both? Curious for a trip in the future. This post was hilarious and so true. As a Mom I panic too, you did awesome!!

  18. 3.16.17
    Simple Purposeful Living said:

    I hear you on the private lessons. We opted to get each kid a half day private lesson at Breckenridge. Our 3 year old at the time was done after a half day and ready for a nap and our 5 year old at the time was ready to ski for a bit with the adults. We are going next year and we will have an almost 3 year old again…I am anxious to see what she will do on skis – ha! I have been skiing since I was your kiddos age, we lived in Switzerland growing up and gym class was skiing! You did great and having all your gloves at the end is a miracle….:) xoxo ERIN

  19. 3.16.17
    Unknown said:

    Three kids skiing for the first time with one day of ski school. You're seriously brave! Most fun parents of the year award for sure. I laughed so hard at your stories because I can absolutely see myself in the same awkward situations! What a fun trip! I'm glad you all enjoyed it 🙂

  20. 3.16.17
    Megan said:

    I'm laughing and cringing at the thought of skiing with 3 kids. You deserve a medal. Or a massage!!!!! Looked like fun!! (I think!!!)

  21. 3.16.17
    Ashley said:

    This was such a happy post! Can't wait until I'm a mama and get to make fun memories with my kiddos like this 🙂

  22. 3.16.17
    Angela Ellingson said:

    What an incredible couple of days! The family gondola picture is perfect! I loved your "mishap" stories. You did great, mama!

  23. 3.17.17
    Luvs2Travl said:

    Get the kids passport cards. It's so much easier to carry when an actual passport is not necessary. They are very inexpensive. I believe $17 or $19 each. We use ours for airports and cruises when you need to take photo id for the ports. It's so easy to keep all of them in one card case.

  24. 3.17.17
    Sheaffer {Pinterest Told Me To} said:

    Erika! I'm finally starting to calm down. After much prayer.

  25. 3.17.17
    Unknown said:

    You are a trooper! Skiing with kids is hard, so hard that I gave up on skiing when we went (first time to ski was as an adult with kids, biggest regret and wish I had learned early in life). My hubby and boys love it, so I go to take video pics of them coming down and enjoy the view.
    Now seeing this post and living in the DFW area I have never been asked for a birth certificate when flying out with our kiddos and only had passports when we were leaving the country. I did not know this :-/…guess who will bring passport in a few weeks now when we fly out, lol. Thanks for the heads up!

  26. 3.24.17
    The Magnolia Mamas said:

    I was laughing and nodding along with so much of what you said. Skiing with 3 kids isn't for the faint of heart! But such awesome memories are made and I can tell y'all had a great trip!