Newsflash! Elisse, at the ripe old age of 49 7/8, is still an Intermediate Skier! And she's apparently in far better shape than she thought she was!!!!
Elisse, a.k.a. The Michelin Tire Woman, in 6 layers of clothing...
Wonderful as "Dan & Elisse's Great Big House" is, I finally got SO fed up at being cooped up, that I put my tiny foot down & booked us a one-night Ski Getaway @Glade Springs & Winterplace Ski Resort, & it was WONDERFUL!
The last time I'd been skiing was @Winterplace some 5 years ago, & it wasn't much fun, as I'd felt Incredibly Guilty because Dan doesn't ski. Winterplace is only 1 1/2 hours from the Elkhorn Inn, & so we'd made a day trip of it, which wasn't a good idea either, as the driving made it a long & stressful day for Dan, & so I felt even More guilty. As I have no one else to go skiing with, I hadn't been back for 5 years! This made me Nuts, because one of the things that pleased me so much about moving to southern WV was that we were only 1 1/2 hours from a ski resort! In the last 5 years my feet got larger (!) and my ski boots didn't fit anymore- the Rossignol skis I bought at the AFRC PX in Garmish, Germany in 1989 when I first learned to ski at the age of 30... Last week we got some Serious Snow here in Landgraff, & I knew the skiing @Winterplace would be Great, & after 2 weeks of stewing & fretting & getting over the guilt, (& Totally ready to slam my head into a wall from from Acute Stir-Craziness), I finally said Wot The Hell, a la Mehitabel, & booked us a mini-ski trip. We stocked the puppies up on food & water, & drove to Glade Springs early in the morning, thru white-out snow conditions, which were truly very beautiful: the frozen waterfall icicles on the mountains alongside Route 52 glistening in the sunlight, the snow-frosted tree-covered mountains, the little houses covered in pristine whiteness... McDowell County in snow is truly a Currier & Ives illustration... The snow was coming down even heavier in the Beckley area, & we drove it R-e-a-l-l-y S-l-o-w-l-y... They checked us in to our "Executive Suite" @Glade Springs early :-) & I actually got on the slopes by 1p.m. I said "Wot The Hell!" again, & plunked down $50 for a one-hour private ski lesson with Toby to start off my one day of skiing- THE smartest thing! This was truly the dif between what would have been an "okay" day of skiing and a GREAT day! His one hour lesson (and we wound up spending about 1/3 of it on the lifts...) basically gave me 2 new, key things that enabled me to make speedy, parallel turns, and Really Ski those blue Intermediate runs for the rest of the day- until 9p.m. at night! (The "trick" for me is what I now call "C-down"- essentially shifting my weight onto the outside ski & carving my turn).
I almost did the Group Lesson as it's a lot cheaper, but I'm SO glad I didn't. As I hadn't been on a pair of skis for 5 years & had No Idea if I was still anything even Close to the Intermediate Skier I was back in Germany, I didn't want to risk either the embarrassment of being told I should be in a "beginner" class, or the waste of time a true "beginner" class with people who'd never skied before would be. A private lesson is tailored to where you are as a skier, & if I can ever get Dan out there on the slopes- something he even suggested might be possible- the First thing I'd do is get him a Really Good private lesson to start off the day. I rented equipment (and they have a "military discount" that is available to retirees and their families, which is GREAT), and got to use the new, shorter skis with rounded, uplifted tips; I was Really pleased with the control they gave me, & if I do decide to replace my ski equipment, those are the type of skis I'd get...
It was Evil Cold, & at times the wind was pretty rough, whipping the tiny ice-needles from the snowmakers into your face... I was wearing 5 layers of clothing & was Still cold! I never did take the lifts to the top of the mountain, simply because I didn't want to spend 30+ minutes on a lift in that icy wind! My hope is to get back in March before the season's end, and do their many other blue runs...
Dan had a nice day at the Glade Springs Resort, (they have a lot of stuff to do there, including a movie theatre & a bowling alley, and in the summer horseback riding, golf, & the lake...), and they have a shuttle bus that runs to & from Winterplace, as well as around the resort, so you don't have to worry about the road conditions or parking, AND you can have a drink at the bar! :-) Dan met me back at the Winterplace bar @6:30pm, I skied until 9p.m., & we took the shuttle bus back to the Glade Springs Golf Club Bar (Laphroaig! Yay!), & had a Great evening. In the morning we had breakfast & then an Excellent "Couples Massage" at Glade Springs' "Spa Orange" before driving home- & found that all the pretty snow had melted in the morning sunshine!
We were both Really impressed by Glade Springs; we'd had a lovely dinner there back in 2002 when we first came to WV & were living in Beaver, but we'd never stayed there, & it's truly Great. What made it great wasn't just the accommodations & services offered, or their reasonable "ski package" deal that includes lift tickets- it was the staff; everyone we encountered at Glade Springs had Great customer service skills! I don't write this lightly; we've been in the hospitality business, creating and running the Elkhorn Inn & Theatre, for the last 7 years, & prior to that we'd both lived in hotels for years on business; we know the diff between good & bad customer service, & how bad service can totally ruin even the nicest accommodations. (Who cares if the room is pretty, if the service is terrible or the staff insulting or cold or unhelpful?) Glade Springs truly exceeded our expectations.
We both slept great, & I woke up feeling Fine- no aches or pains at all! This pleased me the most, as I was expecting to feel like True Crap in the morning, given that I've basically sat in a chair in front of a computer since we got back from Vietnam last April. But I felt so great that if we could have stayed an extra night I would have happily spent the day back on the slopes!
The skiing @Winterplace was very good- Much better than I remember it being in 2003- and so I had a Great day, but there is SO much that could be done there that would make it a REALLY great ski resort... Neither their outdoor cafe area nor their bar have fireplaces or firepits, so there's no place to warm up... there's no "real" dining available, only cafeteria hamburgers & pizza :-P There's no places to stop for even a warm drink anywhere on the mountain, so you have to keep coming back to the main lodge... there's no outdoor hot tub like I fondly recall from Germany... and the feel of the place is high school or college hang-out, rather than real ski resort... If Winterplace offered more "grown up" amenities it would Truly be a great ski resort... But that being said, it's still a 'bargain', & I do feel lucky we live only 1 1/2 hours from it, and I HOPE to get back out there (& back to Glade Springs...) before the ski season ends in March! My New Year's Resolution is to ski as often as I can- as often as we can afford to!- as long as I am able!