When the stars align
As parents of three, it is rare that my husband and I have a full day to ourselves. Yes, we do try to sneak away for the occasional "date night," but a full day to ourselves comes few and far between.
On the rare occasion that we do find ourselves kid-free for a few hours, we usually end up doing thrilling tasks like Christmas shopping, birthday shopping, attending a wedding, you get the picture... not the most exciting stuff.
Recently the stars aligned, and we had a whole day to ourselves. Better yet, it coincidentally fell on Valentine's Day! But wait, this opportunity got even sweeter... there were no mundane tasks that had to accomplished, we simply had a whole day to ourselves on Valentine's Day! To some this might not seem like much, but I'm sure there are some fellow parents out there that know how precious a day to do whatever you want can be.
Thinking Outside the Box!
So what did we do? We could have done anything! We could have taken the traditional route and gone to grab a nice lunch and then catch an afternoon matinee at the local theater. We could have visited our favorite local shops and done a little shopping. But, it is the Adirondacks after all... so, why not ski!?
When picking out where to ski, I had to take us both into account. I ski intermittently, usually 3-4 times per season as I get the chance. As for my husband it had been a few years since he's been on skis (and a "few years" is a slight understatement - to be honest I may have joked that his last pair of skis were made of wood). So, when it came to choosing which Adirondack ski area we were going to have our "date" at, I knew that I needed to find something that would be fun for me, but Scott would not feel overwhelmed by. It didn't take me long to convince him that Oak Mountain would be a great mountain to suit both of our needs. Better yet, I knew that Oak Mountain received a new fleet of Rossignol skis this year, and since he needed rentals I could pretty much guarantee that he would have some nice equipment to use. Then our 5-year-old son, who earlier in the season took his first ski lesson at Oak Mountain, piped in to seal the deal: "they have the best pizza in the world!"
Hitting the Rental Shop...
As we arrived in the parking lot my husband admitted that he was a bit nervous. Unlike him, I had little doubt that he would catch back on pretty quickly, but I can see how being away from a sport for that long can make you a little uneasy.
As with the last time I visited the rental shop (to get equipment for my son) the staff was friendly and knowledgeable and eager to help us out. They quickly suited Scott up with some rental equipment and within only a few minutes from the time we pulled into the parking lot, we were already loading the lift.
Then the Mountain!
We started off on a "green circle" trail while Scott got used to being on skis again and I got accustomed to the new skis I had recently purchased. Scott was shocked by how quickly he felt comfortable, I was less surprised but extremely happy that he was enjoying himself as much as I was. After a few more beginner trails and a quick warm up in the lodge over some of the "best pizza in the world," we moved on to some intermediate trails, such as our favorite "Kunjamunk."
Since it was snowing and the visibilty was poor the day we were at Oak, the spectacular views were hidden. To see what the view is like on a clear blue day, check out this virtual tour.
We thoroughly enjoyed our day on the mountain, we really couldn't ask for a better "date." From talking and laughing on the lift and in the lodge, to chasing each other down the slopes, a ski date gave us much more of a chance to connect then sitting quietly through a movie. We also realized that we made the perfect choice with choosing Oak Mountain. The fresh powder on the trails provided perfect skiing conditions. The mountain itself was busy since it was Oak's Winter Carnival, President's Day Weekend, and one for the first (sort of) breaks from the recent cold snap that has hit the Northeast. But even with the buzz of activity and traffic, everyone at the mountain from staff to guests were happy and courteous which offered up an atmosphere that made us feel right at home.
As our day went on, Scott became more and more confident on his skis and to be honest, I think that he might have even been lying to me about how long it has been since he has skied. In fact, I might have a closet-skier on my hands! But seriously, by the end of the day we were already looking forward to next season when our youngest child will be able to join the other two kids & us on the mountain. This is another great Adirondack activity that we can all do together as a family, and trust me, during the long winter months skiing is the perfect thing to get you out of the house to cure that dreaded cabin fever.
Last Stop, The Acorn Pub & Eatery
After a full day on the slopes, we had worked up quite an appetite, so we decided to grab a bite to eat at the lodge's Acorn Pub & Eatery before heading home. The pub, like the mountain, was busy with skiers and riders as well as a large group of snowmobilers, all having a good time as they waited for the evening's Winter Carnival fireworks display. The crowd did not scare us off, we simply found a table and prepared ourselves for a little wait. We soon learned that preparation was clearly uncalled for because before we knew it not only was our order in, but the wings we ordered as an appetizer were quickly on the table ready for us to devour (and that we did)! I've always wondered if it is the actual skiing that makes you work up such an appetite or if it is the extra energy you burn trying to stay warm. Either way, the food was a welcome sight and not your average ski slop pub fair. This past summer, Oak Mountain hired Hell's Kitchen Chef, Lou Petrozza and the food they have been turning out every since has been an attraction in itself.
The Ride Home
With tired legs and a full stomach, we were ready to hit the road so that we would be home in time to see the kids before they went to bed. The whole way home we couldn't stop talking about our day and reliving each run down the mountain. In fact, my husband even said "seriously, that is the best Valentine's Day I have had in my whole life!" I was happy, but then again if I recall... didn't he meet me 11 years ago on Valentine's Day?!? I guess a girl can't compete with skis!
It's not too late for your ski date!
In the Adirondacks President's Day is technically only considered mid-winter. There is still plenty of time to schedule your romantic ski trip. My recommendation if you can... don't just take a day trip, make a weekend of it! Find a cozy room after your day on the slopes, dine in style at one of the local restaurants and maybe even partake in one of the fun winter events scheduled for the upcoming weeks.