Father Of The Blog

A Journey Through Fatherhood and Parenting

Father of the Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Breckenridge Colorado’

Breckenridge Colorado Destination Review

Southwest Airlines got us to Denver twenty minutes earlier than expected, great, but what happened to family preboarding? You know, with the handicapped folks? I am one dad traveling with two ruddy wise-girl preschoolers, which could be considered a handicap. Forced to wait while the ‘A’ class boarded, I grumpily asked the mannequin-esque attendant, “What! No family preboarding! When did that change?” Unfrazzled, coolly she replied “A year or so ago” she probably had heard that complaint a billion times.
The flight was smooth, I came prepared with a feed bag of crunchy goodies, a fully charged laptop, a plethora of Barbie and Disney princess movies, (enough to last a on trip to the moon and back), dual headphones, and a half dozen fresh activity books for back up. The 737 preformed exceptional and the crew was professional.
A two hour flight plus a two hour drive somehow equals ten hours of travel with Olivia and Hailey. Although I can’t lay all the blame on my well traveled preschoolers, the travel time was extended by a small portion of my family that arrived a couple hours after our flight. In that couple hours, I rented a big blue Town and Country van, found a Subway to feed the kiddos and then we rendezvoused back at DIA’s passenger pickup with my oldest brother Sam along with his second daughter Samantha who is idolized by my dear second, we also met up with Zadie, (my dad). The six of us traveled in rush hour traffic via Big Blue (the Thrifty rental van), from DIA to our condo duplex in Breckenridge. The drive took twice as long as it should have because of an accident on highway 70 and once again my perception to sniff out potential meltdowns saved me from a most assured “are we there yet” headache. Anticipating a two hour drive (which turned into almost four), I packed a portable DVD player inside my carry-on, and installed it in Big Blue prior to our stint down 70.
Around seven thirty that evening we finally reached the 5000 square foot duplex/condo/house that my brother in law Alan had procured from an associate for the week. The condo was huge, four levels, five suites, six or so (lost count) bathrooms, a massive kitchen and three common areas. The only issue was the lack of beds. Eventually our party would hit fourteen and upon first inspection, the condo only housed seven complete bed sets. Down on the lowest level of the house was an entertaining room with a ping pong table and a basketball toss game. Also down there silently stood a pair of bunk-beds with no mattresses or covers and in a dark empty room was a broken iron bed frame without a box-spring or a mattress, very crime scenish. I made a sign for the big musty room, “Master Suite – Reserved for the Taxman Family” a little prank for my sister’s husband who had sent an email to my dad, my brothers and me stating a request for the master suite.
The lack of beds created a standoff right from the git-go. I have to rewind the story just a bit here; A few days before departure, any time the subject of our Breckenridge ski trip was brought-up, Hailey would say, “I want the blue room.” How do you explain to a four year old that, there may not be a “blue” room and I have no idea what the sleeping and bunking arrangements will be when fourteen family members crash for a week in an unknown place. So I told her that once we arrive there, she will get to pick where she wants to sleep and if there happens to be a blue room she can pick that room to sleep in. Well wouldn’t you know it, we arrived at our home away from home and of course there is a “blue room” in which my dad had just parked his bags. Hailey walked into the room, spied the blue roman shade covering the window and a blue comforter on the bed and gleefully shouted, “Daaadeee! A bluuue roooom!” She dragged her suitcase into the room, unzipped it, opened all the drawers of two humongous antiqued dressers and started unloading her clothes. My dad walks out of the bathroom and saw Hailey occupying what he thought was going to be his suite for the week and briefly attempted to stop her. “Hailey, I was going to stay in this room.”
“I said… I… get… the blue room!” she shouted over her shoulder as she feverishly emptied her suitcase.
I was standing in the doorway and my dad glanced over at me for support. Shrugging my shoulders, I sided with Hailey, “Well, she did call the blue room.” Thanks to Hailey, I didn’t get stuck on the couch or worse this annual ski trip and Olivia, Hailey and I shared a queen sized bed for the week, (‘shared’ is a stretch for a ‘family bed’ newbie) in the “blue room”.
Our first full day in Breck began early. Sam, Samantha and Zadie spent the day on the slopes, so Olivia, Hailey and I taxied them down to the lifts then parked Big Blue near Main Street. We spent the morning shopping for light weight ski apparel and to our dismay, children’s clothiers’ were scarce. The few kids’ shops we happened upon had nothing but heavy winter gear and we already had that stuff. We did find a cool toy store, Peak-A-Boo Toys that had a big ‘test the toy’ play area where we spent an hour playing and the kiddos talked me into some small stuffed animals. Then for lunch we found a great pizza place, Eric’s, with a decent video game room where we won more stuffed animals.
The town square was equipped with one of those towering bungee jumper trampoline things which Olivia and Hailey insisted upon at fifteen dollars each for a five minute jump-off. We milled around main for a couple more hours popping in and out of shops and stopped at all the sculptures for photo ops until it was time to meet-up with Zadie, Sam and Samantha.
That night I had a big surprise planed for Olivia and Hailey. Unannounced to them, cousin Mikey was in Breck on spring break. Mikey was there visiting cousins Chris and Glenda who live in Breck. (Chris is one of Aunt Linda’s sons, Glenda his wife). So we caught Mikey on his last day there and met up with him at one of Chris’s restaurants, the swanky, upscale Briar Rose. Olivia and Hailey were delighted to see Mikey and a bit confused, “we’re not in Houston, what are you doin’ in the mountains” Olivia said.
We visited with Chris for a while, unfortunately he had to work and we only hung out for a short time. Then Mikey walked us up and down Main Street trying to find Empire Burger, another restaurant operated by Chris. Oh and to throw even more relatives into the mix, my sister Rachel, her husband Alan along with Louis and Sadie had arrived in town that evening and joined us for dinner.
It was a long first day and I wanted to get to bed as soon as we got home from diner but Olivia, Hailey and Sadie had other plans. They were bouncing through the huge condo, showing off for the older cousins. I had the not so bright idea to set up the portable DVD in bed to lure them in, and calm them down, that was a mistake, because the girls expected that same routine every night thereafter. Also, the family bed thing was getting old quick, I don’t know how any parent can pull that off, arms and legs thrashing around like hungry baby pythons, finally, after the kiddos nodded off, I scooched down to the end of the bed and slept perpendicular with my feet and lower legs hanging off the edge. That is how I slept the rest of the week.
Day three (technically); Olivia, Hailey and Sadie played games and paper dolls the whole morning while Rach and I waited for the cable guy to come and hook up a modem, (don’t ask). Around noon Rach and I took the kiddos to the Stephen C West Ice Arena. Hailey’s first time on skates and she did great. It took her a while to get used to the ice but after four or five trips around the rink with the ‘walker’ thing and me holding her at the waist she ditched the support device and skated quite well just holding my hand. Olivia’s second time on skates and she did awesome. Maybe one or two laps pushing the orthopedic learning-to-skate devise and she was skating all by herself trying to keep up with Sadie who is a natural on ice. Olivia had a few falls but popped right back up and kept going without a wince. I’m not sure why, but damn that made me proud to see.
After ice skating we picked up Zadie who had S.O.S.ed us from the slopes, he had enough trying to keep up with Samantha. Rach and I dropped off the kiddos at the condo with Zadie and ran down to the convenient City Market grocery and loaded up two carts which was just in time for the arrival of Joe (my brother), Nathan (eighteen year old nephew), Shaina (Fourteen year old niece) and Danielle (Sam’s oldest daughter) completing our annual family ski trip tribe.
Day four; we actually skied. Olivia and Hailey attended the Breckenridge Ski and Ride School for the day. I got to ski with my dad, my brothers Sam and Joe, my brother in-law Alan, nephew’s Nathan and Louis, nieces Danielle, Samantha and Shaina. Rach stayed at the condo with Sadie who didn’t feel well.
Pausing the review for a quick rundown on nephew’s; Nathan, (and brother in law Alan for that matter) ya’ll didn’t stand a chance against me playing Risk. And Louis gets a gold medal for fastest hot dog eaten… in a hot dog eating contest of one. On to my nieces, Shaina forgot to pack boots… to the mountains. Samantha’s skies only point downhill… it’s sick. Danielle did something to the toilet in the teenager’s suite… Sadie…I’m not even sure where to start with her.
Day four resumed; perfect morning of skiing in Breckenridge, not too crowded, sunny, warm, groomed just right for my chump like ski style. Although toward the end of the day the warm weather caused the snow to become slushy. So before I needed to pick up the kiddos, my dad and I headed down early, to the coral, stop it, it’s not what you’re thinking, the coral is the pen where all the pre-scholars take their lessons. I was hoping for a chance to get some action photos and I was not disappointed.
That night we ordered in from Fatty’s Pizzeria and yes, I ordered way too much, but I was factoring in fourteen people and that was with four hungry teenagers and two Taxman boys (Alan and Louis). When calling in the order I asked about party catering options and Fatty’s hooked us up with a good price for an army sized scrumptious meal.
Day five; another almost five hundred dollar day of skiing. That was approximate cost per day to ski. That included lift tickets for Olivia, Hailey and Me, all our ski equipment plus helmets and lessons for kiddos. The crew was minus Alan this day, the conditions and my timid overly cautious skiing was much the same as the day before. My dad cut out after lunch and Louis and I bailed on the group early to find Olivia’s and Sadie’s ski group. I had Alan’s video recorder and wanted to get some footage of them going up a lift and skiing on the mountain for the first time. Miraculously, without GPS, or short wave radios, or walkie-talkies, or cell phones, or locator beacons we caught up with them at the bottom of the Quicksilver Lift, I’m guessing my D.A.D.A.R. was in operation that day. I got to ride up with Olivia and then recorded her, Sadie and Lou, the entire decent. I could tell that the Ski and Ride School had a good crew and did a fine job, the kiddos wanted to go another day, Louis was baited into a snow ball fight with Olivia’s and Sadie’s instigating in a playful way ski instructor and I didn’t have any problems refunding Sadie’s unused lift ticket.
Later in the afternoon the kiddos stayed at the condo with the Lord of the Flies older cousins in command, while Rach and I hit Main Street for some souvenir shopping, she had her R.A.C.H. on, finding the Mountain Sanctuary Spa within a stone’s throw of our parking space. Rach received some kinda hand rub massage thing, while I found some goodies for Kim.
Day six; opted-out on skiing and opted-in on sledding which I borrowed, stop it, I asked the neighbors If we could use their sleds. It snowed that day and it was cold. Danielle, Shaina, Olivia, Hailey and I found the designated Breck sledding hill at Carter Park. The snow was gusting hard and Hailey was fouler than the ominous storm overhead having real issues with doing anything that day particularly the steep climb to top of hill. The cold fresh powder was awesome and I couldn’t help from kicking myself for not skiing that day especially when Hailey had thrown herself face first into the frozen mess in a fit of uncontrollable rage. But eventually, I duno twenty minutes, she calmed down, hiked up the hill on her own and within one trip down the fairly nice sized hill she was over it. Spending the day sledding with the kiddos was worth every non penny spent.
The wet heavy snow was eating a frostbite hole right through Shaina’s high top Chucks, yea, no boots on a trip to the mountains so the sledding ended sooner than anyone wanted. We stopped at a crepe making shack called Crepes A La Cart on Main Street for lunch and it was incredible, the absolute best crepes anywhere. Unfortunately, the staff was alarmingly dispassionate and distracted with their own dramatic drug induced lives. How could I tell? The young self-mutilated crew of three seemed not to care about any customers who may overhear their conversation of possession, arrest, trial and all the crazy details, but damn those where the best crepes ever.
That night we all went out for dinner at the Breckenridge Brewery. While we were waiting for our table Hailey challenged everyone to an arm wrestling match. Well first, and this only took a half a second, Samantha pinned her older sister Danielle and after that, Hailey defeated anyone in our party who stuck their arm within her reach. The staff there was quick and put our table for fourteen together relatively fast. The food was ok but the freshly brewed beer was freaking great. The Avalanche’s came crashing down. I can still taste it, so fresh and tasty.
Day 7; a late return. Packed, cleaned and rechecked condo for any claimable items. Olivia, Hailey, my Dad and I had lunch at Eric’s again, the kiddos had to show Zadie the games. We had to find Olivia a Breckenridge photo album for her school assigned photo journal project so after lunch and games we patronized a few more of Breck’s multitude of shops until we had tracked down a couple photo albums at twenty a pop.
Our flight departure time was 8:00pm, Sam and Samantha had a later flight. We were going to meet them at the skier pick up in Big Blue and head to airport. The meet time was set at 3:30pm, but that didn’t happen. We waited, with no return calls until 4:30pm. “I thought it was at four thirty” Sam and Samantha grabbed their luggage out of Joe’s rental car and tucked it into Big Blue and then return their ski equipment. Thankfully there was no traffic and we rolled up to DIA Southwest Airlines curbside passenger drop off around 6:30pm. Where we stood for like twenty minutes waiting for two people in front of us for the super slow motion porter. And the night crew on this flight seemed a bit condescending. One of the male attendants made a remark about my kids being “asleep in no time at all”, hinting that I should convince them to fall asleep. Luckily, packed in the feed bag of goodies were a few mini chocolate bars and cookies. Two Disney movies, a steady stream of sugar and they were bouncing. They didn’t cause any trouble on the airplane but they were being a bit loud, not obnoxiously. Although, I didn’t hear “Thank you for flying Southwest” on the way out. Olivia and Hailey were plain goofy in the baggage claim area at our home town airport. Running up the going down side of the escalator, ridding on the baggage carousels and doing things I couldn’t see but I could hear in the women’s restroom. They weren’t completely out of control and because they had jumped though all the hoops the whole day without too much of my directive, I didn’t mind them having a little fun in the un-crowded airport capping off a great trip.
Side Note: this post was pulled from the buried father of the blog archives, we took this trip last spring and I can’t wait to get back to Breck or any mountain for that matter although it may take a year or two more to save up for it.