Family Ski Trip to Monarch Resort in Colorado

Title: Anderson Family Ski Trip 2003
Point of Departure: Saint Louis Missouri
Destination: Maysville Colorado
Purpose: Family Vacation to go Snow Skiing
States: Missouri, Kansas, Colorado
Duration: 8 days
Vehicle: 2002 Toyota Sienna
Odometer: Start: 4,391 End: 6,482
Distance: 2,091 statute miles (round trip)

Trip Diary: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8
Photos: Cabin | Family | Grandpa | Prices | Skiers | Snow Bunnies

Day 1 - Friday 01/24/2003
Travel day from Webster Groves MO to Salina KS.
We left Webster Groves, Missouri about 3:40pm after Kelly's first ever piano recital. Kelly ended up being first since the person scheduled before here was late and she did a very nice job. It was a delight to see and hear her play. We stopped in Concordia MO and ate dinner at Taco Bell.

An hour of two later Beth called us on our cell phone to inform us that bad weather was expected across the top half of Kansas, possibly as much as 6 inches of snow. We canceled our motel reservation in Salina KS and decided to push as far west as possible. We did not want to get stranded in Kansas and lose skiing time. As we continued west on I-70 the weather became worse and the driving conditions deteriorated. About an hour west of Salina we drove over the crest of hill and found a massive accident scene with emergency vehichles everwhere. Emergency workers were running all over the place attending to several accidents. I attempted to slow our van and the anti-lock brakes kicked in. Apparently the west side of the hill was covered in ice and several vehichles crashed because of it.

We continued on west at a slower speed and ended up following a red Chrysler mini-van for many miles. I-70 narrowed to one lane for 10 or 15 miles due to road construction. Suddenly the red min-van seemed to turn into the passing lane, hit the brakes and swerve back toward the outside lane. I hit brakes and began fishtailing also. After 3 or 4 corrections I got the van righted and we all breathed a sigh of releaf. The fishtailing had been significant enough to wake the girls who had been sleeping.

We decided that we were going to stopping Hays after theose two incidents. Mary called ahead and booked us into the last available room at the Super8 Motel. We arrived in Hays at 12:15pm to find the Interstate highway closed and semi trucks were parked everywhere. As we approached Hays we we noticed that the over pass ramps were lined with trucks stopped for the evening and that we saw very few semi trucks moving on the highway.

Day 2 - Saturday 01/25/2003
Travel day, Hays KS to Maysville CO.
We ate a breakfast of toast and juice before heading west. We left Hays at 8:30am and the tempature was a frosty 24 degrees. I-70 had been reopened about 3:00am. We stopped in WaKeeney to drop off a care package containing a printer, cables, ink, paper, phone list and girl scout cookies. We had decided not to stop since the girls would want to play for a long time and we had a visit planned for the return trip. We stopped in Oakley KS for gas. We learned from Uncle D and Aunt C that I-70 was worse the further west you went, which was true.

Strange as it sounds the highway cleared up as soon as we hit the Colorado border. We made good time to Limon where stopped at Wendy's for lunch. As usual this Wendy's was very crowded. We continued west on I-70 to Denver which took about an hour since the speed limit is 75mph. We took I-470 around the southern part of Denver to Highway 285. It snowed off and on and the varied from overcast to sunny. It was a pretty and scenic route.

Highway 285 runs southwest through Kenosha Pass (10,001 ft) and Red Hill Pass (9,993 ft), then on to Highway 24 and through Trout Creek Pass (9,346 ft). We stopped in Buena Vista for gas, then visited the scenic overlook above Johnson Village before driving the last 30 miles to Maysville. We arrived at the Paulin cabin about 5:43pm CST, 990 miles from Webster Groves.

Day 3 - Sunday 01/26/2003
Ski day 1.
As we ate breakfast we listened to the ski report on the local radio station. Musch to our surprise we learned that the Monarch resort was closed for the day. We later learned the problem was plumbing related. We altered our plans and Grandpa, Rob, Kelly and Katie piled into Grandpa's Honda Accord and headed to Cooper resort, north of Leadville CO. Cooper was very busy as most people headed to Monarch devirted to Cooper at some point. The line to get equipment was long and it took us a bout an hour to get through it. Katie had a tummy ache, got very hot and had to sit down. She looked white as a ghost. She took her coat off and sat for a while and seemed to be better.

Just after noon we got through the equipment line and dropped the girls off for their semi-private lesson. I explained to the trainwer about the girls previous experience. Off they went to lessons so Dad and I hit the slopes. I had Atomic brand sport skis, the snow was nice and we had a great time on our first 3 runs down the mountain. It had snowed a day or two earlier so the snow conditions were ideal. Grandpa got a free lift ticket since he had turned 70 years of age.

An hour later we returned to find Katie sitting on a picnic table. She was feeling ill and had stopped midway through her lesson. The instructor informed me that Kelly had done ok but the younger wasn't ready to go up the mountain. I politely thanked her and wondered silently about her evaluation skills since Katie had skied the past two years. We met Grandpa for lunch at an outdoor picnic table. Grandma had packed a nice lunch with lots of fresh fruit and veggies.

We paid $85 for the one hour semi-private lesson and were surprised to learn that it did not include a lift ticket for the remainder of the day. Kelly was sharp to notice this before we got into the lift line! Another $24 and we were ready for more skiing. After lunch the four of us headed up the mountain to do some green runs together. The girls did well. Katie was feeling much better after eating and she had no trouble with the green trails. Cooper has some nice wide open green trails that you can do a lot of side to side action on them. After 2 additional runs it was Four o'clock the lifts were shut down. I promised Grandpa I would do the driving on the return trip to Maysville to give him a break. North of Salida we saw dozens of deer, countless horses and cows and some llamas! The girls sang for awhile and Grandpa slept.

We ate hotdogs and beans for dinner at the cabin. After dinner the girls entertained us with songs and marches. The girls each received a sweater from Grandma and Grandpa. The girls watched about half of the Princess Diaries video. Grandpa had been kind enough to bring his tv/vcr combo on this trip.

Day 4 - Monday 01/27/2003
Ski Day 2.

We skied at Monarch on this day and it was warm and sunny. We ecnountered a long line to get equipment and a long lift ticket line. Katie and Kerry took lessons through the Childrens Center. This was Kerry's (age 3.5) first attempt at skiing. We really didn't think she would go for the lesson but we were plesantly surprised when she did. We managed to do about 6 runs in morning. We met up with Katie and her instructor and they followed Grandpa and I down a blue slope. Katie was doing very well. Her instructor called her "awesome" which made her smile.

We had lunch with Grandma and Mary who had camped out inside the lodge and had saved us a seat. After lunch Grandpa and I skied together for awhile and the two older girls (Kelly and Katie) skied together. They did very well getting on and of the lift together and enjoyed sking together. Grandpa retired for the day about mid-afternoon. Kelly, Katie and Rob did 4 more runs together, taking turn chosing which slope to come down.

In the evening the girls finished The Princes Diaries and played Old Maid. Mary helped Kelly with her homework. The younger girls decided to put braids and pony tails in their hair. Kelly was main instagator and they had great fun doing it. Somehow they managed to convince their Grandpa that he needed some tails in his hair! This answered the age old question: "who does your hair these days?".

Day 5 - Tuesday 01/28/2003
Rest and Shopping Day.

We took this day off from skiing. We had a big breakfast of eggs, toast and bagels. Mary and I slipped away for a couple hours to Salida to wash the van and do a little shopping. Mary had found a listing for a bead store in one of her magazines. She found several interesting things to purchase for her new business (Hooked On Beads). Afterward we visited the hardware store and Winery store where we bought a couple bottles. On the way back to Maysville we stopped at WalMart for some groceries.

We had lunch with family back at the cabin. Grandpa and I took a long walk afterward along CR 220. Grandpa had talked about buying a cabin in the area but the real estate prices have gotten a little out of control. The younger girls watched "The Grinch".

We all returned to Salida for dinner in the evening. We ate at the County Bounty resturant. It was a good meal and the younger girls visited the gift shop to spend some of their money. They purchased the following:
   Kerry - bunny rabbit (Emily)
   Katie - snake (Slither)
   Kelly - boy dog (Lucky)

Day 6 - Wednesday 01/29/2003
Ski Day 3.

Having tired of long lines for equipment and tickets we opted to get an early start this day. We got up at the 6:30am and were on our way at 8:30am. The lines were much shorter this day. Kelly, Grandpa and I were on the quad lift by 9:15am (the ski lift open at 9:00am). It was a nice warm, sunny day. A little to warm as the snow got slushy at the bottom as the day wore on.

Katie and Kerry had another lesson via the Children Center. Kerry's instructor said she did ok but that she need lots of help because her legs weren't that strong yet. Kerry seemed to enjoy it but she wouldn't talk to her instructor! After lunch we took some pictures of the skiers. Rob took Kerry up the bunny slope and Kelly and Katie followed. Rob skied down the bunny slope while holding Kerry upright between his legs. Kelly and Katie followed us down the slope and Mary shot some video tape of the whole scene.

After that Kerry had had enough and called it a day. Grandpa, Rob, Kelly and Katie skied a couple more times and Grandpa decided to retire for the day and left for the cabin with Grandma, Mary and Kerry. Rob, Kelly and Katie continued skiing together until 4:00pm. We took turns choosing which slopes to ski and used the quad lift to return back up the mountain. Kelly and Katie continued to ski well and to enjoy themselves. I kept waiting for them to tire, but they never did. On one of final descents, on a flat part of green slope, I mananged to catch an edge and wipeout. Lost both skis and went tumbling. Good thing the girls were ahead of me and didn't see that performance - I would never live it down. We managed to do about 16 runs on our final day of skiing and we enjoyed it immensly. I really like skiing with my Dad and daughters - it makes the long drive to Colorado and back worthwhile.

In the evening the girls stayed at the cabin with Grandma and Grandpa, ate spagetti,entertained the Grandparents and watched Fairy Tale. Mary and I went out to eat and dined at Grimo's Italian Resturant on Highway 285 in Poncha Springs. The food was very good and we enjoyed a bottle of Straccali Chianti 2000 from the vineyards of the beautiful Italian region of Tuscany. Once again I had the spicy meatballs. Mary tried them this year also and agreed they were very spicy. We had a nice evening out, just the two of us.

Day 7 - Saturday 03/30/2002
Travel day from Maysville CO to WaKeeney KS.

We ate a light breakfast before loading up and the van and heading east about 8:05am. Grandma cried a little and commented that it was always sad to see us leave. I was sad to leave but anxious to get home also. We decided to take the southern route (Highway 50) that follows the Arkansas River eastward. That first hour of so east of Salida is very pretty and very curvy - one must pay close attention to their driving.

We drove east to Highway 115, then turned north and followed 115 into Colorado Springs. Along this stretch we observed the worlds largest rocking chair - it is enormous. We stopped for gas on the east Side of Colorado Springs - what a nice view of the mountains. We took Highway 24 north (east) to Limon. Along 24 we enountered a pack of bicyclists, must of been 50 or so. We pushed on to Burlington CO for lunch at Subway.

We arrived at the Super 8 Motel in WaKeeney KS about 4:25pm. We made arrangements to meet my brother and his family for dinner at Pizza Hut. Afterward we went back to my brother's house and kids all played together while D and I worked on his new Dell PC a little. It was fun to visit with them - we wish we weren't so far apart so we could visit more often. This was our first opportunity to visit our new nephew B. It's great the we have a male to carry on the Anderson name. The K girls had great fun playing with cousin E and holding cousin B. We left about 10pm and headed back to the motel - it had been a long day.

Day 8 - Sunday 03/31/2002
Travel day from WaKeeney KS to Webster Groves MO.
We ate Easter colored donuts at the Super 8 Motel for breakfast. The trip was uneventful. We stopped for gas in Salina, then a bathroom break in Lawrence. West of Kansas City we happened upon a couch in the middle of the outside lane of I-70 along with a pair of shoes. Imagine someones surprise when they get to their destination minus one couch!

One must really pay attention while negotiating I-70 through Kansas City. They are lots of sharp turns and places where only one lane turns the direction you need to go. The signs don't always give you a lot of warning. We stopped in Odessa near the Outlet Mall and had lunch. The mall stores were all closed for the Easter Holiday.

We all guessed the total mileage of our journey. Rob was closest with a guess of 2,099. Mary was second closest with a guess of 2,082.1. The actual mileage was 2,091. We stopped for gas at the neighborhood Shell station and arrived at home at 4:50pm.

Happy Trails.

Trip Diary: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8
Photos: Cabin | Family | Grandpa | Prices | Skiers | Snow Bunnies

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