Monday, December 28, 2009

Our ski trip: one accident, two happy kids and an OMG pizza

Here's the view from our room at the Clay Brook Hotel at Vermont's Sugarbush Resort. I could have sat on the couch all day and looked out the window. Actually, I did sit on that couch for two days in a row, with my leg elevated. You can guess where this is headed.

Friday was absolutely gorgeous—sunny, thirtysomething degrees. Sabrina went to ski school, Max went to day school (we signed up for Saturday adaptive skiing), Dave and I went out for a few runs. I've been skiing maybe eight times in my life, and I'm still a beginner. I flew down this slope about four times, no prob. Then we decided to try the adjacent slope, called Pushover. How bad could a slope called Pushover be? Well, I hit an ice patch and down I went. My left knee went the opposite way. I managed to ski back to the lodge. The doctor thought I'd torn my ACL, a ligament that is kinda sorta crucial to your knee's well-being. He mentioned I'd need an MRI and physical therapy but I decided to not worry until I see a sports medicine doc when I get home. I am very good at delayed worrying. I am also very good at sitting on a couch. Hanging out after skiing (aka aprés ski, its fanciful name) is secretly my favorite part, anyway.

My souvenirs of the trip and, wow, does my leg look slim in x-rays. I think I need to get myself an x-ray camera, that way I would never look fat in photos.

The living area of our suite, where I aprés skied my ass off.

Sugarbush has a program for adaptive skiing run by Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports. The team was amazing; they colored and played with Max first, so he'd feel comfortable with them before they took him out. They actually try to make the skiing as least adaptive as possible so kids can be their most independent. The three volunteers with Max said that he kept his skis parallel when they slid him around, no small feat. Max had a blast until he caught sight of Dave nearby, and then he was done.

Sabrina had to get used to the ski boots (at least she didn't complain they weren't pink), but once she got past their clunkiness she decided she liked skiing (that's her on the far right).

There was a game room with a pool and air hockey table, a Wii and other toys. Besides being beautiful, Clay Brook is totally amenable to kids, not to mention adults. Vermont's famous for making maple syrup and good cheese, but I'm telling you, they also make some supernice people.

The kids enjoying the jacuzzi. Sabrina, in a rare show of sisterly love, decided to help wash Max.

Max's purple masterpiece. When we picked him up from his first day at the day school, the supervisor asked, "Did you know he likes purple?" HA!

They personalized his boots for him.

One morning, we drove around for a couple of hours. The area had a lot of working farms.

A semi-frozen canal.

A dog got really mad at me when we stopped the car to shoot this.

If you're still skiing when you're over 80, you definitely deserve a prime parking spot.

The area had a lot of great places to eat. We did some cooking in the room, which had a full kitchen. Max whipped up his famous pot o' donuts.

We dined at Timbers, the hotel's nice restaurant, and The Common Man, housed in an 1820s barn (wild mushroom ravioli: yum). Tonight, we got a babysitter, went out to American Flatbread and had the best pizza of our lives.

This is Matt, making the pizzas. His cap is an object of contention; everyone else there thinks it's a strawberry, but Matt maintains it's a tomato. I struck up a conversation with the owner, George, who helped build the clay oven. It's a type of oven made to bake breads, but George had the genius idea to use it for flatbread pizzas. He's a good guy who delivers pizzas every month to a local hospital's pediatric ward. And oh, the pizza! It's a revolution—all-natural, made with organic flour and tomatoes, and lots of organic and locally-farmed produce and meat. The crust is thin, but not crunchy; the slice basically melts in your mouth. We had a cheese-herb-pepper combo, then Dave ordered a mini a chard-potato-corn one. Thankfully, there's a frozen version, in case you're drooling onto your keyboard.

So, that was our trip. Max was into adaptive skiing, Sabrina made good progress, Dave skiied up a storm, my ACL is in dubious shape but I'm walking OK, I am now a certified aprés-ski instructor, and we are all totally relaxed and happy.

And don't I look so svelte in x-rays?


  1. love this vermont-y post! i grew up in southern vermont, went to UVM for college and have spent many days skiing at sugarbush. LOVE american flatbread pizza! sounds like a great weekend, minus the leg. makes me miss my home state.

  2. Wow, what a nice vacation! We live not far from day skiing, but nothing as nice as that! How wonderful that the lodge has an adaptive skiing program. It says something promising that Max "adapted" so well to the new environment, too. Is this an improvement/new thing for him, and could it be those stem cells are doing their thing? I dunno if at least one of my kids would separate so easily in a brand new environment and go off with three strangers to play without a lot of prep and trial runs....and meltdowns and crying and LOUD vocalizations.

    Sorry about your knee (good grief, something like that would end my waitressing career--I live in terror of an icy patch in the parking lot!). I hope you heal quickly!

  3. Wow sounds like fun, except for the whole knee thing. Feel good, and get as much help as you need. Maybe order some pizza for when you're apres getting everyone out the door in the morning.

  4. You are GOOD at the silver-lining-thing and delayed-worrying needs to into the texts as a GOOD coping skill. Let us know how your knee recovers, eh?

    Otherwise, what an excellent vacay and loved reading this post. So much encouragement to others - reading about Max and Sabrina's development.

    Ahem. Can't quite support the xray diet concept however. ;)

    Thanks for a very enjoyable post!

  5. Ellen,

    The accident is the bummer, but the Sugarbush trip sounds wonderful. I have dined at the Common Man, and made friends with George of Flatbread Pizza(he is a college buddy of one of my good friends.)

    By the time you need to be back on the train, I hope your knee wil be in commuting shape!

  6. Sounds so nice..well except for getting injured...but it sounds like you made the best of it anyways!

  7. What a great trip! We've never been to Vermont, but it looks like a fantastic vacation spot. We may have to check it out next winter if we get the hankering for some place that doesn't just get a whole bunch of winter rain!

    A torn ACL, huh? Ouch! Knee injuries never feel wonderful. I hope that the doctor was wrong and it's just a sprain. At least this gives you an excuse to sit on the couch with a book for a while. Hope you feel better soon!


  8. X-ray pocket cameras: YES! ;)

    I thoroughly enjoyed the pictures--sorry to hear about your knee. I hope you are on the mend quickly.

    The girls and I learned how to ski while living in Germany and I just have to say--much respect for anyone who can conquer those slopes!

  9. Wow I didn't know there was such a fancy term for sitting after skiing! I'm going to have to start using it, i'm rather good at that part too!

    It looks like such a FAB time! Sorry you hurt your ACL, but like you say, at least you got those awesome pictures to show for it! I need an xray camera myself.

    We are definitely going to have to try adaptive skiing for Chloe when she gets a little bigger. If only for the personalized boots!!!

  10. Totally svelte!

    What a wonderful trip...

  11. Ohhhhh nooooooo, I am so sorry about your knee. What a gorgeous view!!!

  12. Hope by now you have contacted your doctor/orthopedist. Do get it checked out - knees have a way of continuing to cause problems after they are hurt. Feel better!
    As usual, terrific pictures and gorgeous kids. What a photogenic family.

  13. Sounds like a great trip (minus the injury, that is). I think I have to get myself an x-ray camera (especially after all the holiday eating!). I love that picture of Max. He never ceases to amaze me!

  14. I think tearing a ligament is a mandatory thing for moms on ski trips. My mom did the same thing when we went skiing as a child. AND MY DAD BLAMED IT ON ME! Nice!!!! What every 6 year old needs...jewish guilt on a ski trip! Anyway, she enjoyed the down time too. Looks and sounds beautiful. So glad you all could get away for such a successful vacation.

  15. Ohhh Ellen! You should have just stayed in the lodge to begin with! LOL! It's not funny, I know! Love the pics, though. Hope your knee heals and isn't too serious.

  16. "apres skiied my ass off"--love it! I think I apres beach a lot since I'm so totally white.

    That hat is totally a tomato.

    I knew that was Sabrina without you having ot tell me.

    I need one of those x-ray cameras too--I'm looking way to plump in my holiday photos.

  17. Gotta love xrays! Sorry about your injury -- hope you heal quickly. Oscar does adaptive skiing in Tahoe, and loves it. He was 6 I think the first time we did adaptive ski school, and I was so grateful that they pushed for the highest level of independence, as you said. They really "got IT" and got Oscar, and he was so proud. We missed last year, but are going again in February and I have him signed up for 4 lessons.

  18. Oh no! You are so cute about the xray! Those torn ACLs are nasty! I am keeping fingers crossed that everything ends up OK

  19. LOL you are skinniest skeleton I have ever seen! :)

    Boo to the injury but yea to the trip sounding like you all had a great time!

    You couldn't even detect a hint of that yummp pizza on your bones! :) I hope your knee is feeling better soon!

    We started a fan page on FB (knowledge safari) I hope you will join us!

    Happy New Year!

  20. Vermont Adaptive at Sugarbush does a great job with all people that have a disability. I never cease to be delighted with how wonderful VASS treats kids with a disability. I am glad your son had a great time. Sorry about your ACL.


Thanks for sharing!

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