Jan 2010

Winter Park Wrapup + 4-Pack Pass Giveaway!

Over MLK day weekend, my family and I were lucky enough to be hosted by Winter Park resort, as part of a group effort from Colorado Ski Country USA to show off how families can have fun at resorts all over Colorado.

From the get-go I was honest with them about my lack-luster skiing abilities. I mean, seriously – have you SEEN the Terror On The Mountain video? Grace, agility + snow are not words meant to be in my vocabulary.

Luckily, Winter Park has a bunch of other activities for people like me, so Bryan and I did a snowshoe tour while Declan entered his very first day EVER at ski school. (More on that later).


Bryan has been trying to get me to go snowshoeing for YEARS, he was always the more adventurous one of us.


What I learned? I LOVE SNOWSHOEING. It was perfect for me. Tromping around in the snow, requiring pretty much zero skills other than the ability to walk like a duck, and taking photos of nature? PERFECT.


We even saw a porcupine sleeping way up in a tree.


And here, you can turn your head sideways for the closest thing we got to “Terror On The Mountain Part II.” I think it’s an improvement at least.

After all this snow plowing, we had lunch in the newly-finished village area next to the ski slopes of Winter Park. And I have to tell say – THANK YOU WINTER PARK, for this addition. Because while WP is so close to Denver (an hour and a half), the one other time we had been there, I was frustrated with the lack of restaurants, and particularly the lack of retail near the resort. They now have a nice balance. Sure, they definitely maintained the small-town feel that WP is so famous for – but it’s a nice step into the next century.


Speaking of the next century and whiz bangy stuff. Remember how Declan was in ski school all day?


Well, he also had a *GPS tracker* on him, which I know was for safety and all, blah blah blah, whatever, what WE loved was we could log-in on the Flaik (“flake”) website when we got back to the hotel and SEE exactly where he had been on the mountain (actually a ton of places, see below) and how fast he was going (not very).

And as I mentioned above, we were much happier with our dinner choices this time around. A few restaurants have exported from Denver, like Cheeky Monk and Lime, plus comfort food from Doc’s Roadhouse and several other places we didn’t have time to try over the course of the weekend. [Next time.]


The next morning was all about TUBING. If you have never been, you cannot go to Winter Park and skip TUBING. Have I mentioned we love TUBING. You can probably see in my header right now that we enjoyed the TUBING. But here is one extra special cute-as-hell photo of Declan to convince you. That we like TUBING.


Oh, and a video as well. Of the TUBING. And the CACKLING. What is up with the CACKLING?

There are *two* TUBING places, one family-owned, the original, which is the first you see and one is Colorado Adventure Park, which is the one we went to this time around and has more things to do. But, I would say both are great, and they exist on the same hill. [So pick whichever has the shortest lines, basically.]

In between all this extracurricular fun, Bryan did manage to get some snowboarding in, and I rode up and down the lifts, taking photos. By the way, people like getting their photo taken on lifts.


And here comes the part where those of you paying attention to the news will know that I pay attention to the news as well. Intrawest, who has a deal with the City of Denver (the real owner of Winter Park, making it truly “Denver’s Resort”) for operations over the next 50 years is in a bit of trouble. As in they also own Whistler-Blackcomb in Vancouver, the site of the Olympics next month, and plan to auction off *that* resort DURING the big event. Seriously. This was all announced 3 days after we got back from Winter Park. Folks here in Colorado are calm (as we usually are) – but I couldn’t help emailing my rep at Winter Park and offering to auction off *her* resort right here on this blog. Seriously. [She laughed, but declined.]

Now. To bring this all full-circle. For those REALLY paying attention, you will remember that Declan was actually *conceived* at Whistler-Blackcomb on a ski trip on Feb 8, 2002 [Yes, I *do* know the date] – almost exactly 8 years ago. ALSO, you may have heard the screaming in Denver yesterday when it was announced that our very own Editor-in-Mile-Highness, Amber, is headed BACK to Vancouver to cover the Winter Olympics! SERENDIPITY, PEOPLE! The Circle of Life! I feel like holding Declan up like Simba! [And I am really sure Winter Park is THRILLED they picked me as their Colorado snow mama right about now.]


OK, Aimee. Focus.

What was I talking about?

Oh, yeah! Fun in Winter Park!

The other cool new thing up there is the Fraser Valley Rec Center. Brand new, with huge pool, huge slides inside the pool, and just one huge rule: NO CAMERAS. OK, there are more rules, but that was the one I heard about within 5 seconds of taking my camera out was: NO CAMERAS. I managed to sweet-talk my way into getting a shot or two anyway.


So, net-net?

Clearly we had a great time. We’ll be back. We liked the convenience of the village, the convenience of their new concierge-esque Custom Delivery Service (as in, for $29 for 4 people, they bring your boots, rental and lesson paperwork and lift tickets to you, NOT KIDDING), the convenience of walking across from the hotel to the slopes, the convenience of having Declan in ski school while we did our thing… can you see convenience is big with me?


And hopefully we’ll make is convenient for you to get there too. Winter Park is giving away a family 4-pack of tickets through the Mile High Mama’s site. Contest deadline is February 15th, so get over there.


OK, and also, I really had to let you know about all the FREE stuff going on up there every night of the week as well. Oh, and if you are ever going up for some TUBING, you know who to call.


TIME/DATE: Saturdays – Wednesdays, December 19 – mid-March, 4:00 – 5:00pm
LOCATION: Village Ice Rink & Gazebo


TIME/DATE: Saturdays – Wednesdays, December 19 – mid-March, 4:00 – 5:00pm
LOCATION: Village Ice Rink & Gazebo

TIME/DATE: Saturdays – Wednesdays, December 19 – mid-March, 4:00 – 5:00pm
LOCATION: Village Ice Rink & Gazebo

TIME/DATE: Thursdays, December 17 – April 8, 5:30 – 8:30pm
LOCATION: Kids’ Ski & Ride School – Blue/Green Rooms

TIME/DATE: Thursdays, January 7 & 21, February 4 & 18, 6:00 – 8:00pm
LOCATION: Village Ice Rink & Gazebo


TIME/DATE: Fridays, December 18 – April 10, 4:00 – 5:00pm
LOCATION: Village Gazebo

TIME/DATE: Fridays, January 15 – March 19, 4:30 – 6:00pm
LOCATION: Bouncer Terrain Park near Discovery Center


TIME/DATE: Saturdays, January 9 – March 27, 3:00 – 4:00pm
LOCATION: Discovery Center Plaza

TIME/DATE: Saturdays – Wednesdays, December 19 – mid-March, 4:00 – 5:00pm
LOCATION: Village Ice Rink & Gazebo

TIME/DATE: Saturdays, December 12 – April 10, 4:00pm – 5:00pm
LOCATION: Village Gazebo


TIME/DATE: Saturdays – Wednesdays, December 19 – mid-March, 4:00 – 5:00pm
LOCATION: Village Ice Rink & Gazebo

P.S. If you need to see ALLLLLLL the Winter Park photos, here is a slideshow. I warn you. There are a bunch of us TUBING.

*cross-posted at Mile High Mamas today

Sep 2009

Finding My Mission

You might have noticed we went to Ireland recently. If you don’t know me in person, imagine an impish grin as I write that.


The truth is, while we try to travel as often as we can, this trip was big for us. Not just in scope. But in terms of doing it exactly as we wanted to. It. just. worked. out. The weather, the timing, the places, the people – everything JUST WORKED OUT.

We absolutely had the luck of the Irish.

And as you have seen me posting for weeks, I took thousands of photos. I whittled those thousands down to hundreds and organized them into sets. And FINALLY, I cut those hundred down to ONE group of my very best shots from the trip (below). Honestly, I had been holding off on the very last one, because that meant I was DONE.

(be sure to hit the “embiggen” icon in lower right after it starts playing for full screen viewing)

But that is silly, because, for once I really feel like I captured our adventures. Now when I look at these photos I will relive this vacation over and over again. Every sight, sound and smell.

Even as the trip was charmed, our luck kept going when we returned. Last weekend, I attended an all day seminar with two National Geographic photographers, Bob Krist and Ralph Lee Hopkins.

Mind, meet blown.

Hand, meet ache. (After scribbling an entire notebook of new ideas in an 8 hour time span.)

But one major thing I came away with was mission. Not a fake mission, mind you. Nothing I am going to lie about when I finally get the courage up to ask locals if I can take their picture instead of doing it on the sly – but a real mission that is important to me – even if it is only just like every other mission I seem to be on lately: to document our lives.

The purpose is what is important, what guides you, and turns a snapshot into a photograph.

Mar 2009

The Post Where I Pretend I am Pioneer Woman

I am not sure if I have ever mentioned how much I admire Ree, aka Pioneer Woman, and her photography. Not that it really *needs* to be mentioned, seeing as this is all like a universal truth or something and who *really* needs to mention a universal truth, right? Well, I kinda feel like I do since 1) I got the opportunity to meet Ree at SXSW and she was pretty much what you get when you look “nice” up in the dictionary, and 2) I use some of her Photoshop actions regularly, and 3) I went on a horse-drawn sleigh ride today and took a bunch of horse photos and felt like an uber-impostor.

So, with all that out of the way, I can actually show you the impostor photos from our sleigh ride in Winter Park today and we all know that *I* know they are nowhere near as nice as Ree’s but I still really enjoyed taking them, proving to the cosmos that you actually *can* take this city girl out into the woods – especially when the trip includes hot cocoa and roasted marshmallows. Yeah, that’s the kind of ranch life I can handle.






Rest of Sleigh Ride set is here.

Back to the city tomorrow.

Um, if we can make it through all that SNOW.

Jan 2008

Maui Day 7 (Last Day)

And here we are. The end of our trip. As Sizzle mentioned, I *am* feeling a bit sad all over again. But it’s been fun sharing this with you, thanks for being so enthusiastic.

OK, ready?

As we packed, Declan was thrilled with all the seashell necklaces he had acquired over the week. Of course, all four of us pawned every one we received off on him, so it was pretty easy for him to load up.

Early in the morning, Jeff and Danielle took off for one more snorkeling adventure up the beach and we lounged around the pool.

When they got back, we all checked out and lost our shit over our bill (seeing as we had been charging everything to the room all week). But seriously, it was worth it. Hawaii is magical. Even if Declan may have to take out some student loans for college. At least he can say he went to Hawaii when he was 5, right?

And after lunch, it started to cloud up a bit. Really, the first semi-not-so-fabulous weather we had all week. It was like Maui knew we were leaving and was trying to make it easier for us.

So we just hung out in the hot tub rather than the pool. No big whoop.

And starting saying goodbyes.

To the swim-up bar.

And the kiddie pool.

And the hordes of people with too little sunscreen on.

But one little boy had the time of his life. (Oh, and the red stuff all over his face? That’s cherries. So, he had the time of his life – AND cherries.)

Bryan had some fun too.

OK, we all did.

Goodbye, Hawaii. Mahalo.