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Bucket List Item #19: Learn a New Winter Sport

Growing up in Southern California, “winter” was just a fun concept we saw in movies. One year on Christmas day, we hiked 9 miles in 75 degrees and had a picnic on the beach in our tank tops. When I moved to Flagstaff, Arizona for my freshman year of college, I was introduced to real SNOW. It was so beautiful and fun!

Even though I lived in the snowy mountain town for four years of college, I never tried any winter sports like skiing or snowboarding. I was part of the NCAA D1 track and cross country teams with a partial scholarship and we were forbidden from skiing or snowboarding because of the risk of injury and jeopardizing our athletic performance.

I moved to Boise in 2016 and even though we live 30 miles from a ski mountain called Bogus Basin, I’ve just always felt intimidated to try it! Driving up the winding mountain road in winter conditions freaked me out, and it seemed like there was an overwhelming amount of gear and equipment and logistics to figure out that I never made the effort to try it.

This year I challenged myself to learn a new winter sport with this bucket list, and a friend of ours offered to go skiing with us and act as our “instructor” because she has years and years of experience.

I borrowed snow pants, snow gloves, and goggles. I rented the boots, skis, poles, and helmet. I only came with my own jacket, and snacks. 😁 The weather was cloudy on our drive up, it snowed off and on all day long, and then cleared up just before we drove back home. I was very surprised at how many people there were on the mountain, especially kids! I had no idea it would be so full. I also had no idea how many different ski runs there were. I guess I always just assumed there were 3-4 ski runs per mountain, but there were a couple dozen routes with three different ski lifts.

Once we got clipped into our skis, Sarah took Zeb and I over to the bunny hill. It’s so small that it’s just a “magic carpet” that takes you to the top rather than an actual lift. It was easy to stay upright because the slope was so shallow. Sarah had us practice doing “Pizza!” with our skis to slow down and zig-zag side to side. After two trips down the bunny hill with ease, I had some false confidence and said I was ready to be done with the bunny hill and move on. The three of us went over to the main ski lift, which serviced several routes at the top of the mountain – all which were blue and black. If you’re unfamiliar, runs are categorized by difficulty level with three colors. Green is easy, blue is intermediate and black is advanced. Black runs would be extremely steep or have some other types of challenges. Sarah said we would get to the top of the hill and find a “blue” route to take down.

The routes were not labeled at the top and there wasn’t any kind of map up there, which we weren’t expecting. We picked a run that looked less steep than others, but my speed got out of control 20 seconds in and I fell down for the first time. Getting back to standing position with skis on is quite the full body workout! And so awkward. It took a couple of minutes to return to standing again, but within a few more seconds I had gotten out of control and my skis flew out from under me again. This was definitely a lot harder than the bunny hill. Slowly we finally made it through this wide area and were brought to a fork in the path. The trail we took ended up getting very narrow, with a drop-off on our right and some very slick ice. I immediately fell on the ice and my boot popped out of my ski. I got so freaked out and nervous, unsure how the heck I was going to make it down the rest of the mountain. Sarah was very patient, and Zeb and I slowly made our way through this narrow portion. We both took turns falling down. When the bottom of the hill was in sight, I was just too shaken up to keep trying so I ended up taking my skis off and scooting down another big portion on my butt. It’s still a full-body workout, pushing my body along in the fresh soft snow and lifting my skis up with every “scoot”! I felt bad for holding Sarah back, but she assured us that it was no big deal.

When we got to the bottom portion, it leveled out a bit and I was able to get my skis back on and finish the run upright haha! I felt less silly about my performance when we got over to a map to look at which runs we had just taken down. Turns out we started with a blue and then transitioned into a black diamond run. Oops! Perhaps a bit of a jump from two turns down a bunny hill to a black diamond…

After the long trek down though, we took a lunch break at the upper lodge. We all ordered tacos and regrouped! Sarah and Zeb both took a more advanced ski run down after lunch, but Zeb had formed some pretty gnarly blisters on both feet and decided that he would retire to the lodge for the rest of the afternoon. Sarah and I went back out for some bunny/green hill skiing for another hour and half and it was much more enjoyable :) The fresh snowfall was so pretty on all of the trees!

Sarah grew up going to Bogus Basin with her family, and her mom started a tradition of making brownies for the car ride home. Sarah continued the tradition with us and brought us some Kodiak protein brownies.

Overall it was such a fun day and I’m so glad Sarah and Zeb were my first ski partners. The mountain was gorgeous and now that I’ve gone through it once, I’m less intimidated by the gear and equipment. We will definitely try it again next year. I can’t tell you how SORE I am now, 48 hours later! It was a fantastic winter outdoor workout too!

Bucket List Item #10: Ride a Roller Coaster

The theme parks in Idaho are few and far between. In fact, I can only think of one and it is about as far away from Boise at the northern-most part of the state. To cross this bucket list item off, my husband and I first talked about using his flight benefits to jaunt down to Salt Lake City for a day trip to their amusement park Lagoon. However, snagging a standby seat these days is a rare event. The benefit for pilot families to travel for free was once a loathsome perk, but nowadays it’s a laughable empty promise as nearly every flight is overbooked. Standby seats come with the high risk of getting stuck on a layover or without a flight back home (been there, done that!). A risk we weren’t willing to take with our 6.5 month old. So, we scratched that idea (which totally would have been something our pre-parent selves would have done). And instead we made a family day to the lone mountain coaster in the Treasure Valley.

About 40 minutes away from us is a small ski area called Bogus Basin. In the summertime, they offer great mountain biking trails, sunrise yoga classes, lots of kids’ activities, some outdoor concerts, and Idaho’s only “mountain coaster” which they call the Glade Runner.

It’s built right into the landscape, so as you climb to the top of the peak you are brushing past wildflowers and brush. The twists and turns down the course wind directly through huge pine trees along the hillside so it’s a really unique ride in nature that’s almost a mile long!

Zeb, Brynnley and I hopped in the car pretty shortly after we woke up on the Saturday morning and we were the first people at the ticket counter when they opened. We actually got there a little early so we did as much of a “hike” as Brynnley’s stroller situation would allow. She looked stylin’ in a pair of sunglasses from when I was a baby!

Then Zeb and I took turns riding the roller coaster one at a time so the other could stay with Brynnley and the diaper bag and lunch pail. I went first, and I’m definitely the more “chicken” one. The speed of the coaster is completely at your control because once you start the downhill section you are just using gravity along with a hand brake. It picks up speed so quickly that I thought I HAD to brake periodically otherwise it would be out of control by the end. But my husband told me after his ride that he never touched the hand brakes and the ride automatically caps your speed at a certain point so it doesn’t get carried away. I wish I knew that before I went and I would have been a little braver with my brake usage!

We shared an iced coffee and had some granola bars and pistachios at the picnic area before heading home. It was a beautiful morning on the mountain and great to have a fun little family outing before the chaos of October. October is hunting season for my husband, who participates in the deer and elk season in Idaho when he has breaks from work. October will bring a lot of Mommy & Me time for Brynnley and I so I am looking forward to planning some fall activities for her and I :)

I recently joined MOPS – which is an organization that stands for Moms Of Preschoolers, though you can join during pregnancy and continue until your youngest child is 5 years old. I’ve only been to one meeting and one zoo play date so far, but I’m excited about the new opportunity to build friendships with other fellow moms in the area and branch out. Being a first-time mom brings so many questions and now I have 99 women who have all done it before (some of them several times) to gain more insight from and just connect and talk with when most of my days seem like they are consumed with my tiny human’s bodily functions. That was today. Note to self: no more pears for baby.

My family just got back from an incredible weeklong vacation to the San Juan Islands which I will be blogging all about next week, and I can’t wait to share some of our photos and travel recommendations. So bring a cup of coffee and come back later next week for that fun post! :)

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