Saturday, February 18, 2012

Winter Adventure, Winter Torture?

Those in the know are well aware that I am nothing if not a faithful correspondent.  A few people complain that I do not write posts often enough,  and although I am never one to point to the failings in others,  it behooves me to mention that "faithful" is not a synonym for "frequent".  So, let us not have any more of this complaining!

It has been a long, miserable winter so far.  True, it has been one of the mildest winters on record for our region, with temperatures 20 or more degrees above normal and sunshine nearly every day,  but the fact remains that January is the most dark and depressing month of the year and I feel we are well shot of it.  Besides, I am not sure why we are expected to be thankful for milder temperatures and sunshine in January!  The milder temperatures were hardly tropical!  Rather, it was only mild enough to prevent any snow from falling - and snow is the one thing that can brighten the landscape (and the spirits!) in the dark of winter.  I, for one, would have preferred temperatures ten degrees colder and plenty of snowstorms to liven things up around here!

Speaking of snow, however, I am happy to report that Scott  I came up with the perfect mid-winter getaway!  We would pack up the boys and their snowboards and Scott's skis and drive to a Michigan ski resort for the long winter weekend!  Just the tonic for the winter blahs!  It is true that I haven't been on skis since I was fourteen,  but I have seen plenty of TV and movies featuring the idyllic ski vacations of people just like me - glorious mountainsides, glittering sunshine through towering pines, hot rum toddies sipped by a crackling fireplace inside a luxurious hilltop chalet overlooking the dazzling slopes. Oh yes, I know all about it and I could not wait to set off!

We left yesterday morning, full of good cheer and confident that, although it was dull, brown and deadly at home,  there would be cooler temperatures and bright snow up north.  Sure enough,  the snow started to fly as if on cue just about 100 miles north of home, and by the time we arrived at the resort, we were driving in a veritable Christmas Card scene.  TITK understand that I am nothing if not a nature-lover, so this scene was a balm to my weary spirit, indeed.

rustic kitchen
The snow fell thickly all afternoon and evening, which was all very nice. Although I do wonder sometimes why the sky gods always seem to send either too little or too much of a good thing!  It would have been fine if our lodgings had been at all as I had imagined based upon movies and tv shows  as advertised!  Sure, there is a fireplace (or a wood stove, to be precise) and yes there is a view over the glistening slopes, but I want to know why these northern, woodsy vacation spots always have to make everything so very northern and woodsy!

 Let me be perfectly frank.  Whenever one hears the phrase "rustic charm",  one must understand that one is hearing an oxymoron.  A place that is truly rustic, is rustic full stop.  Unlike in the movies, where "rustic charm" means a little northwoods decor is draped around accommodations so luxurious one could transfer them to Beverly Hills without anyone noticing - hence, I presume, the source of the delusion that rustic and charm ever belong in the same phrase together - the true ski chalet is actually rustic.

rustic living room
The main feature of "rustic" is wood.  Woods outside the chalet (fine),  wood piled up beside the chalet for the woodstove (fine, and useful too), and wood panelling on every possible surface, wall, doorway and cupboard  (oh, my eyes!), except for the one place where wood would have been welcome, which is the floor.  There, you will find shag carpet and linoleum painted to look like ceramic tile.  While this is all very servicable,  I must insist that we call a spade a spade and admit that there is no "charm" in rustic, unless "charm" means useful, servicable and adequate (but not beautiful).

In all other respects,  I am prepared to admit that the lodgings are more than adequate and indeed quite cozy, because (as Those in the Know can attest) I am the epitome of gracious flexibility.  Scott and I sent the boys off for an afternoon on the hill, while we went off to rent ski equipment for me.

rustic fireplace
I may not have been on skis in almost 40 years,  but I understand from the expert in the pro shop that it is "just like riding a bike - you never forget".  This would be far more encouraging news had I not,  in fact,  definitely forgotten how to ride a bike (and no, I am not interested in discussing the embarrassing circumstances under which this fact became apparent to all me).  Nevertheless,  I am nothing if not foolhardy courageous, so I laughed in hearty agreement and declined the free beginner ski lessons on offer.  Who has time to waste on the bunny hill?

So, this morning, we are all up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to hit the slopes!  I am looking forward to a glorious day swishing down the sun-speckled trails and speeding down the wide hills.  Look out ski world, here I come!!


  1. Just last night I found my ski goggles! Still wrapped, and barely used.

    Have fun! :-)

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