Are Toddler’s Ready to Snow Ski?


After my sister took her two boys (5 & 7) skiing last year, I’ve wanted to teach my boy early too. And it always takes time to plan a good trip, but it takes extra time to plan travel on a budget. Needless to say, we’ve been counting down to this trip for about 6 months.

My parents and I shopped bargains and deals until we booked it all for better than fair prices. If you want to know how I book travel, one piece at a time while on a budget, comment below. With enough requests, I’ll write a separate post about this.

#theteelstakeskicooper day 1

Day 1: My boy has been so excited about traveling on an airplane with his grandparents, my parents who go by Popaw & Lollee. We have slightly different travel needs than they do, but I found us flight times that seemed perfect for all. Atlanta's departure time was 1:05 pm and their arrival into Denver was 2:15. Just enough time on both ends to be relaxed about our travels. Or so I thought…

Coming in for a landing into Denver, Colorado

I thought my boy would nap on the plane, and if not, I figured he’d definitely sleep in the car. Unfortunately, this little man fell asleep during landing and in the car two times right before we got out to shop and eat. Oh, we had a delayed arrival time which pushed us right onto the interstate for Denver rush hour traffic. Awesome, right? We tried to make the most of it by jumping off the interstate for a wholesale shopping trip and then scooted up the mountain range to Idaho Springs for a great meal at Tommyknocker Craft Brewery and Pub. I mean, they have an AWESOME Peach IPA, and I didn’t even get the name of it.

We wrapped up and hoped to arrive in Buena Vista, Colorado within a little bit of time, but the roads weren’t all great and we drove through a beautiful white snowfall, all while my boy was in and out of car sickness and sleep. Car sickness. Can I say that again?

Moms, if you are reading, who has experienced car sickness with their toddlers? This is new to me, and HARD. I don’t know when he is really going to get sick vs he might puke or he thinks he just wants to stop. Message me, here, if you have any feedback.

If I’m honest, I dosed in and out of sleep myself, while half-way turned around to hold my boy’s hand. I don’t remember all of the drives up. I was tired. But I remember driving into town, following Google Maps towards our VRBO when the rest of the car said, “did that sign say, ‘CAUTION! Entering State Penitentiary Territory. Do NOT stop!’?” You better believe I sat straight up! I’m thinking, who successfully rents a VRBO without disclosing how close they are to this “TERRITORY”?? Our renter, obviously. Turns out, we missed a turn, but DANG! We aren’t that far from that warning sign. I should probably be worried!

The view from River Haven in Buena Vista, CO

Day one finally ended after unloading into a cozy home on the Arkansas River, and I have forgotten all about that territory up the road. *wink-wink* However, I’m still worried about whether the Arkansas River and one mile is enough space between my family and the sign we read.

#theteelstakeskicooper day 2

Day 2: I take pride in my travel planning skills, until now. As a mom, I tried to consider all the details around my child’s schedule and needs, as well as everyone else’s travel, wants. As the alarm went off at 6 am, I knew I messed up by booking my boy’s first ski lesson for 10 o’clock am on our first ski day. No one was ready to move that early, especially me. Did I mention that we didn’t find our house until around 1 AM, our time, or later? We did NOT get out of this house on time, and I was quite stressed about getting us fed, renting our ski equipment, and arriving for this lesson on time, much less 15 minutes early. Thankfully, someone smarter in the car suggested I call the ski resort when the ski school did not answer my call to request a later lesson. It worked. We got the lesson moved from 10 AM to 1 PM. I sighed relief, for a minimum amount of time.

The extra time allowed us to find a great breakfast at the Golden Burro, rent our equipment from Paul at Bill’s Ski & Snowboard Rentals in Leadville and get up to Ski Cooper in time to get my boy in his gear before his lesson. Meltdown enters here, but first, let me describe what this day was for me.

Today. This is the day I chose to get back on a pair of snow skis for the first time in about 10 years. It was emotional. Imagine the excitement that I had starting my day knowing the joy I would be experiencing again, yet not on my own. We had private lessons set up for my boy too!!! But you know what; it was hard! Things weren’t as they should have been (in my head 😂). As a first-time mom, I was not smart enough to avoid booking his first ski lesson during nap time (our time which, of course, his body is still on our time). Que #Meltdown.

Let’s just say after my boy had his meltdown, one of his first public kicking and screaming fits, my mama, Lollee, showed up just in time to take her break from the slopes and let me take a break from motherhood to get on the mountain myself. It was this part of the day that all.the.feels. came. I felt exhilarated… and then I freaked out. I couldn’t feel my toes, then my feet, then the numbness started rising to the top of my ski boots. My goal was to get back to the lodge, but it meant another lift ride and trail run. But on that lift ride, I wanted to go into full meltdown myself. My shins were numb; all of it was numb. Once we exited the lift, I found a spot. This spot. The one that allowed me to generate blood flow back to my feet by removing my boots. (Yes! My boots were too small, but I still had to wear them until I could exchange them back in town.)

Views from the top of Ski Cooper's main lift.

The boys took another run, as I released the biggest sigh of relief, sniffed some Valor, and gave myself a pep talk. Then, the guys came back, and I was ready for the all-time best trail, the Molly Mayfield. Getting down this one included another stream of emotions because I had my first fall (frustrating), but also felt the groove, and I finished like a champ (for my level, of course). Do you know what else was even better than that feeling? Skiing up to see my boy on skis and skiing to his daddy. Lollee for the win!!! She managed to spend that little (but what felt like an eternity for me) time with him and talk him into skis. The best feeling in the world and exactly what I needed to return to! Of course, at the end of a day like that, you can’t help but laugh out loud at losing the sole of a shoe you are forced to wear in public for the remainder of the day! But hey, these boots were with me for my first ski trip, over 20 years ago, so I am okay to retire them in the same resort where I learned to ski.

Losing the soles to your shoes in public, what a joke.

I’d love to say the whole day ended on this happy high, especially after I walked into The Lariat with a one-missing-heel limp, but no. Our review of this restaurant left us with quite a different feeling. The beer was good, but the food did not meet our standard. Let’s just say, if they said they were serving bar food it would have been way better than what we were served.

#theteelstakeskicooper day 3

Day 3: My worst night of sleep ever. You know when you’re in a new environment and you can’t get comfortable. Each room has its own floor heater and thermostat. The first night, we froze. This night, we were SO HOT. I was up every two hours feeling my body coming down with something. I failed to bring a glass of water up to my room before I went to bed, and because I didn’t want to make the trip downstairs in the middle of the night, I found myself drinking from the bathroom sink every few hours. Once the boy woke us, I knew I wasn’t well. And this means, our trip is definitely not going to go as planned! So, here I am excited to get my boy back to his rescheduled ski lesson, yet I’ve got a throbbing head, the one when you can feel the congestion in your sinuses. You know what though? I didn’t care. I was going to push through because it would be worth it to spend the day with my boy who was finally excited to be on skis. Then, it was time to get dressed and go, and I was unable to leave bed. I had already made multiple trips to the bathroom, but now, I had to return… all the cookies were lost! Oh no! I can’t go to the mountain, sit in a resort with a bug that I might possibly give to someone else. This means, I can’t go, but I couldn’t say it out loud. Thankfully, moms (no matter how old you are) know what you need. Lollee comes in to suggest I stay home and they take my boy for the day. Everyone knew I had to push through the funk to find the freedom of health again. Talk about an emotional roller coaster. I felt like such a failure at this moment. How could I miss a vacation day with my family? How could I miss my boy’s ski lesson? It’s a good thing someone else pretty much made the decision for me. As soon as they were out the door, I bawled like a baby but melted into the couch for a nap. My body was not right. Stomach issues. Sinus issues. Now, maybe a fever. It wasn’t good. Even after waking from my first, short nap, I couldn’t even open my book. You know me, I was prepared for the good and bad. I was already doused with essential oils because I do not travel without an arsenal of oils. Thankfully, by lunch, I was ready to soak in a bath and shower which helped me feel like a new woman. The rest of the day, I tried to enjoy myself and this beautiful view. I got into my book a little, watched a show, took a few pictures, and waited very impatiently for updates from my family about their day on the mountain. NOTHING.

Some days you must rest, but don't miss the views.

It’s funny! As a mom, I’ve dreamed about a day to myself in less of a setting, but now that I have a better-than-imagined setting, I want to be somewhere else. Unfortunately, cell service up on the mountain is terrible, and no one could get out an update or picture for me, until their drive home. It was so great to hear that my boy went to his lesson, even though he enjoyed more snow angels than time on his skis. Maybe 3.5 is a little too early for someone who doesn’t live in a snowy region? I don’t know; I’m not ready to give in, so tomorrow… I said. “Tomorrow, I’ll spend the whole day on the magic carpet and bunny hill with him.” I was determined to get back to 100% and get us out there again the next day. Mindset: Makeup for a lost day, right?

My Boy on the bunny slope with his amazing ski instructor, Pamela, at Ski Cooper Resort.
TBone livin' life on the ski slopes - Ski Cooper, Leadville, CO