All Aboard the Polar Express on the Grand Canyon RailroadDec 9, 2013
The Grand Canyon Railroad brings a classic holiday tale to life with the return of the Polar Express. Now through January 4, families can experience this themed train ride that follows the storyline of the acclaimed children’s book.
DAY 4 — Some days don’t get better than this.
Plate-sized blueberry pancakes and fresh berries I didn’t cook and a foot of fresh powder on Aspen Mountain.
Did I mention we’re eating our pancakes, biscuits and gravy, sausage and bacon, eggs–and for the healthy eaters, greek yogurt, fruit and oatmeal–at the Sundeck on the top of the mountain?
There are options for First Tracks every morning, but on Wednesdays for $25 you are treated to this sumptuous spread and then the chance to ski down the mountain any way you like, rather than following ski instructors down. All the better that we got a foot of fresh snow yesterday, the sun is shining and it is a blue sky morning.
I’m here with my husband Andy, my son Matt, my nephew Chris and his dad and my husband’s brother Mark Yemma. When Mark and Andy were in college and afterward, they came to Aspen and in fact pretty much learned to ski here. This is the first time Mark has been back in 35 years; Chris had never been here.
What better place, I thought for the two brothers to reminisce about their 20s with their sons who are just a few years older than they were then.
But of course whenever you take the kids, nothing goes as planned—even on a perfect skiing day. I’d envisioned our First Tracks together for weeks (Reserve by calling 970-920-0755). Instead, my son Matt got to the top of the Gondola and realized he didn’t feel well. He hopped the Gondola back down. So much for the picture I’d wanted to take of them all smiling on top of Aspen Mountain.
Snowmass, one of Aspen’s neighboring mountains, may be five times bigger (Aspen has 675 skiable acres as compared to Snowmass’ 3,132, Aspen Highlands 1,028 and Buttermilk’s 470) but Aspen—known as Ajax after the mine that was once here—is the one with all the mystique, rising high right in the middle of this historic mining town that these days is known for the celebs who vacation here as well as for its slopes. Together Aspen’s four mountains offer 5,300 acres of skiable terrain!
We’re ensconced in a comfortable condo at The Gant a short walk (or complimentary shuttle ride) to the Silver Queen Gondola and walking distance to all of Aspen’s famous nightlife and shops. There are more than 150 in this small town.
I love staying in a condo—especially such a comfy, well-equipped one—on ski trips with family because we can cook breakfast, gather around the fire après ski for cocktails, and eat a delicious dinner without having to move our tired selves. All the better when my sister-in-law Anne Yemma volunteers to cook—an excellent pasta Bolognese. A perfect ending to a perfect day in the mountains!
This morning we were out the door early to get the Gondola up the mountain before it was open to the public—shortly after 8 a.m. We ski some of the mountain’s famous runs all morning. By noon, my son Matt is feeling better, thankfully.
We meet up for lunch at Bonnie’s on the mountain (loved the fresh tomato soup!) and head out together afterward.
I smile. It’s the family together on the mountain scene that I’d envisioned, complete with the inside jokes—just a few hours later. And I’ll take those good times whenever we can get them.