My parents have decided that they want to give us experiences every Christmas, not necessarily things. For us, this year, that meant that when we saw the family set of snowshoes at Costco, we got on the horn to my mom and asked if this would qualify. She said yes, and as of Christmas Day, we are the proud owners of a set of snowshoes that should last us all the way until both of our kids weigh 250 pounds each. 😉
Obviously, we needed to try these things out. We haven’t had snow worth mentioning around here for a few years, so we decided to head up to Snoqualmie Pass for a snow day. Let me tell you, I used to downhill ski, and still would if it was affordable at all, but I used to decide to hit the slopes at the last minute without a problem. Having children, however, makes snow a whole different enchilada. First of all, they do this growing thing. Since we haven’t had snow in a stones age, we haven’t had a need for snow clothes. We dug out our gear from two years ago and it was a joke of trying to squeeze into zippers and camel toes galore appeared- on both children- through their snow clothes. That was the level of tightness. We needed to get out to buy some new things. I always find it ironic that winter gear goes on sale in September and is clearanced by the end of November, before winter has even officially begun. We were lucky that Fred Meyer still had a few pairs at 60% off because Eddie Bauer wanted us to buy 100 dollar pants for the girl. Nope.
And what about me? When I was 14 years old I used to ride the ski bus to Stevens Pass every single Saturday, January through March, with a huge number of kids from my school- we took five buses every week. Side note- those buses were nuts. On the way home it was pitch dark with 75 jr high and high school kids for an hour or two on their way down the mountain. Let’s just say it got very experimental for some people in the bus. Not me- I was a good little scaredy cat who sat right behind the chaperones! I NEVER wanted to be in trouble and avoided it at all costs. Anyhow, finding plus sized ski clothes in the 1980’s was a joke. (Another side note- Target doesn’t currently carry snow clothes for women in stores this year- only for men and children. Apparently women don’t go outside in the snow, and when they do, they don’t need to dress the part.). One day when prepping for the ski bus, we were determined to find some new snow bibs for me, asked a sales associate if they carried plus sizes and they had one pair. They were black and ugly, not a cute neon orange or pink like my peers, but I got them because they fit and I didn’t have to do the fat girl shimmy into them on the bus in front of everyone while we changed. They were a size 18, they fit like a tight 12 and bore the ironic label of Beautiful Skiier. I felt anything but beautiful while wearing something that tried to make me beautiful by naming itself beautiful. Anyhow, those things are still with me, except now I LOVE that I can wear my snow pants from the 1980’s and I’m so happy at I bought them in black, not neon! I didn’t need to shop for anything for snowshoeing- I’ve been ready since 1987! I even used my same gloves! Lol!
So once we got the clothes squared away, there was the car to attend to. Buy the gas, check the fluids, fill the tires, get the chains, pack everyone’s gear into it. We woke up yesterday feeling pretty prepared! We ate, packed food for four people, then got in the car and headed up the mountain. As we got closer and closer to the snow, our kids started squealing with excitement! Any misgivings or concerns about the icy roads were forgotten with their apparent joy! They couldn’t wait to get out in it! When we finally stopped and let them out, it was like common sense eluded them and they were covered in an instant. Jude was flopping around in it like a fish out of water- it was nuts and so funny! Then there was the issue of the state park sno- pass. Gracious me, if Washington state hasn’t made the sno-pass an arduous annoyance! I went online to research it and found out that we needed to buy a special addend pass to the discover pass we already had, except the online purchase option wasn’t available online, yesterday, so I thought it would be easy to find, just like you can buy a one-day pass at any hike station in the parking lot. Sno-pass doesn’t work that way. You can get one at the summit, one at Cle-elum, or one at places where they sell fishing and hunting licenses. We ended up driving across the mountain pass a few times before we finally figured this all out, wasted two hours and a lot of emotional energy. I mention this because it really does behoove you to buy it before you go, if you go. Really really. Learn from me.
Once we figured out how to go in the snow with a family, bought the pass, parked at the much less crowded Easton Lake and geared up, the day was so much fun! The snowshoes reminded me a lot of the paddleboard- the snowshoes gave me opportunity and access to somewhere I don’t usually go. Without the snowshoes, I would have sunk deep down into the track. With them, we were able to travel three miles through the snowy woods on a cross country ski track. The woods were gorgeous and our kids were confident adventurers in it! As a bonus, I learned that snowshoeing is actually a pretty solid calorie burner as well. We all got a really good sweat on and had such a fun time that we can’t wait to return again later this week! Now that we have all of our gear prepped, know how to work the pass and have an idea of where to go, the next trip should be a lot easier and more relaxing. Score for a fun, new hobby!
Next thought: cross country skis. 😋