This blog comes to us from Amber Johnson of MileHighMamas.com.
Mom: “Can you please unpack your lunchbox?”
Daughter: “Why should I do it? You’re the one who packed my lunch for me.”
Mom: “I did it to be nice. It’s your responsibility to make it and then unload it.”
Daughter: “Well, if you made it, you should be the one to clean it.”
Thus is a sampling of a conversation I had with my 8-year-old daughter a few days before our trip to Copper Mountain. Mother-daughter relationships are complicated during the best of times but we’ve entered a new phase: The pre-teen years.
But parents everywhere, have faith because I have found a cure for tween moodiness: Take your child on a ski getaway with just the two of you and you’ll swear they’re a different person by the end. One you really, really like.
The scheduling was perfect. The Sunday evening before President’s Day, we drove to Copper Mountain in a separate car than my husband and son. We skied together as a family on Monday and early Tuesday morning, the boys left for work and school. My daughter did not have school until Thursday so we would spend Tuesday and Wednesday (my birthday) together in the mountains.
Here’s the catch: I got really sick. But even that couldn’t hold me back from the healing balm of a ski vacation with my firstborn. So behold: Your guide to having the ultimate getaway with your son or daughter.
1) Leisurely wake up in your condo. While you’re fighting off your flu (or just need extra time), lounge by the fireplace, build a fort and eat breakfast in it.
2) Ski together that morning. With over 150 trails across 2,465 acres, we fell in love with Copper Mountain’s varied terrain. My daughter enjoyed the runs off Timberline Express, a veritable intermediate-level Mecca.
3) Go shopping that afternoon. Center, East and West Villages offer all kinds of restaurants, shopping and activities. Buy yourselves hats from Kelly’s Closet to commemorate the occasion and justify the expense as an early birthday present. Attempt to buy mini doughnuts from Sugar Lips Mini Donuts but upon realizing they’re closed, succor your sweet tooth with cake pops at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Tip: S’more kits are available for $5.95 per kit and firepits around Copper Mountain are plentiful.
4) Rent skates for $10 from McCoy’s Mountain Market and skate to your heart’s content on West Lake in the heart of the Village at Copper (open from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Point out the hockey-playing Canadian dude making slapshots in the net and give your little half-breed (half-American/Canadian) something to shoot for. Literally.
5) Get a rush on the Alpine Rush Zip Line. For just $10, this zip line soars across West Lake daily from 1-5 p.m. Despite being petrified to do it the day before, my daughter begged to do it again twice. Go to the middle of West Lake as she flies overhead, take a picture and entitle your shot, Conquering Fear. Tear up a little that your girl is growing up.
6) Race over to nearby Pizza Carlo for Kids in the Kitchen. Served every Monday-Thursday at 4 p.m., your kid will go crazy over this interactive dining experience as they make their own chef hat, don an apron (that they get to keep), get a tour of the kitchen, learn how to toss a large 18” Kids Chef’s Pizza and prepare it with all their favorite fixins’. Devour that, along with garlic cheese bread, family-style salad and soda. When you think you can’t eat another bite, bring on the dessert pizza where your child will go crazy decorating it with cookies, M&Ms, sprinkles, chocolate syrup and whipped cream. Roll out of there, raving that you won’t eat ever again. Until your birthday breakfast the next morning at Belgian Bean Waffles & Coffee.
7) Go back to your condo and hit the hot tubs. Soak your weary bones as you download your favorite moments of the day while watching the steam rise in the frosty air and marveling at those crazy grooming machines prepping Copper Mountain for the next day.
8) Bedtime. Relish as your daughter raves about how she’ll never forget your amazing mother-daughter day. Next time, vow to hit the Tubing Hill in East Village and the 9,000-square foot Woodword at Copper, a year-round snowboard, ski, digital media and skate program that features indoor artificial snow jumps, large foam pits, fly-bed Supertramps, terrain parks, a Superpipe and go-pro rentals.
Because the sometimes-moody tween/teen years last a long time. And I’m convinced mother-daughter trips are the best cure.