For one week, the spring sun was simply stunning and the snow reacted dutifully, streaking in buckets down our street towards the drains, squelching into soggy lawns and creating brilliant reflections anywhere it couldn’t. The left behind browns work hard at greening up, but they always take a muddy while, so we headed to the mountains at Arctic Valley to bid winter a joyful see-you-again-soon send off.
Because it was such a good snow year, the first weekend in May was also the last weekend of lift skiing at Arctic Valley. We rented the new cabin under Chair 2’s lift shed and due to all the snow, were thankfully offered a ride up on the last lift rotation of the evening. This meant we didn’t get the afternoon to access the cabin as the ski patrol uses it during their shifts, but we spent part of that time packing and the other part taking a few turns in the sun. There were signs of winter disassembling all around us.
I hadn’t noticed the cabin really while skiing this past winter—great observational skills, I know. It’s a tiny thing, but well constructed and packed with all the necessities.
The main obstacle is water. This time of year, we just melted snow, but later in the summer, water requires more deliberation. There’s a great little creek we play in during the summer months down near the old road access, but it’d be a hike down and up to retrieve.
The well-padded (supplied!) beds easily sleep four adults, in our case, two adults and a toddler on the bottom, and three children on the top (unless you have a tween that would rather crash on the floor than with his sisters).
The electricity makes a lot of difference in the small kitchen! We aren’t used to cabin trips with a two burner electric stove, microwave and charging station and they had left some salt, pepper and a bin of tea to boot. We didn’t try out the toaster oven, but I assume it works. I had trouble realizing the stovetop was actually off so flipped the breaker switch a few times before I realized the instruction manual was tucked up above. We ended up bringing our own folding grill. The counter seats four but there were camp chairs for the deck as well.
The electric incinerating toilet was also pretty impressive—“I saw the flames!” a wide eyed eight year old told me. Make sure to bring your own toilet paper.
While dinner was being barbecued (thank you T!),
the big kids and I hucked it up to the peak opposite, Rendezvous, to do some exploring and take in the views. We saw tons of marmot (we think) emerging into spring. They were thinner than the chubby ones we’ve seen in the middle of summer which makes sense, but at the distance we were from them, couldn’t quite tell if they had tails, so could have been pikas(?).
After dinner, some of us carried skis up to take a few turns on the ridge behind us, and peek over the ridgeline at the mountains flung out in all directions.
The fact there was a comfy bench swing made the kids pretty happy.
We watched the sky darken and the city lights come on. Some of us more than others on our way to the bathroom throughout the night…
The way down was humblingly hilarious—in hindsight of course. This brilliant ski out idea confirmed that now I am the second worst skier in our family, the worst having just begun his supported bunny hill runs this season. I skidded, slid and fell my way down the early morning crust layer.
By the time we reached the bottom of the gully, all my extra baggage weight had been dispersed to my worried husband and children, “Mom, are you sure you’ll be okay?” The frustration of it though was not enough to dampen the excitement I felt for this new venue at Arctic Valley, and it gives us all a good laugh now. This is an amazing hop, skip and jump trip right out of town—go book it!