Gilford, New Hampshire – The twins’ best friends are moving to a different state. This is devastating to all of us, as this family is part of our so-called “bubble” and their kids – also twins – have been my guys’ most faithful companions since the beginning of the pandemic. As a sort of last hurrah, our bubble planned a pandemic ski trip extravaganza.
We rented a gorgeous house on Waukewan Lake in Meredith, New Hampshire that had plenty of room for all three families. It was missing the ping-pong table that was promised in the VRBO listing, but it did have a giant TV and a fireplace. The kids were over the moon about spending the weekend there together.
On Saturday, we had a fantastic day of skiing at Gunstock Mountain Resort (site of my boys’ first-ever ski outing four years ago). It’s our second ski outing of the year, and I can barely keep up with my kids already. They wanted to ski with their friends anyway, so that was fine. The parents just tried to keep track of which lift they were taking.
Gunstock is a more challenging ski destination, but it did not feel as safe as Pat’s Peak for a pandemic ski trip. Gunstock does have many Covid precautions in place, including requiring reservations for indoor dining. We brought our own picnic lunch and ate outside, so that was an even better solution. The problem was the equipment rental. We had to line up in the basement and service was extremely slow. To return the equipment and pick up our boots, we had to go back inside to the basement rental area. Again, there were way too many people (some without masks!) in a poorly ventillated place.
I also observed that lift lines were longer than they had been at Pat’s Peak. Staff were enforcing social distancing in the lift lines, so this was not a safety issue. But it was an enjoyment issue, as long waits meant less skiing and more getting cold. But over all, the skiing was a fantastic success and we all had a blast.
On Sunday, we talked about going back to Gunstock to go tubing, for a change of pace. However, we didn’t act in time, so we lost our chance. Instead, we stayed at the rental house, where the kids went sledding and played on the grounds. I went for a peaceful walk down to Waukewan Lake to watch the ice fishers. And all the adults got some extra time in front of the fire.
So… my goal is that the twins will fall in love with skiing as a winter activity, instead of embracing the other New England pastime, which is whingeing about the weather. And thanks to pandemic ski trips this year, everything is going according to plan. We will miss our friends so much. But this was a spectacular send-off. And I know they will be back to visit – maybe during next year’s ski season? (Let’s hope to heaven that next year we will skip the pandemic ski trips for plain old healthy ski trips!)