Expensive, But Worth It
Written by Rebecca Kochenderfer, co-founder of Homeschool.com
I think I may have a snow phobia. When I think about driving in the snow, I don’t envision a landscape of bucolic snow-covered meadows and sparkling snow drifts. No, I see cars sliding into each other and exploding into fiery balls of death. Or I see myself trapped in my car on the side of the road, slowly starving to death while I wait for rescue (I’d have to wait through winter, spring and summer before I starved to death, but in my Phobia I’m fit and thin. And fluent in five languages. But I digress).
I probably shouldn’t be proud of my ability to list “100 ways people die in the snow.” Still, a talent is a talent.
My children don’t have my snow phobia. They think snowboarding is fun and safe — (ahhh, the blissful ignorance of youth) — and have been begging me for years to take them on a ski vacation. So this year their Christmas present was a snow vacation in Northstar Village at Lake Tahoe, California.
One of the benefits of homeschooling is that you can travel midweek and off-season when prices are lower. But this was our Christmas vacation so we had to suck it up and pay peak season prices. Supply & demand was not my friend. I can’t imagine a more expensive hobby. Skiing makes golf look like garage sale-ing. But I was determined to get over my snow phobia and I wanted the kids to have a White Christmas experience, so we robbed a bank and spent it all on one weekend. Shockingly, it was worth it.
The weather that weekend was sunny and clear so our drive did not involve any sliding-fireballs-of-death. Still, I was grateful to park in the condo parking garage and not have to drive again for the entire time we were there. One of the reasons I chose Northstar Village is because everything you need is within walking distance and the condos are ski-in/ski-out. Since we were throwing money to the wind this holiday, one smart thing we did was to rent the ski and snowboard supplies from a place that delivered the equipment right to our door. I thought this was going to be more expensive, but it cost the same as if we had rented the equipment in our home town and schlepped it up with us. Plus, the advantage of using a local ski rental place is that if anything happens to your equipment you have someone nearby who can fix it. Black Tie Ski Rentals came to our condo and fit the girls for all the snowboarding equipment they would need. No driving to a rental store or waiting in the super crowded I-shouldn’t-have-come-during-Christmas-vacation rental line at the resort. When one of my daughters wanted to change from snowboard to skis, they came out for free and made the switch. I was very impressed and highly recommend Black Tie Ski Rentals.
Renting a condo in the village turned out to be worth it too. The girls were able to come and go and I was able to relax by the fireplace. I found the condo using VRBO.com (I have rented several times through VRBO and AirBNB and never had a bad experience). In the evenings, we walked down to one of the village restaurants and enjoyed a great meal while the girls told us about their crashes and near-crashes (This did not help my Snow Phobia).
All in all, I recommend taking the family on a ski resort vacation. Especially if you can go mid-week when it’s less expensive and less crowded. It turned out to be one of the best family vacations we’ve had and it helped this California girl to see that a person can go to the snow and still live to write about it.