Rushville Republican

February 25, 2014

Cancel our ski vacation? Snow way!

By Don Stuart
Rushville Republican

---- — My family just took a skiing trip that almost got ruined by too much snow.

Now I know that lots of people reading this live in places that have been pummeled by snow and cold all winter long. And you’re not likely to feel too terribly sympathetic for us. But I live in Nawth Caylina, a place where, in the time I’ve lived here, kids have been ordered to stay home from school because there was a 30% chance of scattered snow showers.

So when the real stuff actually did fall in the middle of February, chaos ensued. Probably six inches worth of white flakiness hit the ground, the kids were out of school for three days, and businesses everywhere were shut down, or making employees work from home.

These were the most unhappy snow days I’ve ever experienced. Because I was worried about how in the heck my fam was going to navigate our way to our paralyzed local international airport and make our way – on purpose – to snow. “Real men”-type snow, in Utah.

We’d been dreaming of this trip for years and years, because it was going to bring together the whole family for several days of mountainous fun. What held us up for a couple years was the unfortunate fact that No. 3 son, now 18, hates to ski, and couldn’t be convinced to go, even to just spend his time flirting with girls in the lodge. Once he very enthusiastically told us that he wouldn’t feel left out by not being forced to do something he despised doing, the big barrier was finding a time that worked into the schedules of No. 1 (age 29) and No. 2 (age 28). The silver lining to this conundrum was that it gave us a few years to accumulate the moolah to pay for it all, thus enabling us to finally schedule the dream trip at a time that coincided with 1) Nawth Caylina’s worst snowstorm in 10 years, 2) my wife being forced to miss all the hassles of 1) AND not enjoying the joys of constantly haranguing No. 4 and No. 5 to use their snow days wisely and pack for the trip, and 3), No. 5 son deciding that he also hates to ski. Oh yay!

Undaunted, we managed to overcome even these obstacles. To remedy item 1), I shoveled my driveway and much of my little cul-de-street to enable us to drive on nearly 75 yards of snow-free pavement before any serious slipping and sliding began. This was at 4:30 on a Friday morning. We left at this ungodly hour to allow for plenty of time to get to the airport, which I heard would be cheek-by-jowl with travelers stranded over the previous two snow days. Even though I felt certain that our flight would be delayed – or even cancelled – I wanted to make sure I spent the precious time that I might’ve been en route to our dream ski vacation staring at the cheeks and jowls of thousands of similarly discouraged travelers.

In the end, our flight was only delayed an hour, due to NOBODY AT THE CHARLOTTE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT HAVING A SHOVEL. The tarmac around every plane was an obstacle course of rutted, frozen snow and the poor luggage handlers looked as forlorn as the Donner Party trying to get our stuff on the plane.

Item 2) – my wife being un-present for all the excitement – was due to her leaving town on a business trip before the snowstorm hit. She was supposed to return on Thursday, so she could constantly harangue me and the boys to pack for the trip. No luck. That was the worst day of the “blizzard.” The poor woman was forced to fly directly to Utah and start her vacation early. Without the boat anchors of a husband and kids. Best day of the trip, I think I heard her say later.

Item 3) we handled the way any loving parents would – we told No. 5 tough toenails, we bought you airline tickets, lift tickets, took you out of school – you’re skiing.

We ultimately arrived in Utah in good order – four out of five kids, No. 2’s girlfriend, my wife and me. There was something like seven feet of accumulated snow on the slopes in Park City. And get this, you Nawth Caylina wimps – they apologized for NOT HAVING MORE!