Happy 2018 everyone! It is a new year and with that comes a clean slate. We all have resolutions and goals that we take on to reset ourselves for the year. Many times, these things only last a few weeks but other times, goal setting can bring meaningful change. The change of the New Year is such a healthy time because it puts everyone in a certain mind set. We refresh our way of thinking and for the first time ever, my family and I sat down to discuss the new year. We went over how we want to spend it and did some family goal setting. It was something we had never done before, and I really loved it. It did something quite magical for us.
To ring in the New Year, we wanted to try something new as a family. Going out for NYE has never really been our thing. Spiro and I rarely drink, and we wanted to spend NYE with Zelda. We tossed around some ideas and settled on driving to Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin to go skiing. Spiro frequently travels to Colorado and goes snowboarding. When I travel alongside him, I take the gondola up and the gondola down. I don’t know how to ski, and it is something that I have always wanted to learn but haven’t. I’ve always made an excuse not to try (I guess I’ve been scared to learn something new), and decided enough was enough – I was going to do this.
As I’ve gotten older, learning new things has become more difficult because I’ve allowed fear to stand in the way. I always hear people say, “I’m going to be fearless this year.” I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what that really means. I see fearlessness in my three-year-old all the time. She crosses her arms, stands at the edge of the couch, closes her eyes and free falls into the cushions with no fear. I decided that is not how I want to approach things. I don’t want to jump in head first not knowing what I’m doing or what to expect. I’ve done that, I’ve been completely fearless — I’m an entrepreneur.
Instead, I decided I wanted to start recognizing the fear and face it to get over it. Rather than going into things pretending the fear isn’t there, I would begin to call it out. That is going to be my way of approaching the new year and is exactly what I did with skiing. We chose Wilmot Mountain because it was only an hour drive from the city (a real hour). That way, if Zelda wasn’t having it, it wasn’t a large commitment and would be easy to get back.
I want to be completely transparent because I know the first thing you’re going to do before you go here is Google it. The reviews you’ll see online are fine, they aren’t stellar, but just know that Wilmot was recently purchased by Vail Resorts. Over the summer of 2016 it received a 13.5-million-dollar facelift, so it is very different than what you’ll read on past reviews. It is so cool and it felt like we were dropped into a small Colorado ski resort. They have new lifts, two new restaurants, a kid’s ski school and an enhanced beginner’s area (that was obviously appealing to me since I was a beginner). Additionally, they have a new terrain park, a high-speed tow rope and have expanded their state of the art snow making. The short trek to Wisconsin is well worth it!
We booked our passes online (which was super easy) and packed up our “ski gear” – which wasn’t that much stuff since we are not skiers. I Googled what I needed to know about skiing and quickly found out wearing the appropriate gear is very important. Once you’re there, you’re there – so you want to make sure you have everything you need. Dressing warmly is key, especially if you’re bringing your children. Everyone must wear enough layers to stay warm. Dressing too lightly is the fastest way to have a miserable day. Here are a few tips to keep in mind before you head there:
Tip #1: Dress in layers.
Layers are essential because they allow you to adjust your body temperature as needed. Cotton is not your friend – dress in wool. We dressed Zelda in a tank top, a tight-fitting thermal top, a base layer, a thick fleece lined sweatshirt, snow pants and a down coat. She also had down gloves, two pairs of socks (one of which was a wool ski sock), leg warmers and goggles. Yes, it sounds like a lot, but she was so toasty all day she never complained once.
Tip #2: Have the proper gear.
I failed with our goggles. Make sure you and your babes have high quality goggles that stay on your helmets. The sun can burn your eyes if you don’t. You can pick up a pair on Amazon (the ones I purchased were $9, which was a huge mistake). Invest at least $25 to get a good pair. It’s easy for kids to wear these when they go sledding or play in the snow and as a bonus, they’ll feel like a superhero when they wear them. I also recommend having two pairs of gloves.
I had a pair of gloves for Zelda that didn’t have a string and didn’t clip to her coat. They came off repeatedly! I also learned that Zelda was a little too young for gloves – I wish I would have purchased mittens because they are easier to put on. Next time, I will put gloves on under her mittens so that if they fall off, her precious little baby skin is not exposed. When we got home, we ordered these. Other than that, she was dressed perfectly. I picked up her snowsuit on Amazon where we were able to get a down coat and snow pants for only $60. I recommend sizing up, so your babe can wear the suit for two years. It is easy to scrunch up the snow pants on their boots! Bring extra layers and leave them in the car. Parking is very close so if you get cold, you can always grab other layers from the car.
When you arrive, you’ll rent boots, skis, poles and a helmet. You MUST wear a helmet. They will give you the option, but head injuries are serious – just do it. Put a helmet on everyone. The rental for everything is under $40, which is extremely reasonable. If you try it and love it, you can buy those pieces later.
Tip #3: Don’t worry about packing food.
They have two stellar restaurants on the property. One of which is a cafeteria that has grab and go snacks. The lodge style sit down restaurant has both lunch and dinner menus, and a full bar. If you have friends that decide skiing isn’t there thing, they can hang out at the bar – it’s right at the base of the mountain.
If you have warm clothes and goggles, you’re set to have fun with your family!
Tip #5: Take a lesson.
If you’ve never been skiing before, I highly recommend taking a lesson. Wilmot Mountain offers a variety of lessons: kids, adults, private and camps. We decided to go with the private lessons because I knew I was already out of my comfort zone. I wanted someone who could give me one on one attention, so I wouldn’t be concerned with what was going on around me or with trying to keep up with others. I wanted to learn at my own pace. I highly recommend this option if you’re feeling uneasy.
We had two instructors – one for Zelda and one for myself and Spiro. They recommend children have their own instructor because they learn differently and when adults aren’t focusing on the child and the child isn’t focusing on their parents, it is a better experience for everyone. They offer one-hour private lessons for $80, which is so reasonable. There is also the option to do a three-hour lesson for $180 and a full day for $360. I recommend the one-hour lesson – it was perfect. We were able to ease into the idea of skiing and didn’t feel like we were over committing. It was so worth it!
I was a little uneasy and I promised myself I wouldn’t get discouraged. I made a commitment to focus on what my instructor was telling me, so I could give it my all. I watched my three-year-old pick up something one hundred times faster than me and felt a mixed pot of emotions. I was so excited for her but then looked at myself like my three-year-old was kicking my ass. Zelda’s instructor was Frank Kreuzer and ours was Catherine Voss. They were both amazing. Frank is a child whisperer – I highly recommend booking a lesson for your child with Frank. He was outstanding with Zelda and she fell in love with him (literally, look at the photos).
At one point, Spiro approached Zelda to see how she was doing and Zelda confidently stated, “Dad, you can leave. I’m with Frank and he’s got it.” If that tells you anything, she was fine without us. Zelda took to the sport quite quickly and I eventually got it. I surprised myself, although I did have one fall which you’ll see in the video below. Zelda was getting ready to come down the hill and I was on a small lift and wiped out because I was more focused on recording her than on what I was doing. Keep your phone in your pocket – I learned that the hard way but everyone around me got a good laugh. It was my first fall of the day, which was bound to happen.
After we wrapped skiing for the day, we decided to have dinner at the restaurant, along with a well-earned glass of wine. The lodge was having a New Year’s Eve celebration, complete with face painting. If there is face painting, Zelda is there. She had her face painted like the most magical unicorn ever and a Kenosha news reporter happened to be there with his camera. He snapped her picture and took a quote from us, which was the best way ever to start 2018. I got a beautiful picture of my smiling unicorn babe and an opening quote in their New Year’s story that said our three-year-old daughter killed it skiing. All in all, our family goal was met. We found something we truly enjoy doing together and are so excited to invest in our season passes to begin visiting on a regular basis.
If you live in Chicago, I highly recommend checking it out. It is such an awesome place to spend the day. And guess what? This post is not sponsored! It is simply something I truly love. Part of my goal setting this year is to really start focusing more on the blog. That means sponsored and unsponsored posts. I want to give you an authentic peek into who we are as a family and in turn, I’d love to hear from you guys! Do you have any recommendations on things we should experience as a family? Or do you have something you’d like to hear about? I’m looking forward to investing more into this journey of sharing on Glitter and Bubbles…and learning how to ski. Stay tuned! I’ll be giving you progress updates as the season goes on.