A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: hollyer

Steamboat

This is kind of Gigi's second home - it's visit number 10 for her - made even more homely by the Berglund family being here to share their long weekend (President's Day long weekend) with us. Mum Peggy lives here in a wonderful country house, and Gigi's great friend Margaret has travelled back from Missouri while big sister Julie with sons Zach (10) and Dylan (7) have flown out from Oregon to be here too. Also, their little brother Teddy and wife Sophie are here on their regular weekend trip from Boulder, Colorado. And with the whole family here their Dad Ted and step-mom Sandy have come up from Alabama for a ski too, so we've had a total family time on the mountain as well as evening meals and play time for the kids - just perfect!!

We've also hit the jackpot with our accommodation - the location on the edge of the slopes was known, but the bonus of a 3 bedroom apartment overlooking the hill was a complete surprise (we even checked they hadn't put us in the wrong room!!). A handy hot-tub and pool at the bottom of the apartment block, right next to the slopes makes it fun at the end of the day too!

Over the first two days the weather has been really warm and snow spring-like which is very abnormal for this time of year. So we've managed to hit the whole mountain with all the great tree skiing, the bumps etc - but the main highlight for the kids has been the junior park (jumps, half-pipe) to play on just outside the door. Tomorrow is our last day on the slopes before we head to LA, hopefully a freshen up of snow overnight to give us a bit of fun to send us away with smiles on the faces

Posted by hollyer 21:02 Archived in USA Tagged steamboat_springs Comments (0)

Aspen and more...

Sorry for a gap since the last posting, been a busy week since we left New York. Despite the trauma of leaving from New York via its crazy morning rush hour we managed to get on the plane at the right airport (out of 3) at the right time.

Skiing in Aspen was great, plus with the wonders of technology (by Gigi) and random occurrences we managed to see everyone we knew in Aspen.

The accommodation was in a handy spot 4 blocks from the gondola, a shame it didn't quite function perfectly, and we managed to have plenty of fun in the sun - despite the locals whingeing about the lack of fresh snow.

Skiing schedule worked out as follows:
Day 1: Aspen Highlands - there might not have been a terrain park for the kids but the bump runs were endless. The same mogul run next to the chairlift above the lunch spot (Scarlett's) I skied as a teenager on Hollyer Family mission was there in its glory, unfortunately the 25 years added to the knees made it less easily consumed without a lie down half-way down!! But the kids loved it and really skied nicely. There are plenty of steep places on this mountain and the double blacks were avoided but we knocked off pretty much everything else.

Day 2: Ajax (code for Aspen Mountain). Boosting around in the sun was fantastic, with the nice views and good snow. We hooked up with the local free mountain tour to see some of the shrines (Marilyn Monroe, Jerry Garcia, Elvis Presley) and checked out pretty much everything Ajax had to offer - a shame we only had time for one day there!

Day 3 and 4: Snowmass. Such a great range of skiing for everyone - parks, pipes and tree trails (squirrelling) for the kids - plus adventures in the steep ands and bumps with trees as added bonus!! On the first day there we did have the fun of being in a white-out with snow falling at a point above the tree line - a change of scene from the sunshine and quite strange on a foreign mountain. A 2inch fall during the day gave some fun freshies too! End of the day we caught Jodie Eklund (nee Lush) our mate from working at Remarks and Global Culture back in the black and white days. Such a good woman and nice to see her in the snow again, a shame we couldn't catch up with her young girls this time.

The next day we had the luck of skiing with Kristin and Jodie on their days off. Total fun ripping through the tree runs and bumps in style. Great views from the mountain tops - a mountain with everything to offer!

Social schedule:
Night 1: Family cruising in town
Night 2: Our mates from Steamboat ski school days (19 years ago) Kristin and Mary-Ann hatched a rendezvous at a hotel in town for the families to gather for pizza - a really fun night with their husbands and kids. Especially cool because MA and Drew had come through from Vail after skiing just to see us. A random catch up with Gigi's original ski coach from QUeenstown Andrew Wilson also made it fun.

Night 3: First stop was acres ski beers and snacks with Joan Valentine and Becci Wilson at the bottom of Ajax, nice to get the goss from our old instructor mates. Fi Patterson and Lily (the boys and Dan were in Denver for their ice hockey regime) hosted us at their house. Our guys stoked to have another little person to hang with.

Night 4/5: We boosted to Carbondale (30mins up that road) to Kristin, Brendan and Hagen's place. Nice for the kids to hang with another little person instead of boring grown ups. A bit of chaos but plenty of sweet times with these guys - and they managed to cut a deal for a new house at the same time we were there!! All good to hang with Kristin again, she's a special friend of Gigi's and was sad to leave them.

Bonus mission:

En route to Steamboat we got away nice and early on Thursday to get up to Beaver Creek to check out the World Skiing Championships and that was a total buzz!! It was women's GS race day in perfect sunny conditions. We had the luck to make it up on to the grand stand for the whole of the first round with an amazing atmosphere and fantastic show - nothing could have been done better by the organisors. You can;t be part of these events without the obligatory souvenir shopping - so of course we've got the evidence to show we were there!!

Posted by hollyer 20:38 Archived in USA Comments (0)

New York , New York

Ice hockey, skyscrapers, galleries and snow

A fantastic city to visit. So easy to get around - we've walked for miles (literally) or grabbed a cab to cover all the main highlights from our Uptown Manhattan hotel - and the locals are really friendly and genuinely proud of their city. We've had some nice chats with all kinds of people and they clearly enjoy living here amongst the hustle and bustle of a city with so much to offer.

Hotel is sweet, even has Gigi's Cafe down the road for really tasty meals of all kinds - seems like everyday the locals grab their evening meals and wander home with them.

Monday:
Wandered through the snow falling in Central Park to hit the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA, if you're in the know) and Times Square. Kids did really well and enjoyed the sights of the gallery and the massive building etc.

Tuesday:
Empire State Building was amazing - views for miles on a very crisp, clear day showed off New York at it's best. It was even better because we arrived by 930 am and there was no (as in zero, nil,zilch) queueing to do anywhere - wandering past the empty rows where queues form made it even more satisfying!

Obligatory wandering along 5th Avenue and time looking at the all important (well, for some in the family) shops went nicely before the big highlight of an NHL game at Madison Square Garden between the NY Rangers and Florida Panthers (see the photos to work out who we were supporting). The whole thing was amazing - made even better by the locals winning.

Wednesday:

A big walking day, 4.5miles through and around Central Park to Guggenheim Gallery, then the Zoo (Anthony and Mum) and Ice skating (Caitlin and Dad). Zoo was fantastic - snow leopards, bears and penguins very happy in the cold, skating was amazing - almost surreal being surrounded by such big buildings - a shame the crappy rental skates were't as good as they rent out in Queenstown, let alone being as good as our own skates.

Then there was the obligatory the next game for the Rangers in the NHL to watch on TV - an American way to end the day!

Thursday (today):

The plan is the Natural History Museum which is meant to be fantastic then the Met (another gallery on the other side of Central Park) before the challenge for Gigi of squeezing all the belongings back in their bags before our day time flight to Aspen and hooking up with our buddies out there for some more sweet skiing!

Posted by hollyer 06:34 Archived in USA Tagged new_york Comments (1)

Old places, old mates and cool stuff

London, Windsor and surrounds

A busy week in London meant some tired munchkins but plenty of smiles:

  • Natural history museum - really cool set up with so much to see but never enough time, Claire (aka Pickle) joined us for a wander with the dinosaurs, the volcanoes and earthquakes
  • Harrods - afternoon tea at a chocolate cafe, can't go wrong with chocolate fondue!!
  • Science museum - not as good as NH Museum but interactive stuff for the kids, Anthony might need to become a Cabinet Minister one day!
  • Cirque de soleil at Royal Albert Hall - stunning location and incredible show. Hard to believe what the human body can contort and throw itself into - the hours of practice impossible to comprehend.
  • Hamleys Toy Store, Rainforest Cafe, Inamo (super modern restaurant) - Kate and Julie joined us at Hamley's for the Lego options, for some reason Gigi didn't want to admit to her birthday at Rainforest Cafe, a childhood favourite for London-ites - she missed out on being "serenaded" by the staff amongst the fake monkey's, baboons and elephants!
  • Tower of London - despite a freezing day it was very cool to wander through the ramparts and check out the Crown Jewels, although the tour guides choosing not to operate due to some wet seemed a bit un-British!
  • Windsor Castle, twice - a wander about old Castle was nice on the Thursday but the main highlight was returning on the Saturday to see the first day of the Waterloo art exhibition and the re-opened State Rooms before checking out the ceremonial changing of the guards. A whole lot of pomp and ceremony for a few dudes to change shift !!

Old mates (well, they are as old as us!)

Great to catch Dave Young for a bottle of birthday bubbles for Gigi and a lager or 2 - needless to say his adventures continue!

Staying for 2 nights with Mel Hall our old PE school mate and her husband Phil, kids Dylan, Harrison and Ava was really great. The kids similar age to ours and all got along nicely in the modern mansion in the Berkshire country-side. We all joined the Riddle family (old flatmate Tony/Rodney) who teach at local private girls school for a pub dinner on the Friday night - really nice for a rendezvous after so many years.

A really nice lunch with the Ritchie Family gave us another family session - usual banter from David, Michael and Christopher shows how little things change over time!!! Sue was doing well too - nice to see smiles on the face - and hopefully we'll see them in NZ end of 2015.

The week long hosting from Julie, Sean and Kate (as well as the occasional Bronte) in Muswell Hill was fantastic. We got plenty of time together despite it being a week of work/school - a busy life being led very well by all of them - and before we knew it the time to get on the plane to New York was upon us!!

Posted by hollyer 15:41 Archived in England Tagged london family windsor Comments (0)

Italy done, UK now

Finished off the skiing mission in style with a great day on the slopes with our local guru Enzo, main highlight being a free ski racing course for the kids (and Dad) to hoof down a few times - well, make that 8 times each!!

After a civilised morning in Colfosco and the 3D jigsaw to get everything in the car before a send off from Ivan, Jo, Niklas, Enzo and Marco we had a stunning drive through the mountains to Cortina d'Ampezzo and then onwards to the autostrada with Gigi on the accelerator all the way to Venice airport.

Great to see the resident Kidney-Bishops in London (Kate, Sean and Julie) and then Sunday a day trip to Oxford to see Tess the student, with the added bonus of Bryony and Rob Price driving from Shropshire with Izzy and Ben to join us for a pub lunch and a wander around the old buildings - very handy to have a local showing us the way, thanks Tess!

There's a few photos added to the selection in the Photos section on the blog.

Posted by hollyer 01:04 Comments (0)

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