As I'm sure you know, Utah advertises itself as having "The Greatest Snow on Earth" because the snow is so light and fluffy (because it's so freaking dry out here that everybody's fingers are cracking... but that's a complaint for another day). We actually had a pretty stinky early season snow-wise, but January is more than making up for November!
As you can see, Sam has hit the slopes with a vengeance this year and is loving it. We got him his own boots and skis so that he can head up to Sundance whenever the mountain calls and he has conquered the greens and moved on to the easy blues.
Ben, however, currently prefers cross-country skiing which, of course, means that we pull him around in his sled. He's only 4, so he's still pretty young to really enjoy downhill, and we figure that we'll just enjoy dragging our kiddos around for as long as we can. Ben also really enjoys eating snow. And when I say enjoy, I really mean it! Not only does he do the normal pick up a snowball and chow down, but if we're outside he'll dip his granola bar or crackers or whatever is available in the snow. And he thought it was hilarious to take chunks of his gingerbread house outside and dip them in the snow for "extra icing." Yeah, he's out of control... but we figure it helps keep him hydrated.
So, we've been enjoying both downhill and cross-country skiing and then also last Sunday attended church's annual tubing evening at Soldier Hollow - it was fantastic! It wasn't nearly as cold as in years past, leading to fewer tearful, wailing Morningstar children and making for a superfun evening for all. Sam actually made it for the full 2 hours of tubing and Ben held out for around an hour and a half before deciding that it looked warmer inside the lodge. Sam insisted on wearing his helmet which made me feel like a freaky over protective mother (which, I admit, is a little silly since it wasn't my idea in the first place) but he may have had the right idea since he stayed a lot warmer than Ben did in his GIR hat. I actually asked Ben if he wanted to wear his helmet, but he would have none of that.
Soldier Hollow is a nordic ski area in Heber (between us and Park City) that was created for the 2002 Olympics (a fantastic venue, if I do say so myself) and a few years ago they added a tubing hill to the area. They have a very clever lift system to drag you up the hill on your tube and then 6 tubing lanes for racing and linking up and all the face burning wind and snow you can handle. Yeah, it's awesome.
Other than that, we've had a lot of cool Utah wildlife sightings lately. There have been tons of deer and elk around Sundance lately that we've all enjoyed watching (from a distance) and on Sunday night we had two - count them, two - moose encounters! The first was on the way back from Soldier Hollow when there was a moose walking down the other side of the road. It was the kind of thing that you didn't realize happened until after we passed her and started asking, "What was that big black thing that was as tall as Rainy that we just passed?" Then we realized what we saw and started flashing our lights to warn the oncoming traffic. Our other moose sighting was even more up-close. We were leaving the Thomases' cabin on Sunday night (which they had graciously shared with us for the weekend - thanks again Mark and Cindy!) and as we were leaving the development found our path blocked by two moose. We weren't really sure what to do, so we just stayed put and watched them eat the trees and marveled at those huge, amazing animals. Eventually they did move off of the road and we were able to make our way home, but it definitely left us with a renewed appreciation for the Wasatch Mountains!
So, we're enjoying the benefits of a Utah winter in the midst of work and church and school and everything else. The Sundance Film Festival started on Friday and we have tickets to 5 screenings up at the Sundance Resort, so that'll be fun. We'll be sure to provide our detailed reviews in future postings :)
Enjoy your winter!