Thursday morning we bundled up in multiple layers, jackets, gloves, scarves, and hats, and set out for the slopes. Our ski instructor began with the basics of getting in and out of the skis and then very quickly had us in the "magic carpet" and beginner slope. Some of the techniques that I had learned in my very short lesson in Park City began to come back to me and I survived the morning with just a single fall. Our last run in the lesson was the easiest green slope off the ski lift.
In the afternoon we made a few more passes on the beginner slope and then took on chair 9 and the easiest green slope again. After a difficult first run, Mom rallied and had a good second pass before heading inside to the fire. Dad and I made two additional runs and we were feeling increasingly confident. Just as we were about to call it quits for the day, Royce convinced us to take a ride up chair 6 and ski chipmunk hill - a slightly steeper green slope. He and Erin were having great success and convinced us we could do the same. My gut told me no, but I went with the majority and up we went. Unfortunately, my lack of speed control resulted in some impressive acrobatics when I couldn't slow down and went flying down the hill out of control. Dad had an even more impressive stunt-like aerial and also found himself wiped out. Fortunately, we walked away with only some bumps and bruises. After gathering our skis and poles - littered about the mountain - we more cautiously navigated the route to the lodge and ultimately schlepped our egos and equipment home for the day.
Back at the house we thawed out in the hot tub, finally warming the fingers and toes that had been painfully frozen for the majority of the day. Dad had heard about Stillwater Fish House from a customer and suggested we try it for dinner. I selected the grilled salmon over roasted vegetable smashed potatoes and a caramelized tomato. Although the potatoes were good and tomato unique, the salmon had a distinctly fishy smell that left much to be desired. Everyone else, however, tremendously enjoyed the house specialty - a miso marinted butterfish.
Friday morning our egos had recovered and we were ready for our day two ski lesson. Our new instructor was much more informative and patient with our abilities and taught us many tips and tricks. Although I felt great the first day, on Friday I just simply could not get warm. My fingers were painfully numb within minutes of being outside and not even the hot hands in my gloves worked to make it more tolerable. Unfortunately, just as I was about to take a break to warm up, I became progressively light-headed and things started to go black just like when I got altitude sickness in Park City. I made it inside and quickly plopped into a chair and eventually started to return to some sense of normalcy.
Everyone did a bit more skiing in the afternoon, Mom and Dad building confidence on the greens and Erin making great progress alongside Royce and surviving a blue run on the way back to the house (positioned conveniently with ski-in/out access). Dad cranked up a fire on the outside deck and we watched the snow showers that had been occurring all day come to an end.
I opted for a slightly warmer location inside next to the fireplace and curled up on the cozy sofa with a novel. It's a rare occasion that I read anything non-medical related, and I thoroughly enjoyed escaping in a fiction story. The boys even tackled some work and processed some orders that came in during our time on the slopes.
Wasabi Sushi Bar was our dinner destination Friday night. To start, we shared edamame, seaweed salad, and squid salad as appetizers.
We split a vegetarian pad Thai and several sushi rolls for our entrees. The pad thai was served with a house-made naan that we all agreed was heavenly and almost dessert-like.
The sushi rolls included tuna, smoked trout, and eel, and were presented quite nicely on a Montana-shaped plate. Based on the freshness of the fish and vegetables, you would have never guessed we were in Montana. We are definitely a sushi-loving family!
The last major activity of the trip was snowmobiling. I wasn't particularly interested in spending another several hours in the bitter cold and opted for a workout and quiet time at a coffee shop instead. From what I hear, though, it was great fun and afforded some incredible views.
These trees are referred to as "ghost trees" and are one unique thing that so many photos of Whitefish depict. It looks like a scene straight out of a movie.
Although we saw surprisingly very little wildlife during our trip, we did come upon several elk along the side of the mountain on the last day. We were told that the harsh winter temperatures decrease the activity and presence of the larger animals.
Saturday afternoon Dad took Royce and Erin to the Canadian border while Mom and I hung out in downtown Whitefish, doing some shopping and watching the winter carnival festivities. Royce and Erin officially stepped foot in Canadian soil, although were disappointed that passports are no longer stamped. Evidently it's all electric now. The whole family reunited for dinner at Tupelo Grill. We were impressed with all of our meals thus far, and this dinner was no exception to that. Warm bread dipped in balsamic, oysters on the half-shell, and French onion soup got the meal started in a great way. My dinner selection - mushroom and spinach ricotta ravioli with a butternut squash coulis - was very well executed and a perfect portion size.
Saturday night we realized that our vacation was quickly coming to an end and we had never had a pool tournament as planned. We summoned our tired selves and gathered in the basement for the battle. We each took turns winning a match, but ultimately it was a close tie between Dad and Royce for the title of victor.
On our way out of town on Sunday we had some time to kill prior to our flight and stopped at Montana Coffee Traders for some warm drinks and snacks. My whole wheat ginger pear scone paired nicely with a chai latte.
By noon we were dropping off our rental car and making our way towards our gate. A mechanical issue caused our Kalispel-->Minneapolis flight to be delayed by approximately 45 minutes. Suddenly an hour layover in Minneapolis turned into a mad-dash sprint to catch our respective flights to Atlanta and Charlotte. Fortunately, we all made it on board and our baggage greeted us in our final destination.
That's brings the "Perkins Family Whitefish Ski Vacation" to an end. We made lots of great memories, witnessed the beauty of a new area of the country, worked diligently to become comfortable on skis (some of us mastered that better than others!), ate many delicious meals, and most importantly, had six days together as a family. A huge thanks to Dad and Mom for organizing the trip and inviting us all to join them!