Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Crested Butte Ski Trip

So, as I mentioned in an earlier post... I went as a leader to Crested Butte with the TBC youth. What a fun time! It was great getting to know Shaun and Abby (our youth pastor and his wife) and Guy (another adult leader) better. It was a whirlwind trip, but full of memories. Of course, I'm sure the most memorable is the missing van keys. But, I'll get to that in a moment. We started out Friday night, so that we could drive straight through the night (hoping the kids would be less restless and would sleep -- in other words... leave the drivers alone. ha) We had an uneventful drive up until we got to Monarch Pass. It was a bit of a tense drive going over. But, we made it just fine. Here's a photo from my passenger seat (I drove the dead-of-night-middle-of-nowhere-Amarillo-to-Raton portion). The van/trailer in front of us is Shaun, Abby, and several kids:

Once we arrived in Crested Butte, it was time to grocery shop. Note to self -- Do not grocery shop after a 20+ hour drive with 18 teens. Talk about delirious decision making. The remainder of our time was spent skiing (well, for some!), playing Catch Phrase in a huge circle, cooking and eating, and hanging out. I did attempt to ski, but between my ineptitude and a so-so instructor, I was doomed. Someday I may try again. But, the second day of skiing of was a great day for the skiiers (lots of powder), so I chose not to weigh down any of our team with a crappy skier. :) Instead, I hung out around the lodge, drank overpriced coffee, and went down to the town to browse the cute little shopping district:

The day of our departure promised a storm in the afternoon. So, Shaun and the rest of us leaders decided leaving first thing Tuesday morning was wise (the kids were supposed to get in a half day skiing). So we start the packing up process with a departure time of 10:30. About 9 am, one of the girls asks for the van keys. Shaun can't find them. We do a little searching. Still no keys. More searching. No keys. Turn the couch cushions and Shaun's room upside down. NO KEYS. Okay, time a for leader meeting. Start looking at contingency plans which range from the ridiculous to the plausible to the most inconvenient. At one point, we think we've found them in the console of the (locked) van. Call a locksmith. Turn out to be Shaun's Xterra keys. Tear the van apart. No keys. We've moved on to just laughing at this point. What else are we going to do? The locksmith turns out to be our saving grace. He moves mountains for us to get things moving in the middle of the day, the day before Christmas Eve, in a small town. After many many phone calls with the rental company, the locksmith, the Gunnison (nearby town at the bottom of Mt. Crested Butte) Chevy dealership, and others, we find out we can indeed get a new key made. So starts the shuffling of kids down the mountain. I sit with a group at the Gunnison McDonalds, Abby sits with a group at the condo while Guy drives back and forth getting us all down. Shaun goes with the towed van to get our keys remade. After an hour or so at the McDonalds, Shaun calls me -- we have a key, he's on the way, Guy is bringing in the last of the kids, and we have a full ten minutes to get on the road before we lose daylight mid drive and therefore don't want to risk Monarch Pass. By the grace of God, we make it safely and we are officially on our way. At the time we originally planned to leave before our early departure decision was made.

We had some amazing kids on this trip. Such a fun group and also well-mannered. They were great at offering to help cook or clean up. Always remembered to say thank you to Abby and I after we cooked for them. And we also got a few compliments on a well behaved group from various locals. Including at the McDonalds where I contained half of them for over an hour during the van madness.

We pulled in to TBC right on time and I rushed home to do laundry and start the second part of my Christmas vacation... Omaha! The rest of the Ski Trip photos (nothing real exciting and all from my camera phone, but pretty nonetheless) can be found in my Facebook album.