Our family has a pattern — not yet a tradition — of skiing at Blue Mountain on December 24. On the day before Christmas, the slopes are relatively quiet … and the people working the lodge and lifts aren’t yet stressed out by the holiday crowds that will arrive in the following days. We haven’t been consistent on this event, because it’s only worth going if snow conditions are good, and pre-Christmas weather is variable. In 2008, conditions were favorable,and we were on the road as the sun rose. Since we ski irregularly, we rent equipment at the lodge for the day. We’re not very practiced in getting dressed in the gear.
Taking the ski lift up is more straightforward for skiiers than snowboarders, who have to release the binding for one foot. After riding the lift to the top of the hill, Adam and Noah demonstrated the procedure of reattaching snowboard bindings while seated.
Unlike prior trips sunny enough for sunglasses, this day was overcast and cold both in the morning and afternoon. From a north facing ridge, the clouds were low on the views of Georgian Bay and Collingwood.
On the ride home, we sometimes take a dinner break in Barrie, near the half-way point. On Christmas eve, we weren’t completely surprised when the Barrie restaurant we had chosen was closed up. Instead of settling for second-best, we decided to continue the drive directly home, allowing for a change into fresh clothes before having dinner in Toronto. Korean restaurants are less traditional about holidays, and Mul Rae Bang-a is open 24 hours per day.
This restaurant has grills at the table, and the servers bring plates of raw meat. Our sons are at a carnivorous stage, whereas their parents are beyond that. All-you-can-eat at this restaurant means more and more meat, and limited banchan. Subsequent orders for meat don’t allow picking-and-choosing, so full spreads of chicken, pork and beef are repeated.
December 24 is one day that I plan for family activities, and go almost completely offline. Alpine skiing requires concentration, so I don’t listen to an MP3 player and dedicate my entire attention towards not falling.