Red River, N.M., will always hold a special place in my family’s heart. It’s where I got my first snowboard lessons as an adult, it’s where I perfected my “falling leaf,” it’s where I waited out a snowstorm at the only hotel in town with a generator, and now, it’s where I took my children for our first family vacation.
My husband and I made the decision to become foster parents in August, and six months later, we were blessed with two beautiful boys to welcome into our family. As first-time parents, we were thrilled, excited, nervous, and overly prepared. (Don’t ask me about how many toys we have in our house, or the giant box of extra clothes in the closet.)
One of the first things we wanted to do with them was take them on a family vacation to experience the mountains, skiing, the torchlight parade, and the joy of a long road trip. So, we got our approval from DHS, asked our parent friends for some pointers, packed up the car, and hit the road.
New Mexico is the ideal place to enjoy the mountains due to the ease of getting there. From Oklahoma City, we had an easy drive on I-40 most of the way. As a plus, we had cell service most of the way, so we never lost our directions getting there. We had plenty of places to stop and use the bathroom, and even grab a few treats. Between the snacks, naps, some shameless screen time, and plenty of bathroom breaks, we made it to Red River, ready to enjoy our first trip as a family.
The first thing we did in the morning (aside from eating!) was get our rentals. We rented from Sitzmark. The second we walked in the door, we felt welcome. My husband and the four-year-old were both new to snow sports, so they had someone to walk them through finding the perfect fit, how to put on the boots, and picking out a good board. Plus, they had helmet rentals to keep the four-year-old safe, and a supply of last-minute needs. (Read: Goggles for my husband who forgot his at home.)
One neat thing the Sitzmark offers is rental delivery. You can fill out your information ahead of time, and then your rentals get delivered right to your door. We’ll definitely be taking advantage of this service on our next trips, especially now that we know the ropes.
With all of our gear, we headed out to the mountains, dropped the one-year-old off at the daycare, picked up our lift tickets from guest services, and brought our four-year-old to his lesson. Something we’re always concerned about as foster parents is daycare security, but we were provided with a “receipt” that we would need to show to pick up either child. That made me feel a little better that they would be secure until we could pick them up!
After the children began their day, my husband and I went to begin our private lesson. I’ll share more about private lessons (and why you should try one!) in another post, but it was amazing. First of all, as new parents, riding up the lifts together felt like a mini-date! Secondly, it was nice to work in a smaller group setting with someone I felt comfortable failing in front of. We encouraged each other, laughed at each other, and enjoyed the bonding experience.
With our lesson behind us, the one-year-old in daycare, and the four-year-old in lessons, we had the day to spend as we wished! Since lessons take place right on the main slope, we were able to watch our son make some trips down the bunny slope and ride back up the red carpet. Then, we walked over and grabbed lunch at the lodge and relaxed together.
Finally, it was time for us to practice what we learned in our lesson! We rode up and down the mountain, took a few spills, and enjoyed being outside. Our four-year-old loved being on the mountains and skiing. The instructors at Red River were great about teaching him the basics in words that he could understand and remember. (Now that we’re back home, he tells everyone he learned to ski “without the sticks!”)
When all was said and done, our little family was ready for a nice long nap and a good meal. Fresh and revitalized, we tried one of the most fun activities of the weekend: tubing. If you haven’t yet, check out this article I wrote about our experience. It is at the top of my must-do list for a trip to the mountains!
Right after that is the torchlight parade. I had seen it before, but watching it through my children’s eyes topped that experience by a million. I loved answering his questions about why the people were carrying fire and what colors the fireworks were. Plus, hot chocolate from The Blake was a huge hit.
As you can imagine, we were ready for bed! We slept long and hard and were ready to get back at it the next day. My husband and I took turns with the children, and when it came my turn to snowboard, I was determined to level up. I’ve always struggled with my toeside turns, but something from my lesson finally clicked. I made three runs down the mountain, and FINALLY, FINALLY, FINALLY, got my toeside turns. Can you hear me squealing? Because I am.
Like most vacations do, ours ended way too soon. We packed up the car, loaded up the boys, chugged some coffee, and started the trip home. Luckily, we were able to bring some new memories with us.