Next week is spring break for Lake Travis and Leander ISD. It’s a great time to get out of Austin and take that family vacation you’ve been waiting for. If you’re sticking around, we happen to live in an amazing place that can make it pretty easy to enjoy a stay-cation.
One of the more popular getaways for many families in the Lake Travis area (and the State of Texas) is a ski vacation. If you head to the mountains for spring break, you (or your kids) are likely to see many familiar faces at the Austin airport and out on the slopes.
Ski areas from New Mexico to Colorado seem to be among the top choices for spring breakers from Texas — but any mountains with snow will do.
Some of the easier places to get to are along the I-70 corridor in Summit County, Colorado. You can catch a direct flight from Austin to Denver and have less than a two hour drive to ski areas like Winter Park, Loveland, Copper Mountain, Breckenridge, Keystone and Vail.
If you happen to grab an early flight and take advantage of the time difference and the extra hour that you’ll gain, you can be on the slopes after lunch for a half-day of skiing, snowboarding or just rolling around in the white stuff.
For those of you that love a good road trip with the family, you can find mountains and snow within 12 hours of Austin at resorts in New Mexico. You’ll have to tack on another 3-4 hours to reach the resorts in Colorado.
Weather in the mountains can be unpredictable and getting to the ski resorts can be a bit of a challenge, so be prepared for delays and make sure you have some good tread on those tires.
After a day (or two) of travel, it doesn’t matter what ski resort you end up at … one of the most difficult things about a ski vacation is all the gear and adjusting to the high altitude.
It’s easy to run around Austin in shorts, t-shirts and flip flops. If you’re going to the lake or packing for a beach trip, that can be as easy as grabbing a swimsuit and a cooler — not the case with skiing. You’ll need at least ten bags of warm clothes and four bags of ski gear.
If you think you’re in shape, the high attitude will have you feeling like you’re going to pass out after going up three stairs.
For your first full day on the mountain, you may wake up and wonder — what were you thinking?
You try to get everybody up and ready after a night of tossing and turning as your body tries to adjust to life at 9600 feet.
After a hot cup of coffee and some bacon, you’ll be ready to head out to the slopes loaded up with skis and poles and wearing plastic bottom not-made-for-walking-on-ice ski boots. Snowboarding boots definitely have the advantage here.
You try to breathe in the fresh mountain air, but you can’t because there’s no oxygen at this altitude.
But you press on through the maze of people with skis and snowboards attached to their feet at the base of the chair lift and score your seat for a ride up to the top. You finally have a moment to sit back and take in the mountain scenery.
After a few pics and posts to Facebook from the top of the mountain, you choose a run and let gravity do its thing as you start making turns down the mountain and feel your skis glide across a field of white — and that’s when it hits you. You stop and look back uphill to see your kids following your turns, wiping out, getting back up … or maybe they sped past you already. Either way, you’re all having the time of your lives.
All the hard work that is part of traveling with kids on a ski trip, time spent getting them dressed, lugging all the gear, picking them up and putting them back together after the wipe-outs — it’s all worth it.
Mountains. Snow. Skiing with your family. It’s not something we get to do or see in Texas.
Spring break in the Lake Travis area is a great time to get away and celebrate winter. A trip to the beach is definitely easier. But there’s just something about mountains and snow. Maybe that’s why so many of us Texans head to the mountains for spring break. You’ll be reminiscing when it’s 100 degrees in July.