I’ve done some research and I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt…Converse All-Star sneakers (“Chucky’s” to the cool kids) are NOT, I repeat, NOT good shoes to traverse a snow-top mountain in.

Our hotel was 2 blocks from the Heavenly Gondola. We watched it take all the skiers, snowboarders and snow-bunnies up the mountain every day. And every day Nate would ask, “When are WE riding up the mountain in the gondola to go sledding?” And every day we would answer, “Not today, Nate…the mountain’s full. Maybe tomorrow.” Mark and I had every intention of taking the boys up the mountain in the gondola until we saw the price. $30 a person to ride up the hill, get frost bite and ride back down? Sheesh!  When you factor in the sled rental, the over-priced snacks and the inevitable trip to the emergency room…it’s gonna be hard to have enough fun to justify spending that kind of cash  credit.

Then Mark and I remembered that we live in FL now. How often will our boys get to see or play in snow? Except for the “Snow Falling Nightly” on Market St. in our little town of Celebration, not too often. Besides, the “snow” in Celebration is some soap concoction that they spurt out onto the street from little boxes tied to the light poles, so that really doesn’t count.

Poor little Florida-boy Nate trying in vain to make a snow angel out of the "soap snow" that falls in Celebration every year.
Poor little Florida-boy Nate trying in vain to make a snow angel out of the “soap snow” that falls in Celebration every year.

So, we bit the bullet, pulled out the credit card and decided to splurge on the gondola ride up to Heavenly. “Let’s just hope it lives up to it’s name.” I joked to the woman charging  $98 to my credit card. She didn’t laugh. “Sign here.” she snapped. So far…not so fun. 

Riding the gondola up the mountain, Lake Tahoe behind us...OK, so the view was worth at least 10 bucks. We still have to justify 20 more dollars each.

Riding the gondola up the mountain, Lake Tahoe behind us...OK, so the view was worth at least 10 bucks. We still have to justify 20 more dollars each.

2/3 of the way up, the gondola makes a stop at a viewing platform that overlooks Lake Tahoe. It was truly breath-taking. Literally. The altitude makes the air thin and Zeke fell asleep so I had to schlep  all 26 lbs. of him around the platform…I was panting like a dog.

We did get to wear our super-cool winter hats, so that has to be worth 10 bucks, right? Yeah, but Zeke slept through the platform fun so minus $5.

We did get to wear our super-cool winter hats, so that has to be worth 10 bucks, right? Yeah, but Zeke slept through the platform fun so minus $5.

As we climbed up higher, the snow got thicker. “Mommy! Daddy! I can see animal tracks in the snow!” Nate screamed.  “That’s awesome, Nate!” I encouraged “Now please stop jumping up and down in the gondola, Daddy’s turning a weird shade of green.”

We made it to the top! Zeke woke up when my Florida shoes slipped on the snow and we nearly "sledded" down the mountain on our heads.

We made it to the top! Zeke woke up when my Florida shoes slipped on the snow and we nearly "sledded" down the mountain on our heads.

Photo op with a snow bunny man worth 5 bucks.

Photo op with a snow bunny man worth 5 bucks.

Nate and Zeke getting to sled down the snowy mountain for an hour was definitely worth the $15 it cost to rent the sled.

Nate and Zeke getting to sled down the snowy mountain for an hour was definitely worth the $15 it cost to rent the sled.

I have to tell you about the most obnoxious, self-centered woman on the face of the planet. The sledding hill had 2 rules: 1. Walk up the sides of the hill so you won’t be in the way of the sledders coming down the hill. and 2. Don’t stand in the way of the sledders coming down the hill. Common sense, right? You would think. This “Mother” was standing right in the middle of the hill, so she could take pictures of her “princess” coming down the hill. The entire line of sledders was halted for 12 minutes while this woman did a photo shoot with her kid. I’m a Mom…it was a photo op…I get it. But take the photo and move out of the way! We’re renting by the hour, people! So, Queen of the Universe finally walks her heir back up the hill (up the middle of the hill, of course) so the sledders got to  resume. Mark let Nate go down the hill when it was his turn and the hill was clear. Queenie sent the  princess down at the same time, running along side her while she captured the entire run on a video camera. Nate, unable to stop, ran right into the back of the Queen’s legs. She spun around, raised her hand and glared at Nate. Mark charged down the hill towards the woman who then changed her mind and lowered her arm. Nate, in his ever charming voiced sang up to her, “Scuse me…THAT’S gonna leave a mark!”  {Ha!} That’s our boy!

Somebody forgot to wear his super-cool winter hat OR sunscreen. Getting this photo...priceless.

Somebody forgot to wear his super-cool winter hat OR sunscreen. Getting this photo...priceless.

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