NY Ski Trip 2008

What a weekend! Like most other youth groups located in the south, we took our kids on a ski trip over the long MLK Holiday Weekend. However, I would like to put a feather in our cap because we took them to Western NY to experience what real snow is all about! Let me just give you a run down of what our weekend looked like.

Thursday morning schools were closed here in Greenville, because we had gotten about 2-3 inches of snow on the ground over night. This is important, because we suddenly had concerns about the rental car rental place being open, and road conditions when we left. At 5:00 that night, we met at at Budget Rental in Greenville with all the drivers to pick up our minivans. Because of the amount of gear we had to take with us, we absolutely needed vans with roof racks – something that ended up being much more difficult than we originally thought. Nevertheless, we got the ones we needed, and loaded everyone and everything up at our church office at 9:00pm.

After a long basically uneventful night of driving, we arrived in Buffalo at about 12:00noon on Friday morning. After bundling up for the sub-zero wind chill we went ice skating at the outdoor Rotary Rink in Buffalo. From there, we drove a few blocks over to the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, the original home of Buffalo Wings. They were awesome! At each table we bought a bucket of 50 wings, for a total of 250 wings in a variety of hot, mild, and suicide flavors for everyone. I think we only had about 15 wings left uneaten when it was all said and done. From there we drove 30 minutes over to Niagara Falls, and had the entire place to ourselves. It was about 6 degrees out, with a wind chill at -10 degrees, and when you got up close to the falls, the wind chill had to be near -30 or -40 degrees, it was incredible! Needless to say, we didn’t hang out there for much longer than taking a few pictures then running back to the car.

From Niagara Falls we left for Circle C Ranch, in Delevan, NY about 40 miles south, in the middle of southern tier of snow country dead center in the middle of nowhere. After registering, and sliding around in the snow for a while, we let the Camp staff take over responsibility for keeping our students occupied. After some fun and games, they loaded the kids up in buses and took them to a roller skating rink, where they skated until 2:30 in the morning. Our kids were whipped – skating was not really a motivation for them, keeping their eyes open was all they could handle.

The Circle C madness continued through Sunday at lunch time, and the kids participated in Hot Dog Snow Tubing, 4 Square, Foam Sword fighting, rock wall climbing, LaserTron, Kan Jam, The Great Donut Relay Race (finalized by launching the donuts into a crowd from a 3 man water balloon sling shot). The best thing of the weekend was the great teaching they received. I heard a number of them make comments about the Truth they were challenged to take in and commit to, and I look to see lives changed.

Leaving camp Sunday for Holiday Valley Ski Resort, it became obvious that skiing would be bitterly cold. I told our kids to basically put on every article of clothing that they had put in their suitcase. (A few of the sarcastic ones actually did this) Our main concern was for their faces, because if your face gets cold everything gets cold. We headed over to Tractor Supply where we hoped to be able to buy ski masks for all of our underprepared south Carolinians, but we were unsuccessful. My wife had the idea of buying extra winter hats for everyone, and then cut the tops out of them so they could use them like neck warmers. Her idea worked beautifully.

We skied from 4:00 – 10:00, or at least some of us did. Nearly everyone went in out of the cold at some point – although I do have to say that I was man enough to stay out for the entire 6 hours. Speaking of men – our two male chaperones chose not to ski at all. They stayed inside where it was nice and toasty, and held everyone’s purses and cell phones. Tough guys huh? (Although they did watch the NFC and AFC Championship games – I missed out there) The weather was becoming increasingly bad, and we made the decision to leave directly from the ski resort and drive the 14 hours home rather than getting a nights sleep first. It is a good thing that we did. The first 80 miles took us over two hours to negotiate. Blowing snow created white out conditions and slippery roads. However, we got through it before the snow began to accumulate. Last I heard, they received almost 3 feet of snow in the next 12 – 18 hours!

The return trip was a bit more difficult than the way up, because all of us drivers were tired and had to switch off more often. But the morale remained high, and we returned by 4:00pm on Monday. This gave plenty of time for the students to rest before school the next morning. Me – I took the day off.


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