We made another trip over to Sandpoint Idaho on Wednesday night, after I (Steve) finished a two-day water maker technical training class in Seattle. Water makers convert seawater into pure/fresh water that is safe to drink. Most long-distance cruising boats now have water makers, and they require quite a bit of maintenance and a well planned installation. I am now a certified RACOR/Village Marine water maker technician. Woo Hoo.....If you want to learn more about reverse osmosis water filtration, go here: Village Marine's website
There hasn't been much snow in north Idaho this winter, which has made snowmobiling directly from Kathy's parents house pretty much impossible. But luck was on our side and north Idaho received a lot of snow just a few days before our arrival, and it snowed hard again when we arrived. Enough snow had accumulated so we were able to bring the snowmobiles down to the house. There have only been two weekends all winter this was possible, and we just happened to be there for one of them! Most winters we can ride directly from the house up into the forest trails, but this year the snow just hasn't been there, and a lot of the trails have been unusable due to lack of snow.
For the 4th year in a row Kathy's parents have allowed us to bring our friends over.. There were 16 of us this year, which is the smallest group we have had. Mark and Jennifer were at St. Maarten in the Caribbean on a no-kids family reunion so their kids (Aidan and Grace) came to Idaho instead. Every year our group takes over the house while her parents go off and have a fun vacation somewhere else. This year they went to Parma Idaho to go skiing at Bridger Mt. This winter trip is a special time for all of us because it is very rare that we can take a group vacation like this, and go to such a fun and beautiful location. It is truly one of the highlights of the year for all of us. The kids REALLY love it!
Every year we have built a sled run in front of the house. It has turned out to be extremely popular with the kids who spend the bulk of their free time sledding on "the tube run". They get a lot of great exercise playing in the snow with minimal "screen time"; this is good wholesome fun! We were very lucky with all the new snow. Just a week earlier there was not enough to build it, which would have been a huge disappointment for the kids.
We built the sled run on Thursday morning and also did quite a bit of snowmobiling. Everyone in our group of friends can ski so Friday we all went skiing at Schweitzer. Kevin has been dying to try snowboarding so we rented him some gear and put him in a two hour private lesson. He's now a snowboarder and he loves it! It was a great day of skiing with good snow, no lift lines, a huge mountain to explore, and lots of friends to ski with. Saturday we played around the house on the sled run, in the snow, and out on the snowmobiles. It warmed up Saturday and everything started to melt. By the time we left on Sunday the sled run was almost gone and riding snowmobiles from the house was impossible. Our timing couldn't have been better. In fact, this was perhaps the ONLY weekend of the entire winter that there was enough snow to make this all possible. We live charmed lives...
Rather that outline every event, I'll just post some pictures with captions:
|Sledding in front of the house.|
|You can see the ski runs at Schweitzer Mtn, across the lake in the sun.|
|Some of the kids having fun at Kathy's parents house.|
|Kathy and Tess dropping out of the woods back onto the road. Wheeeeeeee!|
|Jamie and Grace coming through one of the woods "trails".|
|Aidan, Cindy, Grace, and Kathy on the Stella chairlift. Schweitzer Mt.|
|Getting ready for a steep downhill trail. Everybody ready?|
|I think the kids are saying "hey grown-ups, let's get going!"|
|Vaughn takes Steve for a ride over the landscaping adjacent to the driveway.|
Jamie and Grace, then Tess and Kathy, on one of the trails.
|Aidan and Mark return from a fun ride through the forest.|
|Kathy and Steve stop to enjoy the view of lake Pend Orielle.|
|Lunch break after a few good hours of skiing.|
|Tons of new snow. Schweitzer Mt. Ski resort.|
|Grace and Cindy riding "Musical Chairs".|
|Kevin puts on his snowboard. Emily is ready to ski!|
|Kevin can now snowboard. He's so excited.|
|Dinner for the kids.|
|Video "phone call". Aidan & Grace chat w/their parents (both on a sailboat in the Caribbean).|
|The human pyramid!|