179 What to Expect at Ski Resorts this Winter


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Vacation Mavens

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Like everything, skiing is going to look a little different this year. This week on the podcast, Kim and Tamara talk about what to expect if you are planning a day trip or ski vacation this winter. Be prepared to make reservations, limited capacity, longer lift lines, and new lodge and shuttle procedures. Get the scoop! What to Expect at a Ski Resort in 2020-2021 Due to Covid, most resorts will ask you to book reservations in advance, which will make going for a last minute weekend trips harder. Priority for reservations has been given to season or EPIC pass holders. You are really going to have to do your research for the resorts you will want to go and find out what the rules and regulations are for booking your trip. You will also need to look into how you are going to get there. If you are going into a different state for your ski vacation you will also need to look into what that state's rules are for coming and going. Many ski resorts will not be running parking shuttles and/or mountain shuttles. If they are running, it will be at lower capacity and the wait times might be longer. A lot of Ski lodge eateries are going to require reservations. So you will need to plan out your runs more so that you don’t miss your reservation. Some places will also have a time limit that you will even be able to spend at your table. So no relaxing with a drink while you wait for your family to be done with a lesson or run. It will be easiest to stay in a ski in/ski out condo where you can make your own meals. If you or your child are going to need lessons, you will need to make reservations in advance. There likely will not be any full day ski programs for kids. Social distancing is a challenge in ski rental shops. It may be easier to arrange for ski rentals from a local ski shop and bring them with you. Alternatively, you can rent from someone that will deliver to your accommodations. You should look at your local state park websites and see if they offer any other winter activities like snowshoeing, sledding or even just playing in the snow. Mentioned on the Podcast Ski.com Episode 117 - Ski Resorts in the US for Family Travel Episode 37 - Planning a Family Ski Trip Read the Full Transcript [00:00:00.090] - Kim What to know before hitting the slopes this winter. [00:00:15.130] - Announcer Welcome to Vacation Mavens. A family travel podcast with ideas for your next vacation and tips to get you out the door. Here are your hosts, Kim from Stuffed Suitcase and Tamara from We3Travel. [00:00:30.340] - Tamara So Kim, winter is here and we are starting to think about what we're going to do outside since we know there's not a lot to do inside besides stay in our home. And I think you guys have really started to enjoy skiing a lot. Do you have plans to go skiing this winter? [00:00:47.160] - Kim Yeah, so we well, we had originally been thinking of going to Jackson Hole and that trip has been canceled, obviously. And so we are definitely sticking close to home. Thankfully, we have a local ski resort that's only about an hour and 15 minutes away that we like to go to. And it is an Epic Pass resort. [00:01:06.090] - Kim So we every year we kind of buy a four pack of passes for this resort and we go, you know, about once a month, sometimes twice. And so, yeah, we're planning on doing that again. It was a little different this year than what we've done in the past. So that was kind of the biggest change for us. But we're still planning on, you know, going skiing. We just know because of the changes, we're not able to just go, hey, do you guys want to go skiing this weekend? [00:01:30.360] - Kim Because, and that's what I'll go into I guess, is we bought our Epic Pass, which we normally end up buying them in October, that is when they start going on sale for the cheapest prices. [00:01:40.620] - Kim So it's kind of weird to be thinking that far ahead. But they start promoting and telling you to like buy in I think even August and September, they start selling the passes and by October they're giving you like, OK, it's the final day. You know, you need to get this purchased right away. And you can buy an Epic Pass that covers like a whole bunch of the Vail Resorts across the West Coast and even a lot of resorts in the East Coast also. [00:02:04.020] - Kim Or we buy just a four pack to our local resort that's close by and it's a little bit cheaper because it's a smaller resort. So we did that this year and got that purchase in advance. But then we got a notice that we had to make reservations for what days we want to go skiing this year, which is the big change, I think, that people might not be prepared for. [00:02:24.570] - Tamara Yeah, I've noticed that too. I've seen you know, I've kind of been tracking what's going on, even though I don't think we're going to be going skiing because there is actually one ski hill in Rhode Island, which is where you go to learn to ski, you know, initially. [00:02:39.510] - Tamara And I think Hannah did the black diamond after like six lessons, you know, so it's it's not much of a of a ski experience unless you're a little tiny kid learning to ski. [00:02:50.610] - Tamara But I've been listening to what's going on. And definitely it seems like many of the mountains are moving to this reservation system. I listened to a whole session from Ski Vermont, with all the different ski resorts kind of talking about their changes for this year. And it seems like some of the smaller mountains are not requiring reservations, but definitely all the bigger ones are. [00:03:14.930] - Tamara Not only that, but they're giving priority to reservations for pass holders. I think some of them are opening up for reservations on like December 8th. But the pass holders have already made all their reservations. So you're basically left with the leftovers at that point. [00:03:32.550] - Kim Yeah, that's been the biggest thing that the emails were suggesting and that I've seen is that pass holders have priority. So people who have like Epic Pass and Icon Pass and stuff like that. [00:03:41.820] - Kim And even, you know, if you have a season pass for that ski resort, they're giving those pass holders first option to book their their days. [00:03:52.050] - Kim So if you're planning on just buying a, you know, regular ski pass, you might have some trouble on the weekends getting a date. So it's definitely something you need to look into and be prepared for. [00:04:03.630] - Tamara Yeah, I know that in the past we've mostly done ski weekends when we go to Maine or Vermont and those you book in advance anyway because of your accommodations and you kind of hope for the best weather. But for more local things, sometimes I've been tempted to like go on Lifttopia and buy some passes in advance. [00:04:21.510] - Tamara But then I'm like, well, suppose like the weather isn't great, you know, because it varies so much and I've always like held off and now it's like, well, you're really locked in, especially, you know, it's one thing if you're making it like a weekend and it's if you if it isn't a great ski day, maybe the resort has like other things to do. [00:04:39.180] - Tamara But for you guys, where it's just like, OK, we're driving an hour and 15 minutes, we're going to ski this day, you know what? If the snow is terrible, what if it rains? There's like a lot more risk involved. [00:04:54.210] - Kim There's definitely a lot more risk because we've had those days where it's like, oh, it's you know, especially later in the spring here, out here by us, we they have something called Cascade Concrete. And as it gets towards, you know, February, March, the snow gets really wet and the way it falls really heavy and fast and wet, it's it's just like you get locked into place, like you can't even move. One time in March, our in-laws are visiting and they actually know where they had to carry like Lizzie and Mia down the hill because they couldn't even ski or move. [00:05:26.940] - Kim And their body weight isn't enough to break through the the thickness of the snow. So, yeah, I mean, if you pick a day and it's snowing heavy like that and you've got that really wet snow, you're kind of just wasted your pass day and you don't have as much freedom to go, oh, let's not go today because, you know, it's a lot of wet snow. So that's kind of a bummer. [00:05:45.740] - Tamara Yeah, we have that issue a little bit differently, but we get a lot of, ice and,  things like that or, sometimes like last winter, there wasn't a lot of snow,  so you could get up there and it's only the snow that they've made and that might be really icy. And I don't I don't really like skiing when it's only the snow that they've made because it's bare next to where your are skiing. [00:06:07.730] - Tamara And I know one time we were up in Okemo in Vermont, like one of the first weekends that they were open and they had such a base built up on the trails. But if you went off the edge of the trail, it was like you were just dropping down a few feet onto the ground. And it was also a weekend. It was like the first weekend ski racing was open and they were one of the first ones open in the state. [00:06:31.050] - Tamara So like all the ski racers in the in the whole state were there on the slopes, meanwhile, we're not confident skiers. And you got ski racers, zooming by you and. Yeah, this drop off the edge. We're like, oh, this is not an ideal experience. We're used to going in January, February like that. Not early in the season. [00:06:50.000] - Tamara Yeah. So I think that that's definitely an issue and it's but there's no way around it, you know, unless you are going to one of the smaller ski mountains, that doesn't require a reservation. [00:06:58.280] - Tamara I think really as with everything when it comes to covid and travel right now, it's doing your research during your research, not being a last minute planner and making sure that you're really reading through the website and the protocols and you're planning in advance and which, again, planning in advance a little bit difficult these days when you're like, I don't know what travel restrictions will change or will I be healthy and, you know, all those kind of things. [00:07:25.880] - Tamara So it's definitely it's a challenge. But hopefully, when people are out there, you'll feel like normal and you can enjoy the outdoors, the views, the exercise. [00:07:38.450] - Kim I think skiing would be the perfect kind of vacation getaway for 2020 or even, you know, winter 2021. Seems like it would be perfect. So we'll see. I think, though, if you're a first time skier and or if you're not really confident or if you're not into stresses and stuff like that, I probably would say this might be the winter to hold off and, you know, plan for that next ski vacation next winter, because I think there are going to be a lot of a lot of extra hiccups and things to think through. [00:08:13.310] - Kim So just now we've talked about the reservations and getting on the hill. But just getting to the hill is going to be another consideration people have to take into account. I've heard that some places are reserving parking lot reservations to be able to actually drive and park and other resorts are not running the mountain shuttles that normally would pick up in the town and drive you up to the mountain. [00:08:37.340] - Kim I think that some of those shuttles are either not being run at all or if they are, they're being run at a very low capacity, which is going to affect wait times and things. [00:08:45.830] - Tamara And there's nothing I hate more than having to schlep all my stuff and standing around and waiting for a shuttle. It's so irritating and frustrating. My biggest recommendation for this year would be splurge for the ski in, ski out like condo or hotel. [00:09:06.800] - Tamara I remember one year we were up at Mount Snow and Hannah had a fever, which, you know, thinking back like that would been a whole different thing now. [00:09:16.040] - Tamara But  she really wanted to try to ski and we didn't realize how sick she was. So we were on the lift and her head whent down an clunked against the bar and I was like, oh my God, she is going to pass out on the lift. So I got her down and we went and we had to wait for a shuttle to get back to our condo. And I'm holding both of our stuff because she's too sick and I'm like propping her up and trying to get us on. [00:09:45.410] - Tamara I think our listeners might know that one of my favorite places to ski is Sun River in Maine. And there we usually do a ski in ski out condo. But there have been times where we might be staying off property and Glenn might drop us off at the front and then he would go park. [00:10:03.380] - Tamara And of course unless you're there really early, you have to park pretty far away and hope that there's a shuttle, but you can always walk it. In a lot of places, it's just too far to walk. Also at Sunday River and a lot of mountains, there are multiple mountains on the resort. So you can ski, take one lift up and you're skiing around and you kind of ski down  another side. And then to get back to your original lodge, you have to take a shuttle if you don't want to go back up another trail. [00:10:34.820] - Tamara I definitely think, like every step of the experience, you have to think about what that's going to look like. If you are there for the day, a lot of times you just shove your bag either in a locker or just in the lodge somewhere and hope nobody takes it and you just leave there and you go back whenever you need to get it, that's going to look different this year. [00:10:53.620] - Kim Yeah, definitely. Everything you're saying is exactly what I think some of the things are that people have to consider. And I know that the other thing we should talk about is renting gear as its going to be another huge factor because people are cannot be crammed in a line and at the rental store waiting for their gear, it's going to have to be spread out. [00:11:17.230] - Kim And there's really going to be longer waits because they're not going to be able to cram in. I'm sure you've had this. I don't know how often you've rented, but there's like ten people on a bench and you're all getting fitted with your boots and all that stuff. [00:11:28.480] - Tamara We almost always rent because Hannah had some when she was younger, but she doesn't anymore. And Glenn has boots but not skis. So, yeah, we're always renting something. I think rentals are going to look totally different. Yeah. What we've done a lot of times is rent locally at a local ski shop and then bring it up with us. [00:11:47.380] - Kim Yeah, I agree. We have all of our own gear and so when we go locally we just take our gear, of course. And but when we've gone on trips we've always rented. But I do know something that people will want to look into is a lot of rentals will actually deliver your rentals if you're staying on property. And so if you have that option, if you are going somewhere, you're going to need rent. Try and find an outfitter that will deliver to your condo or whatever, because I think that's going to be that's always better anyways, because you waiting in those lines on their first morning is brutal. [00:12:21.310] - Tamara oh, I hate that. I always try if we can get in like the night before, before it closes,  to pick up then. But sometimes you have only a certain number of hours or days. When I was booking travel for people I used ski.com and they did a lot of total packages where it was the accommodations, the lift tickets, and the rentals that were delivered to your accommodations. And that was a really nice one stop shop, so it might be something that people would look into. [00:12:52.960] - Kim Yeah, I think that's a good thing. So we've talked about reservations. We've talked about rentals. We've talked about shuttles and parking. What else do you think we should talk about? Probably eating. I think that's going to be another big thing. And the lodges. [00:13:05.860] - Tamara Yeah, definitely. I've looked at a couple of the mountains that we've typically gone to, and  they're all doing reduced capacity when it comes to how many people can be in either a restaurant or even the kind of the more self serve type of things. So that's good. And that, to me, is always such a pain, my preference, and I think you're this way, too, is to ski as long as I can. And go inside after the main lunch crowd has eaten. And then I'm basically done for the day. Once I warm up and I loosen my boots and all of that and I've had my my beer I'm about done. [00:13:48.850] - Tamara But right now it looks like a lot of them are going to require a reservation for any of the sit down dining. And that impacts where you are on the mountain, how many more runs are you going to do, to get there in time for this reservation. [00:14:07.210] - Tamara You can't always plan it out quite so perfectly, not like when you are in the lodge and walking down to the restaurant. And then also they're going to have a cap of the time that you spend there. So my whole thing of like, oh, let's have my ramen soup and my beer and just hang out until Hannah's done her lesson, maybe can't do that anymore. [00:14:28.960] - Tamara I definitely think the ski in ski out would be so much easier. You can just go back to the condo and have your lunch there whenever you need to. [00:14:40.360] - Kim I think this is the year to, like you said, splurge for the ski and ski out condo and do your grocery shopping and all that. Because I know we stayed. Was it last year? Was that two years ago now? Now I can't even remember at Keystone. And it was an amazing time. We loved that. And we stayed in there in Riverrun Village and it was a condo and we were in walking distance. [00:15:02.170] - Kim I mean, it was a little bit of a walk, so you had to carry your gear and a lot of people had little wagons they would just pull behind them and carry their skis and boots and all that. But I think that it's definitely the year to do that because otherwise, your options are to packing lunch and snacks and all of that in the car. [00:15:27.460] - Kim And so then when everybody's ready for lunch, we'll be coming back to the parking lot, sitting in the car, eating our lunch and stuff, and then gearing back up and going back to finish out the day skiing. Normally in our family, the girls get lunch in the lodge and they eat macaroni and cheese or whatever they want, and then head back out on the mountain and then on their way home, they grab an early dinner. And normally, I know this sounds crazy about McDonald's, but that's kind of their tradition. [00:16:06.610] - Kim But I think your car is going to be your home base if you do not have a ski in ski out situation. I think that's what people should count on. And like I don't know how bathrooms are going to be handled because they're always so crazy and dirty. [00:16:22.960] - Tamara  I was just thinking about that. I wonder if they will put in porta potties. Can you imagine trying to go in a porta potty in a snowstorm? Oh my goodness. [00:16:37.930] - Kim You know, this would be the year to make sure you have the pants and not the bibs with the suspenders because they're going to be hanging down on who knows what. [00:16:45.670] - Tamara Yes. It's so funny because obviously we're middle aged women and our listeners know bathrooms are something we think about. [00:16:54.220] - Tamara  I was listening to this ski Vermont call and they were talking about lessons and, so we'll talk about lessons in a second. But one of the thing with lessons with little kids is some of them need some help, like you said, with all that gear, going to the bathroom. And so they were saying,  we're not going to be able to do that. So you can only have a lesson if your child can, you know, go to the bathroom ourselves and all that. [00:17:18.530] - Tamara For lessons I used to sign her up for a full day lesson and they would all go and eat lunch together in their own little space. But that's not going to be allowed anymore. [00:17:28.660] - Tamara Obviously the size of lessons is going to be reduced. I think it's only going to be a half day or shorter lessons and then you can have a family lunch in between or something. [00:17:40.630] - Kim There's going to be a lot of differences and reservations, of course. [00:17:43.630] - Tamara Yeah. That's the one thing I've seen is that if you do want ski lessons, you need to make a reservation in advance. I'm curious how they'll do it. I don't know. I wonder if pricing will be higher because it's going to be semiprivate versus, you know, a big group of kids. So I don't know what that's going to look like because normally it's two kind of instructors and then like a class of like ten to twelve kids. [00:18:22.690] - Tamara I know some of the resorts were debating whether or not they should even open because even just hiring, I'm thinking in Vermont, a lot of resorts might hire from out of state and you can't do that now. [00:18:33.640] - Kim And so, yeah, I guess that they're living there. [00:18:36.490] - Tamara You can, but you don't know like what capacity you're actually going to have. [00:18:43.600] - Kim It's just really a huge task. And I really feel for the ski resorts trying to do their best. But there's so many contact points, you know, there's so many things to to think through for sure. And we didn't even talk about the lifts. [00:18:59.230] - Tamara Oh, yeah, exactly. Yeah, that's going to be that's going to be interesting because obviously you can't travel up with someone that is not in your party. So lift lines might move a little slower. And I know in the past well, because I love the part of the mountain that's, you know, not the blacks. So I go I tend to ski near where the ski school is. And so often the kids will be coming up and they'll be like, can you take one? Can you take one? Which always stressed me out anyway. Like, I don't want to be responsible for my own. [00:19:32.450] - Tamara I think I've talked about this before, but when you're already not a fully confident skier, especially, a few years ago before I had the experience that I do now, I was worried about getting myself off the lift, I didn't want to worry about a little kid. [00:19:46.510] - Tamara And then the few times we brought up a little kid, they're fearless and they're just kicking their feet and they're leaning down. They're sliding down. I'm like, oh, my God, they're going to go under. [00:19:54.540] - Kim Yeah. Yeah, exactly. [00:19:57.540] - Tamara And sometimes I would just be like, I'm really sorry, but I'm not comfortable because I don't want my kid with somebody that's not like fully comfortable. [00:20:06.960] - Tamara Yeah. So it'll definitely be a little bit slower on the lines. And then I have a feeling though, more people, more resorts might be moving to the scanners or the RFID where you don't have to get close to scan somebody. So maybe that can go like a little faster. [00:20:37.360] - Kim I think that it's going to be interesting also because I mean I'm thinking in those lines, like even when we talked to Rob with the Disneyland. Or I mean, Disney World and Universal, and he was talking about the switchbacks are skipped even, and I hadn't even considered that, like I was only thinking of the people, like in front of you being six feet apart. [00:20:55.810] - Tamara But, yeah, when you have, like, a normal like a snake line formation where you're backtracking back and forth and zigzagging you, I mean, you got to skip six feet there, too. [00:21:06.760] - Kim And so I don't know how the lines will work. I mean, I think in some ways it seems like it's going to be better because they're limiting the amount of people they're going to give passes to each day. But when you think of the limitations of, you know, only your party can go on the up the chairlift and things like that, it's going to look very different. And then I was even thinking like Keystone, they have a big tubing hill that's really fun and awesome. [00:21:33.340] - Kim And I'm thinking of that because when we were there, you know, everyone's just grabbing their tube and rushing over to get back up the because you get to be there for like an hour. [00:21:41.730] - Kim So the faster you are, getting off the hill and up back up the little conveyor belt that takes you up the mountain, the more rides you can get in. But that's just packed person to person to person. And so even that's going to be have to be spread out. So that's going to be a lot slower. And then you're not going to be waiting back to back with these people to go for your turn to go down the hill. [00:22:04.240] - Kim So that's going to all just look very different. So I don't know what what's going to happen with some of those extracurricular things, too. But, yeah, I think the the lines on the chairlifts are going to be are going to move slower and they're probably going to be a lot more spread out than you're used to. [00:22:18.760] - Tamara Yeah, because I'm thinking of different ones that I'm familiar with. And it's not necessarily the zigzag, but there might be three lines, coming in and then you alternate, when you get up to the front. [00:22:40.480] - Tamara One thing that we haven't talked about yet, too, is just,  travel restrictions. Yeah. I know that, you know, we we've been dealing with travel restrictions here for many months, but places like California and even Washington, you know, like you, you guys have started to implement at least recommendations or some restrictions. And, I think about Vermont was saying that they are usually so busy with people from New York and New Jersey that come up because they're one of the closest resorts for that. [00:23:09.160] - Tamara And they don't anticipate that that would happen this year because they have a 14 day quarantine requirement or can do like seven days plus a test. [00:23:20.020] - Tamara But you're certainly not going to have weekend people that are coming up. And I did ask because everyone's like, well, are they really checking? I asked a couple of the different major resorts and hotels and they actually said that they reach out to everyone that they see from out of state with an out-of-state reservation. [00:23:38.620] - Tamara So this wouldn't probably be the same for some rentals, you know, but for at least hotels, if they see you're coming from a state that would require a quarantine, which is pretty much everyone, they reach out to you and they ask you like, what's your plan? And you have to submit something that says I'm quarantined at home or this is where I'm quarantining before I arrive. [00:23:56.630] - Tamara So they are being proactive with it. So it's not like I'll just ignore that guideline. [00:24:03.730] - Kim Yeah, I think that's one of the big reasons Washington and I think California is a recommended as well. I can't remember California, but they're not able to enforce it. And I think it's because you get to a certain level of people and they just can't follow up with every reservation in person. But that's good that it's being I mean, it's kind of like, again, going back to that idea of the theme parks you can have rules, but enforcing them is what's going to actually provide the the feeling of safety. [00:24:33.700] - Tamara So definitely and honestly, I mean, we should just talk about the elephant that's in the room, which is we all know that right now there's not many places where cases aren't on the rise. [00:24:44.770] - Tamara You know, things aren't looking good. So I think what you are planning is is good, right? You're local. You're just going to drive there and follow the protocols and enjoy your day. But in terms of, like ski travel, I think people really need to think about what that really would entail and whether or not that is something that they should really be taking part of right now. [00:25:09.850] - Kim Well, I know this is kind of getting a little macabre, but even looking at if something does happen to you on a ski hill and you have a catastrophic accident or whatever, like, you know, ICU room beds and hospitals near some of these ski resorts and what are their what are their abilities to take care of you at that point? [00:25:38.380] - Kim I know that Idaho is very popular ski resort, but I know last month they were asking Washington State whether they could take some patients and staff possible, they're trying to set up things to possibly take some patients because of the covid numbers on the rise there and the hospitals being full. [00:25:56.660] - Kim So that's definitely another aspect, like you said, to keep in mind and whether people should be traveling or feel comfortable traveling right now and doing something that is kind of a, you know, not high risk sport, but it is a sport that comes with possible consequences. [00:26:11.800] - Tamara It does. I know a number of people that have broken things. You know, I mean, it doesn't have to be completely catastrophic, but even that is exactly not ideal for sure. I mean, even here in Rhode Island, they opened field hospitals yesterday. [00:26:31.360] - Kim So I think that's just something for everyone to keep in mind. We're not trying to be a Debbie Downer, but definitely something to consider. And and all of this information hopefully won't even be a problem. And if you just think, you know, try and maybe stay close to home and then look ahead to next winter might be a fabulous time. And you can really relax and enjoy it. [00:26:55.480] - Tamara And for the people that don't live near a ski resort, it's definitely a good time to start thinking about next year. If you wanted to go back and listen to a couple of our previous episodes, I know we did Episode 117, which was 2019. We did an episode on the best ski resorts for families. And so that would give people a lot of ideas. [00:27:17.680] - Tamara We tried to cover both the East Coast, West Coast, Colorado, Utah area. So we've got a lot that we covered in that one that would be good to go back and listen to. And then we did a previous episode. I can't remember the number of that one, but it was just kind of about planning your first ski trip for a family and things to keep in mind. So some good episodes to go back to two really good ones. [00:27:39.190] - Kim I think skiing is a fun sport. It's expensive also. And I think that's another thing for people to just keep in mind is the the cost of lift tickets and everything, make sure you're looking into that in advance and rentals and getting that all figured out, you know, so you're not surprised by anything. [00:27:54.730] - Tamara Yeah. And in the meantime, I think that there's also other ways to get outside this winter. I know that snowshoeing is going to be really popular as well as Nordic skiing, because there you don't have to deal with some of the same issues in terms of the lines and things like that. And and many times, if a resort offers Nordic or snowshoeing, many times it's out of a separate lodge or soopers facility, you know, so you're not always dealing with the the main crowd. [00:28:23.770] - Tamara It's funny, there have been so many different things where I've predicted like, oh, there's going to be a run on that. I'm like there's going to be a run on snow shoes by that. It's funny though because I forget we were watching, but it was like a commercial or something. And they're like, this is hard to find. And Hannah looked at me and she was like, you just said, that was going to be hard to find like a month ago. And I'm like, I should go play the lottery. [00:28:46.570] - Kim Yeah, exactly. You should be in marketing. So that makes sense. [00:28:53.050] - Kim Well, and that was what I was going to say, is I actually and I feel kind of stupid for not realizing this, but I actually recently looked up because I was trying to figure out if I could find snow anywhere near as that has like an easy parking lot for like from some photos I wanted to get. And I realized that in our state if  youlook up your state park system, so for me, Washington state parks, and you can find that they actually have snow parks. And these are parks that are specifically designed for people to just go play in the snow. So you can do you can park at a trailhead and you can go snowshoeing or you can, you know, build a snowman or you can go sledding and things like that. And some have there's also some winter recreation parks specifically for like snowmobiles. [00:29:35.950] - Kim And then they'll have like non motorized that are specifically, again, for people to be able to go snowshoeing and play in the snow and sledding. So if you're curious and you want to get out and enjoy the winter, look up your state park system and see what they have listed for like winter recreation, because you might be surprised and find that there's some, you know, parks specifically for snow play and or trails specifically for, you know, like you said, snowshoeing and Nordic skiing. [00:30:00.310] - Kim So don't be scared to look on your local state park website. [00:30:04.420] - Tamara That's a great recommendation. Definitely not something that I think I have here. But, you know, many places that would have larger state park systems or more opportunity for snow probably would. So it's great. [00:30:16.690] - Kim Yeah, well, you just go in your backyard, right? [00:30:18.970] - Tamara Well, hopefully not too much. I mean, we did have that one snow in October, but last year we didn't get very much. I really enjoy snowshoeing. You know, I've done it a couple of times. I've always surprised by what hard work it is, you know. But I would like to get snow shoes. But they're  a little pricey. I mean, you can get them for like one hundred and fifty or so. [00:30:42.580] Yeah. Good ones. Because if you're going to buy some, you want to splurge a little because you want the lightweight ones, because it is hard work and lifting your feet up and stuff, you definitely want the you want the titanium ones, not the stainless steel or whatever. [00:30:57.440] - Tamara And then I'm like, do I really want to get them now when I don't really want to spend money and who knows if it'll snow or not. And you know, it's one of those things. [00:31:13.590] - Kim  Yeah, well, it might be a time to look also on your local Craigslist or Facebook marketplace, because people might be upgrading their snowshoes this year and getting rid of older ones. [00:31:23.490] - Tamara You know, you never know. It's funny. Right before the pandemic, I've had my basement for years. Hannah's old skis and and ski boots, like from when she was really little that I have never bothered to bring to a place to sell. [00:31:35.280] - Tamara And I keep thinking, should I donate it or should I sell it? So I had that for a while. And then I had a chest freezer that we just hadn't used in years. And before the pandemic, I sold both of them. But I sold both of them. And I'm like, well, that was bad timing. Like, I could have gotten so much more. So much more. And it's funny, I guess I'm good with some timing and bad with others. [00:32:04.110] But hopefully we'll all find some ways to get outdoors this winter because we'll need we'll need it. We'll need the fresh air. We'll need the change of scenery. I know there used to be so many places that we would go in the winter to, you know, be entertained even when it's freezing out. And those are not places that I feel comfortable going right now. [00:32:24.120] - Kim Well, most of them are not open anyway. Yeah, I was going to say I feel like for us, it's  cruising is always a very popular thing for people to go down to the Caribbean and take a cruise. And I don't know where people are going to escape to this winter. [00:32:36.960] - Tamara Well, I know that we will be inside a bit more this winter and not really going to many places. But do you have any holiday plans? Do you have any special traditions or things that you're going to put in place for the girls to try to make it as festive as you can? [00:32:52.900] - Kim I think it's probably going to be a pretty standard holiday for us. We already if some people follow me on Instagram, they already maybe saw that one of our biggest traditions because we live in Washington state is that we we go and pick out our Christmas tree at a local Christmas tree farm in advance. [00:33:08.830] - Kim And so we you know, at the beginning of November, we go and you walk around their farm and you pick the tree you want and you wrap it up and you take off a little tag and they write it down that this is your tree. And so then we went the weekend of Thanksgiving and we actually cut down our tree and brought it home and then we'll decorate it and everything. So that's kind of one of our big holiday traditions. And it is interesting, though, is that girls have gotten older. [00:33:32.620] - Kim They're less like into it, as we used to be, which is kind of sad. But so we're we're sticking with that. And then we'll just have our standard, you know, holiday. My mom is our she's lives out here and she's alone. And so she part of kind of our bubble unit. And so we'll have her over for Christmas. And that's that's about it. It'll be a pretty easy at home. We had planned to go to Canada like we try and add in Canada a couple every few years. [00:33:59.500] - Kim And we were this was supposed to be a Canada Christmas year. So for us, we are not going to Canada for Christmas, but we will still have a wonderful time at home and just relax. And I know that Paul has a bunch of vacation time, so he's going to be taking off. I think he gets like the two weeks, the last two weeks of the year off. So that'll be a nice little thing to have just some family time at home. [00:34:21.580] - Tamara That's good. Hopefully he can do some skiing. [00:34:24.400] - Kim Yeah, exactly. We've got a couple a few days. We've got four days booked, so. Yeah. So what about you guys? Do you have any holiday plans this month and in the year? [00:34:33.610] - Tamara This will be definitely very different for us because we're never home on Christmas. You know, we always go down to my mom's house and we see my whole family for Christmas and she lives in New Jersey. And it's if we put our whole like my immediate family, my brothers, my sisters, their kids, now, they're kids, kids together. I think we're like twenty six people. So that is not happening. So it'll be sad. [00:34:57.490] - Tamara I'll be the first time ever that we've been home for Christmas. And as you guys know, like we have a Jewish home, so we don't have a Christmas tree and all that kind of stuff. And I've never really thought about it because we're just not here. I don't want to miss the specialness of it, but I don't know quite what to do to create it. You know, it's only it's just the three of us. [00:35:26.080] - Tamara It's always just the three of us, you know, like we don't have anybody nearby. So I'm not sure. But I think what I will enjoy is the fact that this month is going to be quieter. You know, usually it feels like such a rush and so busy and so I don't feel like making Christmas cookies because I always go down to New Jersey and my sister makes like twenty six kinds of cookies and my brother makes like twenty kinds. [00:35:52.630] - Tamara My mom makes like twenty kinds and they all give us like these big tins of cookies and we come back and we have cookies for like months. So I was like OK Hannah like let's make some cookies, like let's pick which ones we want to make. We're going to make cookies and we'll deliver them to like her friends and, you know, we'll deliver them to people. So that'll make us feel like we're doing something special. And then a lot of times, like for Hanukkah, it is like on top of Christmas or it's like too early. [00:36:18.700] - Tamara It's you know, it's like it's never a great time. And we like I like to make potato pancakes and applesauce. [00:36:29.380] - Tamara And when I do it, I make like pounds and pounds of potatoes. So it's like a whole day affair, like I'm frying for hours and then my entire house smells. The kitchen is like coated in grease. So it's basically like my time to deep clean the kitchen. I cook all day and then I clean it all spraying down the cabinets and everything like it, everything really clean, you know. [00:36:53.740] - Tamara  But I don't always have time to do that. So some years I'm like, oh, I'm just not like making them this year because it's not worth the effort to just make a few. It's like you want to make a lot. So I think this year, like that weekend, that Hanukkah falls over, like I'll just make a bunch of latkes and maybe do the same, like give them out to some people and, you know, make it festive. [00:37:14.680] - Tamara We are going to do like a drive through holiday lights thing. [00:37:22.390] - Tamara But you know what to figure out as we go. I mean it in a way it's like nice to not have to travel, but our Christmas is like this Christmas spectacular of you know, we drive down to New Jersey and Christmas Eve is at my brother's house and he has done for thirty years, I think, like where he does appetizers and we look forward to certain appetizers that he does. [00:37:43.120] - Tamara And then Christmas Day, we used to always go to my sister's house and now we go to my nephew's house. And then the day after Christmas, my mom does a whole big dinner and we. Are all at her house, you know, and then we drive home the next day and sometimes we stop at New York, in New York on the way home and we see some family there, or we visit the, you know, the Christmas decorations in New York City, you know, do something like that. [00:38:04.900] - Tamara So it's it's always been like a big thing. So it's going to be like definitely really different. And if anybody wants to send me a little holiday cheer message, I'm sure that I will appreciate it at that time because I'm going to be just, like, bored. [00:38:21.260] - Kim Do you guys do light a menorah? [00:38:23.530] - Tamara We do at home. So, yeah, we'll be at least you'll be home for more of the and we'll all be here, which a lot of years like, you know, Glenn is traveling or something. [00:38:31.870] - Tamara So like I'll do the candles with Hannah, but then we don't always do like I used to always get her eight gifts and she would open one a day. This year she needed a new computer. So she's not getting gifts. [00:38:43.840] - Kim So you're like, here's a monitor, here's a mouse. Here's your cell, you know? [00:38:49.870] - Tamara Yeah, it'll it'll be different. In the New Year's Eve, we always the last quite a few number of years have done with our neighbors that live up the street. And they also love food the way that we do. And so Glenn and Greg just cook this amazing, like multi course, like gourmet food. We have caviar, we have oysters. Like, it's amazing. It's this it's actually my favorite day of the entire year. [00:39:16.090] - Tamara And I don't you know, I don't know if there'll be a way to do that safely or not. I was like, well, maybe we can deliver courses to each other and cook, like, over a face time. I don't know, we have to figure out if there's a way,  we'll be quarantined. [00:39:27.670] - Tamara So if you guys are willing to quarantine ahead of time because we don't we won't be seeing anyone, then we'd be good. But I think they would do it, but I'm not so sure their sons would be willing to do that. [00:39:39.610] - Kim Teenagers make things a little tricky. Well, and we have right now that with Lizzie has a job now outside the home. So that's she's kind of our biggest risk for our family because the rest of us are at home all the time. So yeah, it's definitely gets interesting. It's really hard to find someone that you can, you know, pod up with that. [00:40:23.050] - Kim Yeah, well, hopefully it'll work out and that you guys will have some new memories and discover some fun ways, you know, fun activities together and stuff. I hope it works out. And for all of our listeners, this is going to be our last episode for the year. So we are wrapping up 2020. It was definitely a different year than other years for Vacation Mavens. And hopefully you guys have enjoyed what we've still shared. And we really appreciate you guys coming along during these crazy times. [00:40:50.950] - Kim And, you know, joining us every other week to listen to what we ramble on about. [00:40:57.010] - Tamara Yeah, we definitely really, really appreciate it, especially sticking with us when, you know, we all know we're not traveling as much as possible. And we always love those kind of encouraging messages that listeners send about different episodes or just when when we realize that someone that follows us on Instagram is also a listener, you know, things like that. It's just it's very heartwarming. And we definitely appreciate it. [00:41:21.430] - Kim And we hope that you all have a very safe and wonderful holiday season. We will be back, you know, next year, probably going to stick to our every other week schedule for a while until at least until travel should pick up more. And we actually enjoy having a little extra time in our schedules, too. So definitely. Anyway, wishing everyone a very happy holiday. Yeah. Happy holidays, everyone. Thanks again by.