Christmas in Crested Butte

Christmas in Crested Butte was truly beautiful.  Firstly we had to get a proper Christmas tree and it’s always nice decorating a tree – even better when you get to do two in one Christmas season!

Christmas tree 2

Christmas tree 2

Christmas Eve was magical – not just being in a snowy place, but it also snowed from the moment we woke up until we went to sleep. At dusk there was a torchlit procession from the very top of the mountain, first by some children and then by the instructors from the ski school.  It was a beautiful site as the mountain turned red with the torches and you could see a ribbon of red moving down the mountain.

Children's procession

Children’s procession

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Instructors procession

Father Christmas arrived by sleigh and was available for last minute wishes (or a least photographs – the Little One turned to me on seeing him and said “He’s a helper rather than the real Father Christmas, isn’t he?”  Well, yes, he is.  The real Father Christmas would already be busy delivering presents on the other side of the world by now…)

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Father Christmas with the Little One (the Big One was not keen to take part…)

It was snowing as the girls played, making snow angels and generally having a lovely time despite it being around -15c!

We headed home to warm up and get the girls into bed.  The went straight to sleep as they couldn’t wait to see what Father Christmas would leave for them.

Christmas sacks filled by Father Christmas

Christmas sacks filled by Father Christmas

Luckily, he knew that we weren’t in Houston (or England!) for Christmas and so he was able to fill their stockings.  He left a sooty footprint by the fireplace and left a trail of sweets from his pocket (which obviously had a hole in it!) leading to the sacks.  Most of our Christmas presents we’d had to leave at home, so the girls were very excited about the contents of their sacks and Father Christmas was very generous.

It was still snowing but having been told that Christmas day was a good day to ski, we headed up the mountain to see how long we could persuade the girls to ski for.  It was cold and visibility wasn’t brilliant but we were keen and so were hundreds of others.  It was the busiest we’d seen the mountain all week!  Even so, we were still able to find green runs to ourselves and even tackled a couple of blue runs.

We headed back to the house after 4 hours of skiing, for a dinner cooked by my Lovely Husband and some Christmas films.

Boxing Day (26th December) was the day we were supposed to leave so we headed into the town of Crested Butte for breakfast at Izzy’s and a quick wander around.  It was still snowing and very cold but the town looked beautiful.  It’s one of those special places without a McDonalds, Starbucks or any type of chain store, which makes it so lovely to visit.  The buildings haven’t changed much in 100 years and if you took away the cars you could easily imagine yourself back in that time.

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Crested Butte

Crested Butte

The weather wasn’t really improving so we headed off to Gunnison to fly back to Houston.

This is what the road looked like:

The road to Gunnison, 26th December

The road to Gunnison, 26th December

It didn’t look good for flying!  We kept going to the airport anyway and checked our bags in only to have the flight cancelled 5 minutes before it was to take off.  This was hardly surprising as the plane hadn’t actually arrived!

We went back to Crested Butte and the flight on the 27th was cancelled too but at 9am so we headed out skiing in the afternoon instead.  The Little One was very tired and it was very cold (we need to find a way of building her leg strength before we ski next time!) so after an hour we retired to the coffee shop for hot chocolate and cookies, whilst the Big One and my Lovely Husband went up the mountain again.

We also visited the Little One’s favourite shop in Crested Butte.  It’s not the lovely book shop or the toy shop, or even the coffee shop with lovely cookies, or the hotel with a whole village made of gingerbread (including a very impressive castle!)  It’s the ski hire shop where a dog called Bailey hangs out with his owner.  The Little One had made friends with Bailey when we were here in March and had been allowed to feed him treats.  She had remembered him all Summer and this time was allowed to encourage Bailey to do tricks to earn his treats.

Bailey and the Little One

Bailey and the Little One

Whenever we went past the shop the Little One popped in to see Bailey and feed him a treat.  Bailey’s owner, Eric, was always delighted to see Ella and made time to talk to her even when he was very busy.

Around the corner from the shop there were beautiful ice statues, including an ice bench that we failed to get a picture with the girls on as they kept sliding off!  There was also a cowboy boot, various animals and this:

Ice motorbike

Ice motorbike

Our friends who own the house we were staying in had turned up during the day and the children all played nicely together.  The girls were so taken with the little girl that the Little One decided that a little sister wouldn’t be so bad!  We spent the night in the basement of the house on large bunk beds, which was a bit chilly even though I was surrounded by the girls all night as they snuggled in to counteract the cold.

The next day, my Lovely Husband and the Big One went skiing with our friends whilst the Little One and I had pancakes for breakfast and visited the children’s museum which is pretty good.  The Big One spent her time skiing blue (intermediate) runs and generally impressing everyone with her speed and ability to stay upright even on tricky ground!

We headed to the airport and the plane was already there, so we knew we were pretty certain of getting home at last.  The girls were thrilled to be home and couldn’t wait to get into their own beds.  It was lovely to be back in Houston and it even feels a bit chilly, although not quite -22c we’d seen in Crested Butte!

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