Family Ski Trip to Schweitzer Mountain Resort

by | Jan 29, 2022 | Christmas 2021, Ski | 10 comments

On January 3rd we packed up the cars and headed north for the family vacation we started planning last summer. Back then, when we weren’t shoveling snow off the driveway in subzero weather, a trip to the ski resort in January sounded like a great idea… Ha! Thankfully it “warmed” up a bit, but it was snowing when we left home and the ski resort got around 12” of new snow on the day we arrived. After we were all settled into the Selkirk Lodge the kids all watched a movie together while Sean and I got to go out for a little dinner date and explore the resort. The pool is heated, but we decided to skip! 😉 

Day Two…
The next morning the weather was better and we woke up to a beautiful sunrise and a nice view of the lifts from our suites on the top floor!

The two older boys learned how to ski a number of years ago (remember the Ski Cake I made?!), back when we were still living in Oregon, but this was the first time for our next five children, and the first time in over 25 years for Sean and I! He last skied in Arizona while in college, and I’m guessing my last time was sometime between ages 17-19… Can’t remember exactly.   

We decided to have (Bud) our 10 year old wait until the next day, when he and our other four beginners would have their first ski lesson (it worked out wonderfully that the weekly homeschool ski lessons we put them in this winter started during our trip!), but the rest of us headed out to give it a shot on the bunny hill after a brief lesson from (Ranger) our 19 year old who was super excited to be back on skis! 

My brother-in-law, Fr. D. Gordon, drove up to join us since it happened to be his day off for the week! It was so much fun and he did amazing for his very first time skiing, and in a cassock no less!

We all stuck just to the bunny hills for the first day of skiing. (Plus it was a much cheaper lift ticket for all of us adults!) The little girls also got a turn to get outside and enjoy the snow too!

After skiing we all enjoyed Powder Hound Pizza and playing board games with Uncle/Father.
Day Three…
Wednesday morning five of the kids had lessons! While Sean was helping our 10 year old check out skis the rest of us waited for the lifts to open and classes to begin. 


After lunch the three older boys headed up the mountain to explore some of the blue runs. 

The kids all picked up skiing fast and it has quickly moved to the top of their “favorite sports” list. 
(In case you are wondering about my ever changing ski goggles… On the first day I used Captain’s while he wasn’t skiing, then Twinkle Toes while she wasn’t skiing… then the next day I just bought my own pair at one of the resort shops!… ) 

I especially loved all the lift rides/one-on-one visits with our children. 
All the kids slept very well! I, however, did not (see below)…

Day Four… 

Only two of the boys were up for skiing a third day!  They headed out while Sean and the kids checked out of the lodge, unburied the cars, and loaded our luggage.  

As some of them headed back home, a few of us waited for the boys to finish skiing. 
Our Cars – Day 1 vs. Day 4

How did I do? Well… I don’t recommend skiing for the first time in over 25 years while unknowingly coming down with round two of a certain virus. 
On Tuesday night I was feeling extremely sore and just off… I managed to put the ski boots back on the next day, and ski another ten runs (approx. 5 miles), but by Wednesday evening I texted a couple friends: “I’m dying.” They both responded “It’s a good sore!” 
There was nothing good about it… My whole body hurt like crazy, my head was throbbing, sore throat, nauseous, and I was googling things like “can cold air exercise make your throat hurt” and “what is altitude sickness” (which I then started to convince myself was the problem) and even “what are the odds of catching (virus) a second time”…  (After our toddlers were sick with RSV and Croup for most of December, which ended up being a bad cold for the rest of us, we had been making extra effort and taking a lot of precautions to get and then stay healthy for our ski trip… sigh… Thank you God for these extra little crosses!) I spent that last night in the lodge taking multiple hot showers, applying Deep Blue Rub on every muscle, heating up the hot pack over and over, and really wishing we had packed along some pain meds (which I rarely take and hadn’t since our two year old’s birth)!
By Thursday it took everything I had to help pack up, wait for two of the boys to finish skiing, stand and smile while saying a quick hello to some friends near the lifts, get the car out of the snowdrift, clean up the ice chunks covering the entire inside of the car from the three cans of Strawberry Waterloo that had been forgotten in the car and then froze/exploded (!!!!!), and then drive that second car the long drive home during the second winter snow storm of the year (the first was on the drive up lol).  We got home at 5pm, I ran a hot bath with Epsom Salts, took half a pain med left over from our two year old’s birth, and went to bed. The next morning I felt like my oxygen was low (it registered 92 on the oximeter) and Sean was able to round up an extra home test from his brother which showed positive. I KNEW I was in too much pain for it to be JUST from skiing! 😉 
Other than that, skiing was an absolute blast and it was an amazing family vacation.
I really hope we can do it again someday! 


  1. Jan

    It sounds like a wonderful vacation-so sorry you're sick! Prayers that you'll be over it soon and that your family can stay well. We are just getting over what we highly suspect is the same thing, though we haven't tested.

  2. Liesa Gonzalez

    Beautiful pics! Looks like a good time was had by all. I'm so sorry about the sickies. We just finished our second round and the aches were the WORST. I can imagine how hard it must have been doing all of that while feeling terrible. The good news is that you got your booster! LOL Seriously, glad to hear that you're feeling better.

  3. Jessica Gordon

    Thank you! We are mostly well again (Day 0-10 was Jan 4th-14th), just some lingering symptoms and so much fatigue. I'm so sorry you might be dealing with it as well… I hadn't planned on testing till my husband showed up back home with one, but just wasn't sure if I was actually sick or just really really really out of shape! 😉 I guess it was both! I hope you all recover quickly!

  4. Jessica Gordon

    The aches really are the worst!!! I'm so sorry it hit you too. Seems like half the country was sick this month. And, yes, yay for more antibodies!

  5. mel

    Oh, I'm sorry. I am pretty sure we had it right after Christmas, and those body aches were the worst part! Love the skiing in a cassock. 😅 That pool…I mean, thats a painful exit back to your room, no matter how warm the water is!

  6. Karen H

    Jessica, you never cease to amaze! The pictures are all so delightful and you all look so beautiful and hale and hearty. I was smiling to myself while scrolling through, but then the unexpected kicker – return of the virus – was shocking because you look so well and energetic. Skiing! Mothering (how many?) at a ski lodge! Digging cars out of snow! How about just being out of bed at all?! Hats off to you, dear Jessica, Mother Extraordanaire. I don't know how you do it (and I hope you've got your feet up as you read this! 😉

  7. joy

    Well y'all are so TRULY BLESSED to be able to do things like that as a family. Some amazing pics and such beautiful descriptions of REAL family life. So very sorry that you got sick and hope and pray no one else gets it. WHAT memories. And tell Father/brother/uncle that he looked pretty good skiing in his cassock. Glad y'all had that time together and what beautiful scenery. God Bless y'all.

  8. Jessica Gordon

    Right?! I don't even want to imagine the trek back to the room after getting out of a pool!

    I hope you are all felling better now!

  9. Jessica Gordon

    At least Sean and the boys did all the actual digging! They had moved the car for a bit, to go get the luggage loaded, and then reparked it, but then, a few hours later, it was pretty much lodged in that pile of snow. I had a car waiting for my spot as I tried repeatedly to rock it back and forth out of the snow. lol

    All you can do is laugh! It was pretty comical, especially with the chunks of strawberry scented ice falling off the interior ceiling as the car started to warm up inside… I was just so glad those cans didn't go through the windshield or sunroof!

  10. Jessica Gordon

    Thank you, Joy! It was such a blessing! We hadn't gone on a vacation ALL together since before we moved to Idaho in 2018 (with the exception of traveling for my sister's wedding in 2019 when I was 8 months pregnant with our now 2 year old) – so this was our FIRST family trip with all nine children!!

    We had to be creative to pull it off (drivable distance/close to home, only three nights, college boys chaperoning lessons one morning in exchange for lift tickets for the day, packing our own food with the exception of our dinner date and the pizza, etc) and the homeschool group skiing lessons this winter (which came with season passes and rentals on lesson days for five of the kids!) along with the necessary ski clothing/helmets were a big part of Christmas gifts this year, and even then it was hard to pull off, but it was SO worth it!

    We've had four rounds of it in our home now hitting different people each time… plus the boys were sick (and then isolated) last winter at college… so I am really hoping that's the end of it for all of us. My mom (in Oregon) got really sick (first time for her) a couple days after Christmas… I was so worried about her, but thankfully she has pulled through and is doing much better. My dad was also sick, but it stayed mild for him. There are just so many people to pray for right now who are either sick, or have lost loved ones. My college roommate (with two young children) lost her husband in November. I can only imagine the suffering…

    God bless you too!


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Hi! I'm Jessica, a Roman Catholic wife and home educating mother to our nine children. I was home educated myself, along with my eleven younger siblings. I have a special devotion to St. Therese, through whom I have been given much help and many blessings--the beautiful "Shower of Roses" that she has sent my way! Here I will record a few of the blessings I treasure. Please remember that what you see here is just a little glimpse at our lives, so please say a prayer for us, as we continue to strive for holiness.

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