My job often affords me unique experiences. Whether its judging at Bacon-fest, perusing the wares at Brewfest, introducing and hanging with my favorite bands, or going to any number of awesome local events, charities, and fund raisers. This weekend was no different as I turned back the clock, and dawned skis for the first time in 13+ years at Sundown Mountain Resort.

Credit: Tom Drake
Credit: Tom Drake / Sundown Mountain Resort
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What made skiing even better this time around, was who I was with. For the first time ever; my twin 7-year-olds, 12-year-old daughter, and wife skied with me. It was a blast at Sundown Mountain Resort which was particularly beautiful on Saturday. The fog had left amazing ice-crystals which formed around each bush and tree. The morning sun made the icy branches shine and glow.

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Shine and glow

That's kind of the whole experience. There were definitely some super-proud dad moments, as each one of my kids dealt with the difficulties of trying something new, and succeeded. I was most surprised by my mini-me, Bennett, who, at just 7, really seemed to grasp the concepts of skiing. I made one run with him to start the day and he never looked back.

I was equally as impressed by my daughters and wife. It was a blessing to be able to enjoy a day of learning and family fun; and for me, a chance to relive some of that youthful exuberance; this time with much a bigger beard.

Credit: Tom Drake
Credit: Tom Drake                    The Icy-bearded 'Drake' in his natural habitat
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The staff at Sundown Mountain could not have been better to work with. As mentioned, I have been out of the skiing game for quite some time (13 years) and my kids didn't have any gear either. So we bundled up, headed out, and worked with the awesome on-site staff to get fitted for boots, skis, and for the first-timers; helmets (better safe than sorry right). The knowledgeable staff made the process fast and efficient and ensured that each of my kids were safely ready to go.

Credit: Tom Drake
Credit: Tom Drake                          The Faimly Gets Geared Up
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Skiing was great. I took each kid down on single runs to try to show them the basics (mainly how you stop). Even better the onsite ski coaches and snow patrol even take time to help you learn. In fact, there are "learn to ski" programs and a child's park on-site to aid beginners. There's also a good chance you'll see Owner/Operator Mark Gordon hanging around. He took a little time to help my youngest daughter Sawyer with stopping. By the end of the practice run and Marks guidance, she was a regular pro.

Credit: Tom Drake Mark Gordon helping Sawyer learn to stop.
Credit: Tom Drake                          Mark Gordon helping Sawyer learn to stop.
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So after several hours of fun on the slopes we were starving so off to Tips Up Food and Spirits. It had a great atmosphere featuring live music, and there just happened to be an open rail jam competition going on that we got to watch while we munched.

Credit: Tom Drake Tips Up at the North Lodge
Credit: Tom Drake                            Tips Up at the North Lodge
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Not only did the north lodge provide a warm and comforting atmosphere, but one of THE best Reubens I've had. Not sure what made it so much better? It could have been the fact that I had just spent 2 hours on the slopes and was starving. It could also be that the cheese was gooey, the meat was delicious, and the thousand island and kraut were tangy and scrumptious. Also, there were cheese curds and you can never go wrong with cheese curds.

Credit: Tom Drake
Credit: Tom Drake
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Before rolling for the day we checked out the gift shop. My wife settled on a corn-crew hoodie before we left for the day. It's sure to be a cute reminder of an amazing day with the family at the beautiful and fun Sundown Mountain Resort.

attachment-Tom Drake Outro
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