at the Water's Edge

Living life and learning all I can along the way!

Packing Challenges

In about 36 hours, we leave for our long-awaited family ski trip out west!  I’ve been looking forward to this trip since Christmastime, when it all started to fall into place so that almost my entire dad’s side of the family will be able to spend some time on vacation together in Colorado.  If I counted right, when we are all together, there will be 20 of us (those who are not coming – you will be missed!).  I’ve never been on a family vacation of this magnitude before, but it’s sure to be a good time.  The last time Tom and I were out in Colorado was in 2006 – we took a road trip with some friends, and met my dad and some other friends out there.  

Me, Brandon, Jake, Tom - Driving out to Colorado in 2006!
We were at Breckenridge, which is where we’re going back to this year.  Out of the places I’ve been, Breckenridge is my favorite place to ski.  They have a good variety of runs, with varying terrain and difficulty levels.  The runs are well laid out on the mountain, and the views are beautiful.   
I’m not the best skier, but I’ve been skiing since I was about 4 or 5 – so, I’m at least to the point where I can get down almost any hill…I just don’t look very pretty doing it!  I’m thinking this year I might make a goal of getting down every run at Breckenridge--minus any that resemble death traps.  We have three ski days in which to get this accomplished.  If I can get others to go along, it could be fun! 

But, before we get to those choices, I am facing the difficult decision of what to bring with me!  I started packing a couple days ago, but this trip poses a few special challenges.

Challenge #1: It’s a Ski Trip
Ski trips require lots of extra gear that you don’t have to bring on most vacations.  This includes skis, poles, boots, winter coats and other warm outer gear and clothing.  We are also bringing my dad’s skis along with ours, and will likely be returning with some of his other gear, as he’s headed straight to Canada for work after our trip.  Skis are probably the hardest challenge.  It took us a while to find the proper size ski bag that was long enough and also big enough to hold three pairs of skis and poles.  After buying the longest one at one store, bringing it home and finding out it wasn’t quite long enough, my dad was finally able to find one that fits everything properly:

I have a boot bag for my boots; Tom does not.  I put my boot bag, stuffed with other winter gear, and Tom’s boots together in a very large duffle.  Fortunately, we are allowed two checked bags each on our flight.  The ski gear takes up two – that means we each get one checked suitcase.

Challenge #2: It’s a Family Trip
What I really mean by this is that my family loves games.  We plan on playing lots of them, as we are sharing lodging and will have lots of hangout time in the evenings and non-ski days.  While our typical games of choice are card games, board games are fun, too.  The only problem is that those take up a lot more space.  I’ve narrowed it down to a select few games, and have removed some of the parts and pieces from their boxes to minimize their space requirements.  Here’s what I’m bringing:

-          2 decks of playing cards
-          Yahtzee (dice and score pad)
-          Blokus
-          Ticket to Ride (European Edition)
-          Curses (just the cards)

Challenge #3: I’m a Woman
Yes, in this instance I am a typical woman and tend to over-pack.  I like to think of it as being prepared.  I don’t know right now what I’m going to want to wear on Wednesday – I don’t even know what we’re doing Wednesday, so I’d better have some options on hand.  Do I need to bring some nice clothes?  What about shoes?  Then don’t forget the toiletries, hair dryer and flat iron – those all take up room.  I also don’t want to be re-wearing stinky ski clothes – and warm clothes are bulky.  Plus, it’s going to be “layering” type weather out there.  So, I’ll need sets of warmer and cooler clothing.  I usually end up making stacks of all of the clothing I’d like to bring – then whittle down each category just a little.  I also stole the nicer/bigger suitcase for this trip.  Sorry, Tom!

Challenge #4: I Just Can’t Carry it All
I thought things were looking good when I realized our tickets came with two checked bags, plus you’re always allowed to bring two carry-ons.  Then I realized that there’s no way I’m going to be able to carry all that – and it probably is overkill.  So, no carry-on suitcase for me this trip.  I’ll bring a backpack and my purse.  Then I should be able to roll my suitcase and the ski boot duffle along with those.  I learned from a few past trips the importance of packing some extra clothes in a carry-on in case of lost luggage.  An extra set of clothes, books, camera, and a few other small items will go in the backpack.  Purse will hold…you know…pursey stuff.

Challenge #5: Medications
I am going to attempt for the first time to bring my Enbrel injection (my weekly medication for rheumatoid arthritis) with me on the airplane.  I realized earlier this week that my Enbrel day is Tuesday.  If I didn’t bring it with me, I’d be almost a week late on getting my next injection, and would likely not be feeling my best for skiing.  Skiing is hard enough on healthy joints, let alone trying to ski with flaring RA joints.  So, I’m going to do my best to feel my best and bring my shot along with me so that I can take it on time.  The main challenge here is getting it through security.  Not only does it contain a needle, the medication is also supposed to be kept refrigerated.  I’m going to pack it in a soft cooler with an ice pack and see what happens.  The best I can tell, the TSA shouldn’t have any problem with my medicine itself.  I am making sure to bring it in the original box with the Rx label.  I’m not sure how friendly they’ll be about the ice pack, though.  It’s not really liquid…and hopefully it’ll still be frozen when we go through.  Oh well, we’ll see what happens.  The meds will be okay, but I’d prefer to have something keeping it cold since I won’t be using it for a few days, and we’ll have a long ways to travel with it still once we land in Denver.  At any rate, this will be a learning experience!

Whew!  After that…I think I’d better get back to packing!  Look for some fun mountainous pictures coming soon!

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Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Copernicus. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!