You know something is wrong when your hotel room is larger than your apartment. And has better appliances.
Since we were guests of Big Sky Resort in Montana (full disclosure: they paid most of the hotel and most of our basecamp activities) we were given the kind of room that I will likely never stay in again. Not a room, exactly, but an 1800 square foot apartment with 2.5 baths, a fireplace, granite countertops, high end GE appliances, three flat screen tv’s, and a commanding view of the mountains and the plaza just below.
It was all I could do not to send for the dog and install myself there forever. (Though, I might point out, dogs are welcome at Big Sky Resort.)
Another reason we weren’t roughing it was the staff. All young, all fit, all remarkable white and straight of tooth. (Seriously – orthodontists have perfected their craft. I seldom see someone between the ages of 18-25 without perfect, straight teeth.) And all endlessly enthusiastic and nice. (and not because they knew it was a press trip. They didn’t.)
Imagine a hotel fully staffed by camp counselors and you’ll get the vibe. My kids were in heaven. Oddly, the only person who wasn’t particularly friendly was the concierge, who, upon my asking whether or not I was in the right place to check in looked at me like I was a moron and pretty much scoffed “well, I’m the concierge.” Sorry, lady. I didn’t realize there was a front desk hierarchy and I had violated it.
All was forgiven, though, when this was the view out my window (it’s a sunrise view, but poetic license allows me to put it in here, though we arrived at night.)
Our first full day, we left the resort to go whitewater rafting. But the next day was full of activities that never required us to leave the resort.
Here’s a recap of some of our adventures at basecamp:
Bungee Trampoline: Wherein the Children Give me a Heart Attack
Sounds innocent enough. You harness up, strap yourself on to two looooong pieces of elastic, and get jumping on a trampoline. Only this thing is HIGH. Very, very high. And my children felt the need to do flips. And then double flips.
. I’d advise one of the following:
1. If you want your kids to try it, go when we did – mid-August. The place is virtually – and inexplicably – do people not know how gorgeous it is here? – empty.
2. If you don’t want your kids to try it, go Big Sky in July, when I’m told that kids wait up to 90 minutes for a turn. Maybe your kids won’t have the patience, and you won’t have to clench your knuckles so tightly around the arms of the chair they put out for parents that they need to call security to pry you loose.
Giant Swing: Wherein the Children Scare Themselves Silly
They climb a staircase, to a height of 30 feet, then jump off.
Or course they are strapped in and sitting on a swing. But there is that moment, before the cables kick in, when your children will feel confident the thing has failed, and that they are going to die.
Ziplining: Wherein Yours Truly Hangs Upside-down on a Cable Suspended 50 feet Above the Ground
Three ziplines, three opportunities for the wildly enthusiastic and energetic 20 something guides have properly attached you to the cable that will otherwise plunge you to a certain, painful, death.
You know you’re in trouble when the 10 minute hike to the starting point has you winded. (there is that pesky 7500 ft elevation, but still.)
But you chance it, and well, a picture is worth…
We took a beautiful hike, too. Though the uphill part is tough — did I mention the altitude (local tip: drink a lot of water), but worth it for the views:
There was also archery, and mountain biking, mini golf on the plaza, scooters for rent and (though the season had just ended when we arrived) Skeet shooting. And of course the hot-tub, the pool, and the spa, which alas, I missed. All without ever getting into the car.
It’s amazing we survived to go off-site excursions. More on that tomorrow.