Saturday, March 6, 2010

Lusten 2010

Last weekend we took our annual trip up to Lutsen for a long weekend. Last year we had nine people and this year we added four new people and Carrie and Jesse couldn't make it so that made our group eleven total people. Patrick and I rode with Ty and Le and David, Jachin & Heather also met at our house, so we headed up north together.

My brother Luke is a freshman at UMD in Duluth so we were thinking of stopping to see him on the way there or on our way home. I texted him as we got to Duluth and he was around, so we all made our way to the UMD campus to see Luke. Everyone went up to his dorm room except Heather who was trying to find a quiet area in a college dorm on a Friday afternoon to call back about a new job offer. We chatted with Luke and his friends for awhile. We almost lost Jachin to the college dorm life: playing video games all day long only to take a break to eat mac and cheese out of same bowl you use for every meal.

We left UMD and by this time Kate and Shanna were probably ahead of us in route to Lutsen. We decided to take the scenic route to Two Harbors and somehow two cars full of seven people managed to miss three large signs saying detour ahead. Eventually when there was a big sign in the middle of the road saying road closed and we were forced to turn around. Kate and Shanna were in Two Harbors by then so we met up with them there and headed to Gooseberry Falls together.

Most of us had never been to Gooseberry in the winter, so we thought it would be fun to stop and see the falls in the winter. Well, some of us should have been a little more prepared in the shoe department. You don't really think about proper shoes when you plan on spending a majority of the weekend in your ski boots. Here is Kate attempting the icy stairs at Gooseberry. She did make it down all in one piece, although I think even the people that stopped at the bathroom on the way beat her down the stairs.

Kate Sliding Down Gooseberry Stairs

Here are a couple pictures of Gooseberry Falls in the winter. Patrick and I stopped at Gooseberry on our way home from Grand Marais last summer and it was kind of neat to see how different the falls are in the winter.

Winter Gooseberry

After a stop at Sven & Ole's carry out pizza location in Tofte we finally arrived at Caribou Highlands our resort on the Lusten Mountains. We stayed in a Poplar Ridge Home this year and it was really nice. Last year we stayed in a townhouse and the space was much older and smaller. Our Poplar Ridge Home was three stories with 2500 square feet of living space. The main living area was very nice with a nice sized kitchen, a large dining table for 12 and a decent sized living room with a flat screen television, perfect for watching the rest of the Olympics. The home was decorated in cabin decor. Here are some of the cabin details.

Caribou Highlands Details

Caribou Highlands Lodge

Saturday was our first day of skiing, so we tried to get up and ready fairly early to go get our lift passes and rentals for those who were renting skis. We didn't end up getting out to ski until at least 10am and we went back to the cabin to eat lunch at 1pm. By the time we got back out skiing it was already close to 2:30, so that didn't leave much time before the lifts close at 4:30. A group of skiers only made it down a couple times because of some wipeouts at Moose Mountain. It was so warm skiing that we had to take multiple layers off at our lunch break. It had to have been at least 35 degrees out that day.

Here is Elysia and Nick on Ullr Mountain getting ready for a run down Big Bunny.

Skiing Day 1

And Kate and Jachin on the Ullr chair lift and Patrick on Eagle Mountain getting ready to conquer Charlotte's Web.

Skiing Day 1

Here we all are after our lunch break. The skiers: Elysia, Sara, Patrick, Jachin, Heather, David, Kate & Le. The snowboarders: Nick, Shanna & Ty.

The Group on the Slopes

That night me, Patrick, Shanna, Le & Ty took a sleigh ride through Cascade State Park. It was a great night for a ride through the woods. It wasn't too cold and the banjo player kept us entertained throughout the ride. Shanna even met a friend, an 18 month old boy who was more interested in sitting on her lap than on his mom's lap.

Sleigh Ride Group

Sleigh Ride

And of course I can't add a post to this blog without including something food related. For the trip I did all the meal planning and grocery shopping. We had Baked Ziti for dinner on Saturday night and Mexican Lasagna on Sunday night. We also had pancakes for breakfast on Saturday and two different kinds of Egg Strata on Sunday. I am pretty behind on my recipe posts, too much Olympic watching probably, but I plan on posting the recipes for these meals eventually.

Lutsen Food

Our second day of skiing was pretty uneventful. Patrick, David & I took on the double black diamonds of Eagle Mountain, but no Plunge. Heather conquered Mystery Mountain, next year she will be ready for Moose, maybe even the feared Plunge. Kate and Shanna didn't end up skiing or snowboarding, but they did go on a snowshoeing adventure up Ullr Mountain. Here I am on Mystery Mountain and the view of Eagle Mountain from Mystery.

Skiing Day 2

That night after we were done on the slopes we watched the US lose to the Canadians in the gold medal game of men's hockey. Then we ate dinner, played a couple games including Bummer and a couple intense games of spoons.


Then came the Olympic competitions. The competitions included Alpine Cabin Racing, Sumo Wresting, Table Sliding, Strongest Man and Most Flexible. Below are the participants in our pregame photos with random cabin accessories.

Olympic Participants

The next day we had to head back home, but before we left we took a group picture at the Caribou Highlands Olympic Podium.

From left to right: me, Patrick, Jachin, Ty, Elysia, Nick, Heather, Le, Shanna, Kate & David.

Olympic Ceremonies

It was great to get away for a few days and enjoy winter. We all had a great time and I hope we continue the annual tradition of a long weekend at Lutsen.

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