Elk Avenue in Crested Butte CO

Mel seems to be rebounding from her fall and disappointment during the Junior Extremes qualifying run down a terrifyingly steep slope. Everyone has been telling her it’s a lot better to give your all than to not try. That she didn’t succeed just goes with the territory. It helps when she learns a lot of other kids fell on the same run. I’m gratified that she’s feeling better — and that she wasn’t hurt. My nephew and his wife, Chris and Lauren Yemma and my husband Andy, meanwhile have arrived.

And Mel’s big sister Reggie has driven back from school to offer moral support. We figure a little shopping therapy is in order so we head down the mountain three miles to the historic town of Crested Butte.

I don’t think there could be a more picturesque ski town with multi-hued Victorian buildings dating back to the town’s mining days. There are all kinds of restaurants — we stop of at Pitas in Paradise for lunch — but could have opted for sushi, Mexican, omelets, or sandwiches. The town may only have 2000 people but there are more than 30 restaurants. We meander down Elk Avenue dropping in to a shoe store, a jewelry shop, a store selling beads and another selling sunglasses. We look at tee shirts and ski clothes. The prices aren’t outrageous — in fact there are some bonafide bargains. And everyone is unfailingly friendly. Crested Butte is a real community — we sit next to moms at lunch toting two infants in carriers; we see another woman with her easel set up painting. People are walking their dogs and hauling toddlers in sleds. There are more locals than tourists, I think. I don’t see one fur coat.

One of my favorite parts of ski vacations is everyone gathered together for a hearty meal. Tonight it’s spaghetti, meat sauce and garlic bread. I’ve even made a birthday cake (albeit from a mix) for Mel — and to cheer her up. It’s nothing fancy but we’ve got plenty of wine and we’re having a good time together. That’s what really counts on any trip, I think, no matter how old the kids.