March 31, 2015
North Country for Spring Break

Spring is in the air!

The kids are out of school and Spring Break is upon us. So, do we head somewhere warm? No! In true Ryan family style we head north to an even colder destination. Lutsen, Minnesota. We have been "vacationing" up north my whole life. We would all pile in the Van (Conversion van, seat belts 12) and drive the short (?) 5 hours to Minnesota's North Shore.

Our schedule was the same every time. Wake up at 7, breakfast, put ski clothes on and have mom  apply the thick, salve onto any and all skin exposed to the elements so we would not get frostbite. (I always wondered, if it's so cold we have to put ointment on our face, maybe we shouldn't be going outside at all?) 

It is usually a balmy -10 when we ski at Lutsen. Does that stop us? I wish it did, but no sadly. My dad would have all eight of us at the top of the mountain so that we could have the first run to ourselves, before any normal people had woken up. This also applied to the last run of the day. We were always the last ones on the lift and then we would wait at the top until everyone else was gone and have the whole mountain to ourselves. Nothing made my dad happier than this, even though we were frozen solid, despite the face salve (so gross).  

I had always swore to myself that I would never, ever make my own family follow this ritual for vacations. Well, here we are today. We love the drive up here, love the skiing and just the feeling Up North gives you. It is quiet, calm and it is just our family together, just like everything my parents loved about it too.

Today, as we get our ski stuff on and head out to ski, a few things have changed. In true Allen family style we head out at 10 am, have lunch at 12 and head to Apres ski at 2. Also, the weather is much warmer than I remember, 20 above. Spring Break indeed! 

Maggie Allen