Over Spring Break we headed to Lutsen which is about 4 1/2 hours north of us and off the shore of Lake Superior. There is a pretty nice skiing area up there that Mike and I thought the kids would enjoy. Mike did ask me though..."is it weird we are going NORTH for spring break...to SKI???" After this incredible winter of snow that wouldn't melt because it was so stinking COLD there was still a lot of snow left up there and Lutsen had extended it's ski season an extra two weeks.
We arranged to leave a day earlier than planned because it looked like rain for the end of our stay. We headed up...in rain. We thought as we went a little further north it would turn to snow. But it didn't and Mike and I just kept wondering if it was going to be a good skiing trip or just a good "hang in the condo" type trip.
It never stopped raining that first day. We weren't scheduled to ski until Tuesday and it started to finally snow sometime Monday night. Then it snowed ALL DAY Tuesday. They actually had almost every mountain shut down. The winds were crazy; it may have even qualified as a blizzard. We tried to go skiing twice when we thought it was slowing down - no luck.
Here's three views from our condo:
Clear Day: Lovely!
Minor snow times...
Luckily we had brought a bunch of games and we were able to keep ourselves occupied for 1 1/2 days of condo sitting.
On Wednesday we were finally able to hit the slopes. The weather was GORGEOUS in the morning. Warm enough but not too warm! It got a little warmer as the day progressed though and by afternoon Mike and I didn't like the snow - very soft and almost slushy. But we skiied until they closed at 4pm.
And the views are awesome. I really love this area of Minnesota. I know the people up here deal with a lot of yucky weather, but I absolutely love just sitting and looking around up there!
We did manage to walk around a little and even went in to Grand Marais to eat some pie - only to find out the place was closed at 2pm. However, Maddie had wanted to get down to Lake Superior so we did manage that - for about 5 minutes. Despite the heat from the day, the lakeshore was COLD!
Thursday was our last day of skiing. It was a little chillier than Wednesday but still really nice. I actually preferred it overall for skiing conditions than Wednesday. We were having a great time and Mike and I decided that we would finish skiing at 3pm. It was an hour before closing, but there was another winter storm coming and we wanted to get on the road.
At 2:30 we went down one of the runs and sort-of split up. It was going to be one of our last runs and each person had a favorite way of getting down. Maddie ended up going through the woods along a short route with tons of little mounds that she and Jake had really liked the day before. Mike and Jake met at the bottom and took off down a forked path. I saw the way they went, but waited for Maddie because I wanted to make sure she went in the same direction. Only she wasn't showing up. I finally started to ski back and my phone rang. It was Maddie crying saying she had fallen and she couldn't move her arm and she'd been trying to call for help but no one heard her.
I got back to her and called Mike to get the ski patrol. She had hit an icy patch on one of the mounds and couldn't get any traction to slow down and had fallen on her left side. The ski patrol arrived and while one bandaged her up, the other went to the top of the run and shut it down because it was decided it was too icy to be open any longer.
The patrols were great with her and so calm. They got her on a snowmobile and headed down just as Mike and Jake had gotten back up to our spot to see how things were going. We were told she needed xrays in Grand Marais and the ER had already been called to expect us.
After a 30 minute torturous drive there and waiting for our turn, we were shown her xray:
Her left clavicle was broken right in the middle.
Maddie wanted to just be home, but that wasn't going to happen. The snowstorm we knew was coming stopped us in Duluth and we managed to get a room but couldn't get our luggage out because of the way things were packed. We all slept in our clothes and Maddie was up about every 45 minutes to try and get more comfortable. The pain meds weren't helping her at all.
Friday morning Mike dug out the truck and we headed home in conditions that weren't great, but passable.
In the cities we went straight to the orthopedic hospital - I'm sure we were a sight. We were still in clothes we'd been wearing for two days and Mike hadn't shaved for probably at least four days; we were a rag-tag bunch. She got a second consult and we were told she would more than likely require surgery because of the space top to bottom of her broken bone. It was unlikely it would heal well, and if it didn't then surgery would be needed, but it would be even more difficult to repair. The surgeon called us that night and we talked the pros and cons over with Maddie and all decided surgery was the better option. Saturday was spent at the hospital.
Mike spent the night in the hospital with her on Saturday. He and Jake had gone to our niece's birthday party and came back followed by my parents. They gave her a little cheering up gift from everyone at the party...
Monday she had a follow-up appointment; I'll spare you the picture of her scar - it's a little rough for anyone squeamish (read: my mom). She ended up losing a little feeling in her upper arm, but she had known that some permanent numbness was going to occur. I think that's been the weirdest part for her to get used to. Her pain management was brought more under control and she's back at school today. She'll be in a sling for at least two weeks and out of phy ed for at least six weeks. The whole arm will take about 3-4 months to fully heal they expect.
This is the scan of her post-surgery. That is the metal plate with the screws holding it in place. It she wants/needs it removed it can be after about a year.
And I'm just going to say...Jake was awesome. He spent about 3 days of spring break sitting in waiting rooms or doctors' offices and never once complained. He was extremely accommodating on all the car rides to get her as comfortable as possible. One doctor joked with him about teasing her and "brotherly love" or something and Jake said, "Eh....I'm nice to her when she doesn't feel great...other than that we occasionally argue."
So...as Maddie posted on Instagram "Lutsen was great...right up until I split my collarbone in half". It was definitely a memorable trip - but all four of us are looking forward to going back next year!