"Wait, we really have Monday off?"
"Yes we do, company holiday."
That was after a staff meeting and it changed things up quickly last weekend.
What to do … what to do …
"Oh daughter of mine, do we want to go skiing? I do not have to work on Monday."
"Yes, yes, yes, yes!"
Now the strategy: Martin Luther King Jr. weekend is notoriously crowded, so one trick is to balance drive time with vertical with the question of how many runs one can get off the lift ticket.
Plus it was going to start getting cold.
"Don't forget the birthday party on Saturday." Oops. That memo came from the commanding general of the house.
The choice suddenly became obvious: Mount Southington on Sunday night, and it all fell nicely into place.
The drive from Vernon (and from most of Connecticut) is so short you do not even try to time it. It was good enough for a quick trip for dad and a short nap for the 7-year-old.
The crowd was less dense than the daytime so the lines were minimal. Mount Southington had three lifts running anyway to spread everyone out.
Yes, we were sacrificing some vertical by going there, but the 425 feet was advantageous because we were sheltered from the wind, so the entire mountain was being skied without any worries over hiding from gusts.
A mom made eye contact with me on the stars in a lodge.
"Is it icy out there? The kids are all out so I am a little worried."
"It's fine," I said to her. "We have a good grip and we can make any turn we want." That's a credit to Mount Southington's significant commitments over the years to snowmaking and grooming operations.
The same theory applied to every element in the terrain park, though some younger snowboarders seemed to be having a hard time judging the landing on the largest jump, yet the approaches and landings to the boxes and rails were well-maintained and positioned.
Bottom line? Mount Southington is looking great this season, so definitely head over if you are looking for a quick day or night trip. Then again, it has always stood tall among the smaller mountains.