We haven't flown as a family in about 2 years. Last trip was to Swiss back in 2011, and since then we've gained a family member. This was a family that NEEDED a vacation, for sure. Overdue. At some point in February of this year, Anthony (ScarletArrow) emailed me saying they had an opening in their Florida guys-only ski trip. In talking with my wife about it we realized that her parents would be staying at their place in Venice, FL during that same timeframe. We could all go down to Venice for the week as a family, and I could peel off for a couple days with the Ohio guys and ski. Maybe in Orlando, maybe in West Palm Beach, maybe both. It would be an adventure.
Beth also wanted to ski at least once while we were down there, so with a little googling I found McCormick's ski school, just outside of Tampa at the intersection of I-4 and I-75. One hour north of Venice. With that, I packed her ski gear in with mine into our amazing and road-proven Dakine Ski Bag. We could do a quick day-trip to McCormick's so Beth could ski, and so that I could get a head start on muscle soreness and recovery before peeling off on the guy's trip later that week.
Had a great plane ride (Thanks, United, loved the Economy Plus), picked up the mini-van rental (60.00 each for 2 car seats- we'll bring them next time, by the way). Drove to Venice, settled in, and on the 2nd day there we drove up to McCormick's.
I had no idea what McCormick's would be like, but it was the typical ski site scene and we were very comfortable there. The Morgan family was there—Mike and his two daughters (I think?). Mike McCormick was quick to greet us and welcome us to the site. The protocol was very low-key— pay for your sets, put your skis in line, ski. The dock area was nice and we had a picnic lunch right there.
Grandma and Grandpa took care of the 2 kids on the dock while Beth and I skied. Nice Nautique 200 (they had 2 including an Andy Mapple Edition) and a very stiff head/tail wind. I pre-purchased 2 sets. My skiing was pretty rough. I felt weak, out of shape, and separated the whole time. I could barely complete a pass at 32mph/15. Still, first time ever skiing in February, so I wasn't expecting much. Mike McCormick was driving and had some great pointers. I was impressed. I was letting up too early out of the 2nd wake and losing too much speed by the time I got to the ball. It's been a long-time issue with my skiing.
Beth skied one set, and when she settled back into the water on the first pass she said "I forgot how fun this is!". I love hearing stuff like that on the boat.
As we were hanging out on the dock, Chris Parrish and Nate Smith wandered in. They had just come from Acapulco and the Waterski Dream Week & tournament and Nate was going to drive his truck back to Indiana the next day. Guess they were going to ski a bit at McCormick's as well. I chatted briefly with both of them and snapped a pic of Nate on the dock. As usual, both of them were great to talk to and very down to earth. CP seemed extremely excited about his new AM ski.
Anthony and I will be putting out several posts describing the rest of the trip, which was just one amazing thing after another with the Bellalago Boys in Orlando (which occurred a couple days after our sets in Seffner). STAY TUNED!