Christmas 2012 Vegas Trip + Snowboarding

Vegas Trip Palazzo

From December 23-25, I went on the second Vegas trip of winter break, this time to spend Christmas with my family and some family friends. The day after Christmas, I went with some friends from church to snowboard at Snow Valley. This is the recap, and I’ll try to highlight some of the more memorable events from the trips.

Vegas Day 1, December 23 – Checked in at Aria, one of my favorite resorts in Vegas. A family friend of ours usually stays at Aria over the holidays, and since they were living in a nicely-sized SkySuite, they invited us to join them. And wow, was the suite nice. Living room, dining room, two master bedrooms, fancy bathrooms, wall-sized windows, and stylish furnishing all around. Definitely not a bad place to stay while in Vegas. That afternoon, my roommate James texted me telling me he was in Vegas too, so we decided to meet up at the Venetian shops, where he invited my family to join their family for a nice Italian dinner at the Palazzo. Wine and authentic Italian food, anyone?

Vegas Day 2, December 24 – We took our family friend’s daughter to New York New York to ride the Manhattan Express roller coaster (love the full loop followed by the barrel roll) and play some arcade games. We won a decent amount of tickets because I coordinated everyone to drop in multiple quarters for the quarter game (that’s the secret to getting tons of tickets). The two families had quite an adventure trying to find a restaurant in Aria for Christmas Eve dinner, without a prior reservation. We walked around for quite a bit, realizing that most wait times were 2 hours long. Luckily, we finally found an American cafe-style restaurant with a 20 minute wait for SkySuite guests. Steak for the win.

Vegas Day 3, December 25 – What better way to start off Christmas than with an all-you-can-eat brunch at Aria’s Buffet? Stuffed myself silly with delicious food of every variety – from prime rib to Chinese. Topped everything off with cheesecake and cookies ‘n cream gelato. Afterward, I played with the baby son of our family friend. He’s barely past 1 but he’s the smartest baby I’ve met. We tossed around a slinky for a bit and he proceeded to build a pillow fort on the bed. Later, I went to the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace with my mom, and I made a mad dash to buy my mom a Christmas gift while she was window shopping at another store. She loves the gift – mission accomplished. We drove back that night, beating out post-Christmas Day traffic, and it was a peaceful end to a wonderful and memorable trip!

Snowboarding Trip, December 26 – Woke up around 5 AM and managed to make it to my friend’s house by 5:30. With only a quick detour to put on some snow chains along the way, we arrived at Snow Valley a little past opening time. We have the entire day to the slopes, and the best part? Fresh, powdery snow and absolutely no crowds. I warmed up on the bunny slope (we had several first-timers in our group), and pretty soon, we were on the medium slopes. Still, that wasn’t quite enough, and as soon as Lift 1 opened, we were on our way up to the highest part of the mountain. That first ride down was pure bliss. Clean, untouched powdery snow – smooth ride all the way down. Wow, what a feeling. We took a couple hours for some of the best spaghetti lunch and a quick nap, and were on our way back to the slopes for a couple more hours of Lift 1 riding. This trip, I didn’t fall as much, and my carving was a lot smoother. All in all, I had a blast, and it was nice getting some good exercise and fresh air.

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