At the end of Dec of 2019, 16 members of our Four Winds Club went up to Minneapolis to ski/ride and watch our Chicago Bears play the Minnesota Vikings in Minnesota's beautiful indoor stadium. This was a similar trip to the one we ran in Dec of 2018, as a scheduling quirk meant the Bears concluded their regular season 2 years in a row playing in Minneapolis.
The trip started pretty normally, with everyone driving up to the hotel on Friday night with no issues. We were watching the weather report for the weekend, and while it didn't look ideal (lots of rain with near-freezing temperatures), it didn't seem that out of the ordinary (especially for Minnesota).
Well......on Saturday morning, we all woke up to our complimentary hot breakfast at the hotel, and some of us tried to load our cars with our gear to go skiing. Unfortunately, there was a thick layer of ice on the ground, and even getting to our cars was like walking on a frozen pond. Still, I (ignorantly) thought, this is Minnesota, they must be used to dealing with this kind of weather, right? Thankfully, one of our newer members called the ski resort ahead of time, and they said they were going to be closed until at least 11 am.
So....with this newfound time to kill waiting for the roads to clear and the resort to open, we all hung around the hotel breakfast area and chatted. Russ's group (which wasn't planning on skiing that day anyways), headed out to Mall of America (about 15 min away). They got about a 1/2 block away from the hotel, did a 360 in their SUV, and came back and decided to wait it out, as the ice was turning to slush as the temperature rose, salt trucks finally started appearing, and the rain continued.
Before we knew it, the resort had posted that they were going to be closed the entire day. I guess none of their workers could get to work either. So now, we had to get creative. By noon, the roads had become safe again and were just mushy (not unlike what we see here in Chicago often in the winter). At this point, all the groups headed out to different adventures or stayed at the hotel for some R&R.
Our newest members' group went to a nerf war place, and Ben and I tagged along. I was a little surprised how much fun we had, and how much we exerted ourselves (time for a better workout program), and by the end, I think we were all pretty exhausted. Russ's group made it to Mall of America and checked out a few things they didn't get a chance to do there on last year's trip, like visit the aquarium there.
That night, we had our pizza party at the hotel, and played games and hung around talking.
Sunday morning, it was game time for most of us, as we got to the stadium for the Bears/Vikings game. While it was unfortunate that the game was not as meaningful as last year's, we all still enjoyed the great stadium and a competitive game. Lots of kicking (8 field goals between the 2 teams), and a rare safety (which turned out to be the difference in the score), and in the end, the Bears prevailed 21-19.
After the game, we all took the light rail back to Mall of America, and most of us spent some time visiting Mall of America one last time (this time including some rides in the amusement park there).
Monday, all the groups headed home, with my group stopping at Welch Village for some skiing on the way home. One thing about ski trips, especially these short weekend ones, the weather is always a wildcard, but everyone still had a good time, and we got to spend time with our fellow club members.