Ovindoli, Abruzzo, ItalyMy kids had a week of school vacation in February and they wanted to go skiing, and I was happy to exchange the office for the ski slopes for one glorious week.

There’s something special about escaping the city to take temporary residence in the mountains.

Our mountain escape of Ovindoli, in the region of Abruzzo just east of Rome, received plenty of snow during our week there.

The slopes are quite crowded on the weekends, but Monday to Fridays in Abruzzo are pretty quiet.

Ovindoli, Abruzzo, ItalyMy kids and I got up early to be on the slopes for the 8:30 AM opening time, and more often than not we were blessed with fresh powder on the slopes as we were the first ones to make tracks in that freshly fallen snow. The crowds started coming later in the day, but we never had long lift waits.

Both of my sons started skiing at three years of age, and I can remember how tough it was to ski with them between my knees as they got the hang of it. Later, when they became more independent, I’d ski behind them to help out when they fell.

Now, years later, I let them race down the mountains at lightening speed, while I take the slopes at a more leisurely pace.

During our week in Abruzzo, we didn’t enjoy those days of bright blue skies and dazzling sunshine we often experience on these slopes.

Ovindoli, Abruzzo, ItalyThere was a lot of snowfall during our days there, and many days visibility was only a few meters, but every day it was a pleasure to be out on the slopes from when the gondolas opened for the day to when they shut down.

As someone who spends far too much time behind her computer or sitting in meetings, there is a real sense of accomplishment as I ease into a warm bath to pamper sore muscles at the end of each day. By each morning, I was well rested and ready to hit the trails again for another day.

My kids and I left our mountain perch knowing this will probably be our last skiing outing of the year, but our week of slopes, snow and exhausting exercise makes our return to school, the office and the rhythms of city life a little less daunting.

Soon enough, we’ll be back to enjoy those same slopes for hiking and mountain biking … but we’ll look forward to another round of skiing next year.

Ovindoli, Abruzzo, Italy

Ovindoli, Abruzzo, Italy