As a Blue Mountain Resort photographer, I captured everything from lift rides, to two “alien” preschoolers shredding down the mountain, to an unbelievable jeep, to yummy gummies, and even a cozy fire at the end. I was able to truly capture not just what these kiddos look like, but who they are and what they love to do! I was even able to cover some preschool snowboarding tips!
Blue Mountain Resort in Palmerton, PA was the perfect place to capture the Macus Family’s snowboarding adventure. This “day in the life” photography session focused on authentic family moments on the slopes. I love photographing a family’s lifestyle. It’s something I do all over, not just at Blue Mountain.
The boys’ alien helmets were well known all over the mountain last year. How cute how they!!?
Our Sixth Photography Session Together!!
It’s been such a pleasure watching this family grow, year after year! I was first introduced to Ashley and Joe when they were looking for an engagement photographer! Since then I’ve photographed their engagement, wedding and both boys’ baby photos!
This time, they were looking to capture winter family fun, teaching the boys to snowboard. Ashley mentioned, “It wasn’t easy with all of the gear and limited preschooler attention spans, but the progress they made and the fun they had made it more than worth it.”
Organized and Ready to Go…
Ashley’s organizational skills did not disappoint! (I’ve known her for like 7 years, remember?) my expectations were pretty high, haha!
When I met these guys in the parkling lot at Blue Mountain Resort, each kid had their own strategically packed snowboarding bag. I love how these photos capture not just what this family looks like, but their lifestyle, too!
Joe, Ashley, Joey & Christian got suited up in the back of their SUV with all their gear and headed out to the slopes! They actually started with some preplanning the night before. They organized and packed the gear, and prepared the food, snacks, and iPad for the drive.
Fearless Boys at Blue Mountain Resort
When the time came for the mountain to open, the boys, in their tiny boots, were ready and couldn’t wait to see a real ski chair lift! Look at them go!
I got down low to get this vantage point, the lodge looks so tall from their little perspectives!
Introducing Preschoolers to Snowboarding
Leading up to their first trip, Joe & Ashley showed the boys videos and talked about chair lift safety, eventually, they bought their gear & took the leap.
Initially, they would go at off times so they could have them slow the lifts, but after a few visits, they got the hang of it!
The kids were excited and couldn’t wait to get on the ski lift ride! Joey paired up with Dad and Christian with Mom.
I love Blue Mountain Resort and actually learned to ski there myself!
As they were lifted up the mountain, I captured a silhouette of them on the ride with the trees in the background and the gorgeous blue sky.
Capturing the Mission, I Mean Motion, haha!
I love to play with different photographic elements to capture unusual things like motion. Here I slowed my shutter and capture the motion blur of the boys hitting the slopes!
Here Joe totally looks like he’s on a mission, right? And Joey looks like he feels so happy and safe:
Spotlight on Joe
Dad is the calm to chaos. He supports everyone and embraces all of Ashley’s crazy ideas to keep the kids happy and entertained. “He is the best daddy rocket ship, giver of the baths, washer of the dishes, and player of freeze tag,” Ashley describes.
Why Blue Mountain Resort?
Ashley shared, “We chose Blue Mountain because we are season pass holders and found it to be the perfect location to teach the boys to snowboard. Throughout the season it quickly became our home away from home, a place we all looked forward to going to.”
She laughed, “The boys would wake up daily asking to go to “the mountain,” even requesting to snowboard on a “bluebird” day.”
OMG that mountain view and purple color!!
Teaching Preschoolers to Snowboard
It took a few visits, but once they mastered getting down the bunny will with Mom and Dad walking behind them, it was finally time for them all to strap in! (Lot harder then it looks!!)
Spotlight on Ashley
Joe shared, “Ashley is the planner and the organizer, the glue that keeps the family and house together. She is the wearer of leggings, lover of running, keeper of the kids, and cooks and cleans on top of it.”
He continued, “Our Snowboarding Adventures started in Nov 2020, as we were yearning for family fun and memories. Hiking season was ending and the weather was turning colder. We always loved snowboarding, but had only just started introducing it to the boys the previous winter (especially with Christian being so young).”
Snowboarding Gear for Tots
So, like any over-organized mom does, she got to researching. She read blogs, joined Facebook groups…ALL THE THINGS! She learned so much about buying the perfect, quality gear for little snowboarders- some of their favorites being the MDXONE snowboard harness, Burton boots, boards, bindings, and riglet reels, and Iksplor wool base layers.
Waving to the camera of this blue mountain resort photographer, haha!
The MDXONE harness is a snowboard-specific harness with bungees, a retractable leash, and a seat harness that made teaching the boys so much easier. The back has a handle for helping the boys up when they fall, the bungee gives them some shock absorption as we help to control them down the mountain, and the seat harness let them completely pick them up by the backpack handle which was essential for getting them on and off the chair lifts (GENIUS!!).
After purchasing the gear, they prepared for the season with the littles by reading books about snowboarding, watched snowboarding videos of kids and adults, and just spent a lot of time talking about the sport and trying on their gear.
Spotlight on Christian
Christian is the wild child- always moving, never stopping, and constantly getting into something. He has a huge personality, makes everyone laugh, is always willing to share his toys, and never forgets to say “tanks” (thanks). During a rare calm moment, you can even find him perfectly nestled and snuggled in under your arm.
Ashley said, “The boys would fall, we would fall, in fact, I even remember once lifting Christian up and over my head so I wouldn’t crash into him, but through it all we laughed and kept the kids having fun.”
So many important life lessons here! I thought of it as I was photographing these guys!! Lessons on resilience, strength, facing challenges… all are so translatable into the real world!
Getting Back Up Again
There were a few dance parties on the mountain that year and a whole lot of singing “Get Back Up Again” from the Trolls movie.
Together they learned and eventually thrived, all while making memories at Blue Mountain Resort in Palmerton, Pennsylvania.
Spotlight on Joey
Joey (Big Bro) is the boss. He is the oldest and leader of the two boys that has an idea and plan for everything.
Ashley laughed, “Joey may or may not have gotten that from his mother… oops!” He is super smart, always smiling, and enjoys playing and trying every sport.
When he is not active and running around, you will hear him asking for movie nights- Moana, Frozen, Lilo and Stitch, and anything Disney is most requested.”
Snowboarding Family Fun
When it comes to enjoying the same hobby as a family, Ashley was elated!
She shared, “It has been such a joy to watch. Joe and I reminisce all the time as to what an amazing season it was watching them learn, develop resilience and determination, and most of all watching them fall in love with something that brings us so much happiness in the winter.”
Posed Portraits, too!
While I spent most of the session focused on capturing the action on the slopes, and everyone’s personalities, I did take some time for posed portraits between the action.
In my experience, this is how you get the most authentic, non-forced family portraits. I love how these shots speak volumes about each family member.
Solid, painless family portraits are definitely my goal as a Blue Mountain Resort photographer :).
Facing Challenges Together
Ashley recalled, “One of the biggest stories that Joe and I look back at this past winter season was the first time we got to the mountain and realized the Vista lift wasn’t running. We were already on the mountain and set to go, so we just decided to embrace it and take the kids 3/4 of the way down the mountain to the next lift.”
She laughed, “It was a lot more terrain for the kids to cover and many, many more turns than they were used to. We may or may not have had to go through quite a few packs of fruit snacks, use up most of our patience, and give quite a few pep talks, but we made it…an hour and fifteen minutes later!!”
Ashley said. (Whew! 😅😅 ) To give some perspective the kids can now make it down this trail in less than ten minutes, haha!
Reflecting Back on a Great Season
Ashley shared, “Even though it was a slow go, we all managed to have fun and motivate each other. The boys cheered for one another & shared snacks. Best of all brought joy to themselves and so many others, all while learning skills that will help them for years to come- perseverance, determination, and a true love of nature and the outdoors.”
Taking a second to take in the peaceful mountain views, I love being a Blue Mountain Resort photographer 🙂
Ashley smiled, “I know they will always cherish this season, the memories, and the joy it brought to our family and the many others that were delighted seeing two tiny aliens shredding down the mountain.”
Gummies are Everything haha!
Ashley described, “The first days and weeks on the slope were filled with fun and just making it a positive experience for the boys. We wanted them to grow to love the sport and not ever make it feel like it was something they were pressured into doing.”
She added, “We would push them between us down gradual hills near the bunny slopes, pull them behind us on the riglet reel, and of course reward with fruit snacks. They loved pretending to be little birds “cheep, cheep,” they would say as we gave them their treats.”
Here I caught Joe getting in on the Fruit Snack reward, too!
What a cozy way to end the night at Blue Mountain Resort, around a cozy fire:
Look how far they’ve come on the map!!
Why Rhinehart Photography?
Ashley shared, “We have always loved and been drawn towards your work: the colors, the perspectives, and the depth. We couldn’t wait to see how you would capture the boys again, now that they are growing and really developing personalities of their own.”
She added, “It also doesn’t hurt that you are always up for a challenge or an adventure and that we always have a great time no matter where or when the shoot is.”
Aw thanks, girl! You are making this Blue Mountain Resort photographer blush! Even though I’m not pictured in this session, you can picture me will just as happy of a smile as Christian:
This Chief is on fire!!
First off, the fire reference is kind of a perfect nod to their red-hot firefighting proposal. When Joe proposed to Ashley he was the fire chief at Cetronia Fire Company in the Lehigh Valley. He actually proposed while over 100 feet up in a bucket truck! More here.
The smiles on these faces made this energy-packed, snow adventure so worth it!!
The kids loved the fire and they ate french fries (mountain food!) while I took Joe and Ashley out for a quick shot alone!
More Family Lifestyle? You’ll love this Trampoline & Horseback Riding family, the McBrides.
More Blue Mountain Resort Photographer Posts? Check out this snowy engagement for these gamers (yes there is Pokemon & Nintendo!)