Wednesday, March 09, 2011
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Practically everyone we know skis or snowboards. It seems to be something that people who live around here do. Lake Tahoe and all the amazing ski resorts are just 4 hours' drive away. Our school district even has 3 or 4 days set aside for a "winter break" so that families can go on their ski trips. Like many families here, we also love to drive up to Tahoe for a short winter getaway, but the only winter activities we would engage in would be sledding, snowball throwing and snowman building.
For the past 2 years or so, we've taken the kids to Soda Springs, a small ski resort with a kids' snowplay area. For 25 bucks kids can enjoy sledding, little snow carousels (with snow saucers that go round and round), and skiing or snowboarding on a small slope with a magic carpet. The kids have loved it, but this winter they outgrew the little bunny slope.
You see our dilemma. Sure, we could sign them up for lessons -- but what happens after that? Do we just send them off into and let them hop on the ski lifts on their own while we wait at the lodge? The only solution we were comfortable with was to take lessons right along with them.
By the way, when I said "comfortable", I mean "scared silly". I've always wanted to be a skier; unfortunately, my deep-seated fear of speeding downhill makes that kind of difficult. The last time I skied was 15 years ago, and I can count the number of times I've been skiing with one hand. The most I ever did was an easy blue run (I buried the memory because it was so traumatic), and it's not like I'm in the best shape of my life! Alfie, as I mentioned, has never strapped a pair of skis on in his life, and fifty-something is not exactly and ideal age to start skiing. The ground, even though it's nice and powdery, seems so far away when you're a grownup, and your bones seem so fragile.
But we decided it was time to try. I tell you, this is proof that a parent's love can move mountains -- or in our case, ski down mountains with our hearts in our throats.
I'm not sure what I expected. I knew we wouldn't learn as quickly as the kids, but I was hoping we'd pick up enough to maybe survive an easy green run with them. I wasn't expecting to go down the slopes without falling every few feet, I was just hoping I wouldn't twist, pull or break anything. One thing at a time. There's always next year, right?
To my utter surprise and delight, I picked it up fairly quickly. I actually remembered what I had learned so long ago, and after a tense first 10 minutes, I was able to go down a green slope with little difficulty or fear. I even did a blue run! I'm still quite nervous, but I'm even more nervous about my kids going down these runs without us, so . And I have to say, it's so much fun with the kids there.
Even more amazingly, Alfie picked it up just as quickly as I did -- this, from a middle-aged man who has never skied in his life! And he loved it! He told me he could never understand why skiers go out and ski the whole day (how boring is that??), but after we skied for 2 hours the first day, then 4 hours the next day, and given sufficient tea-and-chocolate breaks he admits he could totally be out on the slopes the whole day. He admits he was pretty nervous, but like me, after the first 10 minutes he was pizza and french-frying down the hill with The Pea, 3Po, Jammy and me. He's already starting to do parallel turns! Unlike me, he's a speed junkie, so I'm counting the ski trips until he surpasses me in speed and skill.
I'm so happy that Alfie and I were able to swallow our fears, went out of our comfort zone and tried something new. I'm not saying I'll be going down double-diamond runs anytime soon (I'm speaking for myself, of course; the boys had little difficulty snowboarding down the blue run, and The Pea is leaving us all in the dust), but we're already looking at other resorts where we can practice our newfound skills, try out some different green runs, maybe even tackle another blue. It's so great to have another activity that the whole family can enjoy together. Bring on the powder!
Disclosure: This is a compensated post. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.