Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Steamboat, 2017

As far as I can tell, children always say they hate ski school. They will say they hate ski school, even if they are laughing when parents pick them up. They will persist with their stories of hating ski school, even as they tell you about the cool trails they went on, the other children in their class, and the extra Gatorade they inhaled at lunch. They hate it, I suspect, because they can't stand the idea of their parents spending the day away from them on vacation.

Parents, of course, must love ski school. Why? Because it costs and arm and a leg. The hope, of course, is that the children will eventually learn to ski well enough that the whole family can ski together, enjoying the same trails. In the interim, parents get to enjoy skiing wherever they want, without worrying about a child falling, getting stuck somewhere, or having to stop and go inside every thirty minutes.

We've had somewhat of a compromise with Connor and Helen for a few years. When we're someplace local, we ski all day with them. The mountains aren't that great and it is fun to watch them become more confident skiers. But when we got out West, we sentence them to at least a few days of ski school.

This year, Ed purchased two days of ski school for each child. Connor and Helen, naturally, complained about their fate. But, the smile on Connor's face after day one is one I hope I remember for a while. He was grinning ear to ear as he announced that he had graduated from level 5 to level 6 - and his teacher confirmed that the whole class was moving up together the next day - and in fact, they'd been on level 6 skills after a couple of hours in the morning.

For the uninitiated - level 6 is the real deal. Black diamonds, trees, moguls - no more dancing around the mountain, just solid skiing. He was actually excited to go back the second day, because I think he senses he is on the edge of freedom from ski school forever.

Helen had, naturally, befriended everyone in her class and was very excited to return on day 2 because one girl in particular was planning to be there. After that, she wasn't too keen on going back because her friend wouldn't be there. Helen made it about halfway through level 5, which means she has skills, but lacks some confidence in execution. Also, unlike Connor who thinks he must go down the mountain the hardest way possible every time, Helen still enjoys cruising down an easy trail.

In the end, two days of school it was.

And what did we get in return?

We got two children who can get down pretty much anything, love taunting me as they ski through trees, and one child (Connor) who looks for the bumps just to show he can do them. But don't worry, even as they threaten to eclipse me on the mountain, I'm still willing to race them occasionally just to show them you gotta be fast to keep up with this old lady!