It was fun to see the girls so young and wide-eyed at the world around them. There was so much joy with every new adventure. We had done so much when they were little! Road trips, beach trips, museums, snow days — and all kinds of stuff. I was teary-eyed and wished out loud that we do more of those again. My husband and I had both gotten so busy that most of our travel plans last year had gotten shelved or pushed back.
Much to my bewilderment and surprise, it didn’t take him too long to act on it. It all happened over lunch and coffee with friends, who were talking about their winter and ski vacations. In a matter of hours, he had us driving up the mountain to Snow Valley Mountain Resort for our very first family ski trip.
It was such a whirlwind plan (if you can even call it that), and it was a shock to my system. The careful planner in me needs time to process and work out little details and pack for contingencies. But this — this was a blur. My head began to spin because after the holiday bustle, I had imagined a relaxing weekend at home. Instead, I found myself in a daze scrambling for (ill-fitting) snow pants for myself (I had 5 minutes before the store was going to close), and gloves and helmets for the girls. They on the other hand were wide-eyed with excitement and squealing with delight.
Skiing was never in my vocabulary to begin with (I was raised in a tropical country, can you blame me?), and growing up I never took ski trips with my family. My husband on the other hand, had good memories of ski vacations and he’s been wanting the kids to learn. Plus, we were told it’s best to start them young (which is something I now believe).
Our friends had been inviting us to go with them too, but I’d always been hesitant to thrust my ever-so tentative Jamie in a high adventure, active sport that involved cold and falling. One bad experience could ruin it for her, so I wanted to wait another year or so.
And yet, there we were — at a ski resort.
We rented skis and boots and enrolled the kids in ski school, where they spent the whole day with trained instructors. The fee included meals for them too. After dropping them off, technically we only saw them again to pick them up at the end of the day.
Days later, sore and still in shock from the flurry of events (pun intended), I am trying to process it all — as I do with most of our new and exciting adventures.
I cannot say that I would spontaneously plan a trip like that in a matter of hours, and while I had many apprehensions, I’m glad I kept them to myself and have learned to just “roll with it.” Coach Pia once said that kids don’t come with fears and anxieties. Whether we mean to or not, we pass it on to them and they learn it from us, their parents.
I was very conscious about this and careful about not putting my anxiety out there for my kids to tap into. Jamie is a very sensitive soul, and like me, stresses about unknown variables and events we can’t control. Thankfully enough, without much fuss she suited up, walked into ski school, and was fine! I had to hang around for a little while until she gave me a thumbs up, but I was pleasantly surprised to see she was enjoying herself — and doing well at that.
By the end of the day, she learned to go through rainbow hoops and swish from side-to-side. She could dodge snowballs while staying upright too. She didn’t cry when she fell, and while she was exhausted, she said she definitely wanted to do it again. I’m very proud of her.
Sam, my adventure-seeking peacock was no surprise. I knew she’d love it, but I was still pleasantly surprised at how much she picked up in a day. She was going down the bigger slope with the adults, jumping and twisting from side to side. My husband took a video of her on her last run down the mountain. I have to admit I thought she was pretty cool!
I’d definitely recommend ski school, especially for novices like ourselves. It guarantees they’d have a good time while learning ever so quickly and staying safe.
I was impressed, but as her mother watching Sam go at a speed faster and further beyond my reach, my heart was in my throat the whole time. My young adventurous scuba-diving, bungee jumping heart is not what it was.
But again I kept it to myself, and rolled with it… literally and figuratively. I was glad for it too, because the kids had a wonderful first experience and are asking to do it again.
Ironically enough, I on the other hand had a painfully entertaining one.
Against my friends’ advice to get ski lessons myself, my husband took it upon himself to be my teacher. That didn’t quite work out. Remember: tropical country + no previous ski /skating experience + anxiety over unknown variables + old age = (comedic) disaster. It’s true, it’s harder to teach an old dog new tricks.
I think I fell more than I skied. It’s why I’m so sore in places I never expected to be. And that slope Sam went on five times? I was only able to go up once. I barely made it down.
I give props to my husband for being so patient and encouraging (even if he was laughing at my expense), and for attempting to be a good instructor. 😉 Ultimately I think he was just glad that after seventeen years, he was finally able to get me on skis.
And I must give myself props for trying too, in spite of all my preconceived notions and fears. There was nothing else to do but laugh at myself and my misfortunes — another skill I’ve developed in my old(er) age. Man, those ill-fitted snow pants definitely came in handy.
Over all it was not a completely horrible experience. I may not have had the best time, but I did love that the rest of my family had an awesome one. If there’s one thing I learned about parenthood, we do things well outside our comfort zone for the benefit of our kids. And this entire experience was miles beyond my comfort zone!
I find myself thinking that if only for those reasons, I would keep trying until I could ski with them (no matter how slow I may be). With the proper instruction, and better ski pants, maybe it won’t be so awkward and so hard the next time around. Hopefully one day, I’d be able to say we learned a new sport as a family and it’s something we can enjoy together as they get older. 🙂