I learned to downhill ski in Arizona. Yes, there’s snow in Arizona – it’s up north. I learned at Snowbowl in Flagstaff (of Route 66 fame) – with my family. We still have a lot of laughs over those early skiing days. We took a family lesson, and my father tried to correct us kids, showing us what to do, even though we had an instructor there. Let me add that my father was also a beginner, with no more experience than us.
We soon switched to separate lessons. And we finally learned how to get three of us off the lift without falling into a pile.
After college I moved to California and was fortunate to have Lake Tahoe relatively close, spending many a ski weekend with coworkers and friends, and eventually my husband – at the various mountains there.
The kids took their first ski lessons at Bear Valley, in California. My son was so wiped out he fell asleep during snack time and they didn’t dare wake him for his second lesson. That one day of skiing taught us something important. If you’re going to learn to ski, you should immerse yourself for a few days to do it. And then keep it up.
A few years later, we moved to New Jersey and took advantage of the odd-President’s Day week vacation (we don’t usually get the week off). We headed up to Vermont for a week at Smuggler’s Notch, and enrolled the kids in class.
By the time we were ready to leave, my daughter was making it down the green runs with ease, and even some blue runs. My son was still struggling to turn, but we had hope.
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Though we waited another two years, we made it back to the slopes and the kids hadn’t forgotten what they learned. During an excellent ski day at Shawnee in Pennsylvania, the kids were skiing with relative ease – even turning with no problem .
This year we’re heading to Keystone Resort, a Colorado mountain that focuses on family skiing and family fun. We’ll post more on that later.
My point in all this is to encourage you to get your kids on skis. It’s a great skill to have, providing them with a fun way to enjoy the outdoors and see areas they can’t see on their own two feet. There’s no need to be an expert skier. Just having proficiency is enough. All the better if you can enjoy it as a family, sharing the lifts and stories of your runs. But even if you can’t (or won’t) ski, let the kids try it. They’ll be excited to learn something new and you give them skills they can take with them as they grow.
I know it’s just September, but it’s time to think about those winter ski trips. It’s Back to Ski time! See how others are getting their families into skiing with this great round-up of ski posts on Mother of All Trips.