The smaller thrills of skiing
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k_alice
January 2, 2006
Member since 11/22/2005 🔗
92 posts
There are lots of posts on this website about the technique and thrills of advanced skiers, but sometimes those of the most novice skiers are just as exciting for those involved...

Last week we invited friends to join us at Wintergreen for a few days. (We were up there despite the questionable weather, since our older son had ski practice every day.) This is the third year our friends had come to Wintergreen, and each year their kids (now 6 and 9) had managed to do little more than struggle down the slope, generally clinging to me. This year, their hopes were not much higher for their daughter (the 9-year-old) given that she is not particularly athletic and generally lacks confidence in her own athletic skills. However, this was the year that something clicked. I started out holding Laura's hand, mostly just for confidence. Within a half hour, she was turning by herself, and could hold a solid snow plow (or pizza wedge, as she still says). The progress in that first hour was amazing! She wanted to stay out for night skiing so she could show her dad how well she was doing, and by the end of the evening, she was passing her mom on the slopes (her mom being an inexperienced, yet enthusiastic skier). I can't explain how happy our friends were with their daughter's success. I understand, though, I remember when our kids made the transition from clinging to independent skiers, and it's indeed a thrill.

Our boys can now ski the Highlands at WTG with ease, which brings another kind of satisfaction, but I'm not sure it's better than that first day, when your kids make their first turns.
jimmy
January 4, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
k_alice, thanks, it doesn't matter whether the thrill is that you just linked two turns for the first time, maybe skied timber run from top to bottom without falling, once u feel that rush, smile that smile you are a skier , newb, beginner, expert or whatever, we are all the same, we are skiers! I know you were thinking of younger folks when you posted this, my first day on ski's, thanks pwillysim, came at the tender age of 37. Feel the rush, smile the smile........i still enjoy spending the day on the trails with my wife or chasing Paul down thunderstruck; if you're fortunate enough as i have been to be able to regularly ski with someone better than you, just don't forget to return the favor. Way to Go!

Thanks
Crush
January 4, 2006
Member since 03/21/2004 🔗
1,010 posts
k_alice - murrraahahahahahaha! We have you now .... another bunch of snowsport addicts! Welcome to the dark side .... you all will never be normal again!
Rickh
January 4, 2006
Member since 12/2/2004 🔗
140 posts
K_Alice,

I have two boys (10 & 7) that have been skiing for the better part of three years. I know exactly what you are talking about and feeling. As stated by Jimmy and Crush you your friends and families are now hooked. Welcome...

Here is what you have to look forward too. "Dad let's go to the terrain park and land some jumps". Or, "let's go do the whales on Off the Wall" or "bust one down The Drop".

Fun to watch, scary as a parent, rewarding as a lover of the sport. I now have my boys with me on any slope I want to take. Mom trys to keep up, but she likes the nice blue cruisers.

IT'S THE GREATEST THING FOR THE FAMILY!!!!!
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k_alice
January 4, 2006
Member since 11/22/2005 🔗
92 posts
Yep, sounds familiar. My 7-year-old already begs to go down the terrain park, on each lift ride he tries to negotiate permission to take bigger jumps and longer rails. As far my 9-year-old son is concerned, we can barely catch him. Skiing is one of the few sports where kids can really keep up with - or even pass - their parents. Yep, I'm addicted. Why else would I be checking DCSki from work?

As far as our friends are concerned, I was just as surprised as they were that their skinny, unathletic daughter could catch on so well. Maybe she was just unathletic until now. When she climbed in our car on Tuesday to carpool to school her first question was "So, um, when are we going to Wintergreen again?"
kwillg6
January 4, 2006
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,030 posts
k alice....you are one of us! It's the thrill of getting better and enjoying winter for what it should be...FUN! I can "geez" about how my son, now an experienced ski racer and coach first took to Mommy and Daddy's sport and soon surpassed us in both skill and thrill. It's addictive. I still like to ski with those of higher ability than mine to make my skiing better, and it works! Enjoy!
tgd
January 4, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
I have written plenty (maybe too plenty) on DCSki about my own adventures with my daughter's introduction to this great sport. In her first two seasons we saw her progress from sliding while held between my legs (oh my aching back!) - season 1, to skiing on her own on Tline's green terrain - season 2, to skiing all of the blues at Timberline and skiing all day long - last week. She is 4 1/2 now. I not only see how much she enjoys it, but also see her challenge and push herself to improve - without parental urging. when she falls, she'll cry a little but then she gets up, pushes daddy out of the way and points em' downhill. She is now talking about the black diamonds at Tline but dad is not ready for her make that jump yet. Skiing with little ones is a great opportunity to see them learn, develop, and master a sport close up. They make pogress so fast. I maybe have this season and next before she is skiing me into the snow.
tgd
January 4, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
Quote:

...I know you were thinking of younger folks when you posted this, my first day on ski's, thanks pwillysim, came at the tender age of 37....




Hey Jimmy - I came late to the sport also, didn't start until I was 32. This is a tough sport to pick up the older you are. We must have hard heads in common. I had to be stubborn as an antibody clutching to Rachel Welch's scuba suit (FANTASTIC VOYAGE 1966) to keep up this sport after my first season of falling EVERYTIME I got off the lift, and falling another 15-20 times each run. For some unknown reason I loved it as much then as I do now.
TLaHaye
January 5, 2006
Member since 02/9/2005 🔗
136 posts
Quote:

I have written plenty (maybe too plenty) on DCSki about my own adventures with my daughter's introduction to this great sport. In her first two seasons we saw her progress from sliding while held between my legs (oh my aching back!) - season 1, to skiing on her own on Tline's green terrain - season 2, to skiing all of the blues at Timberline and skiing all day long - last week. She is 4 1/2 now. I not only see how much she enjoys it, but also see her challenge and push herself to improve - without parental urging. when she falls, she'll cry a little but then she gets up, pushes daddy out of the way and points em' downhill. She is now talking about the black diamonds at Tline but dad is not ready for her make that jump yet. Skiing with little ones is a great opportunity to see them learn, develop, and master a sport close up. They make pogress so fast. I maybe have this season and next before she is skiing me into the snow.




Don't lose too much sleep over the Black Diamonds. When they're that small, I'm not sure they can develop the momentum for serious injury, plus ... they've got fewer "incompetents" to deal with on the blacks than on the blues and greens. I truly believe that when the kids are young, their greatest risk is those who have both velocity and mass, but no brains.
Heather
January 5, 2006
Member since 02/24/2005 🔗
170 posts
First put my son on skis when he was 4, that was 7 short seasons ago! I must agree that when he first was able to successfully stand on skis I was so proud. But the greatest feeling was having people form the resort, ie Patrollers and Instructors, recount his first dissent down Lower Wildcat which they witnessed form the chair lift. When he came into the patrol room to see me (I was covering dispatch), he was so very p!ssed off because he fell three times. According to him, this made the run down a failure. Ever since then, he has been quite a handful on the hill.I tend to be a bit over protective. Protectiveness is not a bad thing, but sometimes you have to let the little ones try things when the have no fear. Encourage them to try more difficult runs if you feel comfortable with their level of skiing! DON'T do as I did and make them question every run and every turn they take! Now I need to get some lessons to unteach some of the apprehension that I instilled in Tyler! Good luck to the lucky SUCKER who gets my kid as a private lesson...I guess I will have to be a really good tipper! Hey Matt still looking for a referral from you for 7S instructors. No one will want this lesson after you read this, I guess!
kwillg6
January 5, 2006
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,030 posts
Heather...What I discovered as the best learning opportunity for my son, was when he joined the Snowshoe jr ski/race team. Later (age 10) we made the move to the Canaan-Timberline race team and he excelled much quicker than I would have ever thought. We discovered that ski school could only do so much due to limitations of time and personnel. What really made the difference was skiing with kids his own age and ability and the time on snow.(TOS) As ski instructors, both my wife and I realized that in order for him to realize his poential, this was a natural move. I highly recommend this option to any parent who wants their child to learn how to make turns the right way, meet a lot of kids their own age, and just have a lot of fun to explore the ski/race team/club route. Each mountain which has this opportunity for kids usually give a price break to team members for season passes and in some cases even to parents. If your mountain doesn't have a club for kids, there is nothing prohibiting parents from organizing one and working with mountain management to make it happen. Although I am no longer a "race dad," I keep in touch with the Canaan-Timberline club and am aware that most ski areas offer this opportunity for interested children and parents.
TLaHaye
January 5, 2006
Member since 02/9/2005 🔗
136 posts
As parents, we're all challenged by the need to shelter our kids, yet push them out and let them fly on their own ... to protect them without breaking their spirit. Tough job, but invariably, we get it done.

I heard a great story from another patroller last week, about sending his son out for a half-day lesson at Park City last year. This 10-year-old is a great skier, competent in any mid-Atlantic terrain or conditions, but wanted to ski trees, powder, and western bumps. It took three days to secure a lesson with a Level III instructor.

My friend offered a generous tip upon seeing the gleam in his son's eyes after the lesson, only to have it politely refused. The instructor stated she wasn't comfortable accepting a tip, as she'd just had the most fun skiing she'd had in years, showing an enthusiastic, capable child around her mountain, and skiing terrain that her professional responsibilities too often prevented her from getting to.

By the way ... seeing the previous post, it's worth noting that this kid is also part of a junior race program.

tgd
January 5, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
kwillg6: I have been thinking about the Canaan Valley Race team for a while. It always seemed to me to be a great deal - basically regular weekly coaching and skiing at a significant savings over what it would cost for the equivalent weekly lessons. It would also be a great opportunity for her to meet other kid "regulars" and make some friends and future ski buddies (anything to keep her interested in making weekly treks up to CV - once she gets to school age skiing will have to compete with too many other extracurriculars). Anyway, my daughter's instructor took her down the NASTAR course on New Years Day and she got to see some of the ski racers. After her lesson she made sure to point out to me every ski racer she saw. Now she wants to be on the ski race team too - and get one of those nifty jackets!

Do you recall the minimum age to join?

Tom
tgd
January 5, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
You're definately right about risk factors. Collisions are my biggest concern with her skiing - falls are no big deal. I feel a lot better now that she is comfortable with the blue terrain - at lease it gives us options to stay away from the crowds on Salamander. We skied Dew Drop several times last week with very few other skiers (the new trail, Twister is attracting all the crazy out-of-control riders who used to make Dew Drop hazardous). I still have to adjust to the reality that my daughter is skiing so much faster than she did last year. I think once she has a little more experience on the blues she will be fine on the black diamonds on Tline.
kwillg6
January 5, 2006
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,030 posts
Generally, the team's rules are that a jr member must be able to ski blues comfortably and ride the chair by themselves. If interested, the kids practice every Saturday and Sunday morning @ 8 am and meet in front of the lodge. They will let a kid do a few practices on a trial basis. Or, you can stop by the big green chalet on salamander which has the fireplace on the outside, slopeside deck and talk to Debbie. She is the team president this year. This group is one of the few parent run organizations. Most of the others are mountain owned/controlled.
tgd
January 5, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
Thanks! She is not up to riding the lift by herself yet, but I would expect she will be by next season. I noticed the ski team banners outside that chalet on Salamander - they had the fireplace blazing on New Years. Pretty nice base lodge for the kids! I'll try to meet Debbie sometime this season and introduce my daughter.

Tom
k_alice
January 5, 2006
Member since 11/22/2005 🔗
92 posts
My older son (now 9) just started the Wintergreen D-team this year and so far, he's loving it. We thought about starting him last year, but the 5-day "race camp" over the holidays is obligatory for first-year participants, and we were out of the country last year. In retrospect, it was OK to wait. He skied well enough last year, but is that much more independent this year. At the try-outs, there were a few kids who looked really little to me, and they had a hard time pulling down the bar on the Big Acorn lift (which is pretty heavy). Kind of freaked me out watching them twist around on the lift. Besides which, we generally let the kids stay up late during the holidays, and getting to the slopes by 7:45 AM took its toll by the end of the week.

On the other hand, there's an added benefit to the ski team that I didn't anticipate: it really forces our son to slow down sometimes. Normally, when we ski together, he shoots down the hill, making a few turns only when necessary. The coaches really make him practice carving, gates slow him down even more. A new set of skills completely.

I do think it's great for younger kids to have the experience of skiing with kids their own age, and having dedicated instructors follow their progress. Both of our kids have done a week of ski lessons in the Alps. My older son was in a semi-advanced group that went all over the mountain, on blacks, off-piste, and through the trees. The instructor was amazing with kids, and he loved it. Also got to be friends with the other kids. At the end of the week, they had a test and got a ski report card. We haven't taken them skiing in the west, yet. Are week-long ski lessons similar?
pagamony - DCSki Supporter
January 10, 2006
Member since 02/23/2005 🔗
838 posts
Know what you mean. I've taken my 10 year old daughter down cliffhanger 3 times this year - talk about a thrill, just like when they learned to swim. She loves it and is begging me to let her join the race team, but I'm predicting she is more the freestyle type. My 12 year old boy is not there yet, and has reason to not be there yet, but one day he will.

We should be back up there the 21/22 weekend. Look for the guy on orange atomics with the girl in the droopy hat
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