Thursday, February 22, 2007

snow, ski, spectacular

We're home from our 6th annual family ski trip. John's brother Jeffand nephew Max, girlfriend Donna and son Aidan, John's sister Terri, husband Randy, and son Tim joined us for a few days in the mountains under better than expected conditions.

This being a holiday week we needed to book this rental home at the slopes last summer and could only hope for good conditions, but it's been dry this year-- VERY dry. So unlike last year, and the year before, and the year before...we didn't have powder up to our knees and fresh snow falling every day. What snow there was had been packed down pretty good, but it was still fun, and very fast, skiing. The usual bumps and chunks that develop when the snow is plentiful didn't exist, so what we had for the most part was smooth steep slopes which made it easy and so tempting to pick up speed and just fly downhill. Tim and I just may have had a tendency to test that out once. Or twice. These conditions are probably John's favorite and he seemed thrilled, but if I could choose I'd take the deeper stuff.

During last year's trips Kate was petrified by the snow. In fact she wouldn't walk on it at all, wouldn't take a single step, ever. She had only learned to walk about 3 weeks before our first trip up so I suppose the thought of keeping balanced on that strange stuff was too much for her. If I left her standing alone she got a miserable look on her face and just whimpered until I removed her from that awful circumstance. This year when she encountered snow the first day she started yelling and kicking at it with strong, waist high kicks. Exorcising past demons I figured.

Erin skied with John and me last year but this time I signed her up for two full days of ski school. A full day was barely more expensive than a half day and I really had no idea how she'd take to it or for how long. The first day she seemed a little hesitant when I dropped her off, but she went. I stopped by mid-day and watched her in her lesson and she was doing very well, but when she saw me and realized she had a sympathetic audience she started crying. The teacher said the kids were getting tired and hungry and they would be going in for lunch and some rest now, and that was what Erin was asking for, so she went with them. At the end of the day she had a glowing report of the experience and was looking forward to going back.

The next day I took the kids to the village to play in some more plentiful snow there while John skied the morning. Kate was definitely fully recovered from her last year's snow fears. All the girls liked making, tasting, and destroying snow balls and sliding down tiny hills.

Then we stopped by a village coffee shop for time to see and be seen (or see and be heard, much to the annoyance of the too-cool-for-the-room twenty-somethings who were hanging out there) and to enjoy an apres snow play milkshake.

Monday was Erin's next day in ski school. She was completely enthusiastic about going and gave me a quick wave and a "see ya later" as she went in. But after lunch I got a call from the school, Erin was tired and though she skied the morning and had lunch, she wasn't interested in starting the afternoon session. So I skied down to the village to get her. While I was waiting I met another parent who had also been called to get her daughter. "They don't try very hard," she noted. "If a kid cries and doesn't want to ski they are on the phone to us to come get them.""How old is your daughter?" I asked of Ms. Type-A Nutbar. "Three." THREE? And she is wondering why the kid doesn't want to ski all day? I told her that I was glad they called me because I want skiing to be a positive experience for Erin more than anything, and if she is always pushed past the point that she's enjoying it I don't know that she'd want to participate the next time. And besides all that, crazy lady, she's ONLY FOUR.

Since Terri and Randy offered to stay in during the afternoon, I brought Erin in to join her sisters in a much-needed nap and went back out to ski the rest of the day with Tim and John.

On our final full day John and Erin skied together in the morning. We all went to the village, along with Terri and Randy, and after Erin and John got on the lift we walked up the slope they'd be coming down until we reached a good vantage point because I wanted to get some pictures and video of Erin on skis this year. The twins played a bit and had a snack while we waited, then we saw are the last few seconds near the bottom of a very long run (the audio got screwed up, it's the twins chattering, I don't know what happened and I can't fix it)....

It was a great trip. The girls enjoyed, playing with their big cousins and visiting with their aunt and uncles and I got assurance that I wasn't the worst ski parent ever. Erin says skiing was great and she skis "super, SUPER fast". I hope we get back up there just once more this season. Or twice. Okay, three, tops.

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