Ever since the Olympics Cameron has been set on learning how to snowboard. “When I grow up,” he’ll tell me in a very serious voice, “I’m going to half-pipe snowboard and I’m going to win a gold medal in the Olympics for Canada. And for you, Mommy!”
The tough thing is that the local hills won’t teach four year olds how to snowboard unless you want to spring for private lessons. How much could he learn in an hour? Not much. Would he settle for skiing? A few youtube videos of slalom and freestyle skiing, and ohyeah!
Now, when you live in Vancouver, there’s this neat thing. Whistler is just a couple of hours’ drive away! So I booked both kids for ski school.
So Friday night we packed up Leif’s car, and early Saturday morning headed for the mountains! We made it in lots of time, and beat the rush for equipment rental. Skis, boots, and helmets, all set! While I waited in line to drop Cameron off, Leif took Kate to meet her class, and saw her onto the gondola. Cameron’s group didn’t head out right away, there was still quite a line up as they slowly processed the youngest ones, and Cameron seemed happy, so we took off for coffee and some breakfast. I can only imagine how excited Cameron was, getting to go on the gondola!
Unfortunately, they ask parents to NOT drop by. You can discretely watch from a distance, but they have a point. It’s likely to cause more problems and make it harder on the kids if parents are hovering. But we did catch a glimpse of the kids as we went over their teaching area in the gondola, and as we slid past.
Of course we didn’t just sit down in the village to wait! Leif and I spent the day snowboarding. It was snowing, raining, or foggy depending on where on the mountain we went, but that’s not enough to dampen the fun. We stuck to green runs, I was having some troubles with my boots and board (owie kind of problems, I need new boots before next season at the very very least), but I think Leif still had fun working on riding switch.
Oh, and Leif did get a good long run on his own, playing gallant rescuer for me. You see, I’d had a bad wipe out, had troubles turning, picked up speed, then caught an edge. Such a bad wipeout that it opened my zippered pocket and my camera and chapstick went flying – must have happened that way, I wouldn’t have left my pocket unzipped, no way. Really. Ahem. We really didn’t have time for us both to go up and search, so Leif went back up, and I proceeded down to pick up the kids. Amazingly enough, he found my camera, and the chapstick too. Phew!
The kids had a fantastic time! Kate was working on turns by the end of the day, her instructor said she did great, had no troubles remembering to put her hands on the knee of the direction she wanted to turn, but forgot to look the way she was going. Sorry Leif, forgot to tell you that part. Cameron was working on his wedge, or pizza as they call it, but his instructor said he preferred to just go straight down the hill! Who knew my kid was a speed demon?
I think the day was a success. Yeah, it’s months before they can go again, so it’s not like they can quickly build on the skills they learned. But still, they both have positive memories with skiing now. Next year it’ll be so much easier, they’ll both be eager, and remember how much fun they had. Yay! Cameron’s keen to go again, and just glows when talking about it. “I’m gonna be the fastest skier on the mountain,” he’ll tell me now. Sometimes he still switches to half-pipe dreams, but ski racing is now in there too.
(The camera survived! And Whistler Kids ski school folks, if you read this, a suggestion? I would’ve been happy to pay an extra five or so dollars for a quick picture of my son on skis. I know the instructors are busy, but surely it’s doable?)