Look Cameron, fresh snow on the mountains, I pointed out one Saturday morning as we drove across the bridge to North Vancouver for Cameron’s kickboxing class. Mama, he asked wistfully, eyes on Grouse, When can I go skiing again?
Repeat this every time the winter rain clouds lift so we can see the mountains.
He doesn’t mention it much, but I’m sure he hasn’t forgotten, that once he dreamed of being on Canada’s Olympic ski team. He wants to race! And he’ll win!
This weekend we repeated last year’s New Year’s Eve festivities, including a trip up to Kamloops to visit Leif’s sister Kristine and her partner Paul. They’re avid skiers – actually, avid pretty much anything outdoors-ers. Bike racing on roads and mountains, and skiing of all types, and just wait until Cameron finds out that Paul white-water kayaks. Like last year, we made arrangements to spend the day at Sun Peaks, this time with both kids, and now Cameron was old enough to join the ski school for an all-day lesson. Kate was significantly less enthused at this idea than Cameron was. Cameron was very overt in his excitement, gushing to everyone about how he’d get to ski the whole day. Paul, I believe it was, encouraged Cameron to ask his instructor to show him how to catch some air (jump), and got a, YEEEAAAAAHHHH, in response.
We had to start early. Cameron squirmed deeper under his covers at first when I woke him up, until I reminded him, a whisper in the darkness, We have to get up to go skiing. The kid couldn’t get dressed and upstairs to the kitchen for breakfast fast enough. Maybe we’ll get to go on a green run, not just the teaching place. Do you think? Maybe Mama? Kate, unfortunately, wasn’t so keen. It took a long while to root her out of bed.
At the mountain, we dropped the kids off at the lessons. They lucked out – due to our slow start, and the endless wait for rentals, we missed the start of ski school. Usually you’d think this would suck. However in this case, it meant that they got the whole morning with an instructor for just the two of them. We know because we gave them time to get started, and then skied down to the lesson area to spy. We watched them go up on the magic carpet, then snuck up ourselves to tail them. Surprise, they got off of the main teaching slopes, and headed down a short green run! Okay, it was still part of the teaching area, but Cameron didn’t know this. He must’ve been beside himself with glee! Back and forth we watched them weave, once we caught up with them.
Leif and I took off after this, off to do some more challenging skiing. Okay, challenging for me. Leif’s far more advanced than I ever was or will be, but he still played amongst the trees and looked like he was having fun. I’m challenged by blue runs. My heart just about stopped when the run I thought I could easily handle turned into a drop-off cliff (by my perception), far, far, far above the village below. I made it down. I even had fun. But ohmy, convincing myself to turn often took a lot of work. I think I talked to myself the whole way down. Loony. Shook my confidence a lot, but after lunch we stuck mostly with a very long green run. Next time, we start with that run. Once down there to get my ‘legs’ back, and then I might just be willing to try that ‘cliff’ again.
Too soon (or rather, just in time, as my legs were about to refuse to work any more), it was time to pick up the kids. The lifts were still going, so I sent Leif off with a kiss, up with Kristine and Paul to have another run (sounds like they had a blast, going down black diamonds), while I went to get the kids. They’re both doing well, Kate needs more confidence, Cameron needs a little less … ah … speed. More turns, please! He just wants to go straight down and race. Oops, I’d forgotten to warn the instructor of Cameron’s dreams. Both need to learn to use the chair lift before going on to level 3 – a prospect which had Kate in tears, and Cameron bouncing.
Cameron can’t wait to go back. Or to Grouse. Or Cypress. Or … anywhere so long as he gets to ski.
I really need to pay better attention to Kate, and help her find some outdoors activity that she enjoys and is inspired by. Downhill is clearly not going to be it for her, though I’m absolutely certain she could learn to like it. But at this age, doing something she has to learn to like isn’t going to really be a hit with her. She’s gone cross country skiing at Cypress with her mom, and sounded like she really prefers that, so maybe sometime I’ll take the kids there. Continuing to tell her that downhill is fun and she’ll enjoy it doesn’t seem to be convincing her.