Ski Trip

Since I had piles of work to avoid & my parents gave Dev and me some lift tickets for Christmas that we needed to use before the snow was completely gone, I decided to take the kids skiing Saturday.

My kids haven’t ever been skiing. It seems kind of shameful since they are Montana kids and all and live right in the middle of all sorts of good skiing, but the problem with skiing (unlike many other Montana experiences) is it requires quite a lot of money and expensive equipment. This is especially true if you are a family of six. Sleds or inner tubes are much easier to track down, so that’s usually the snow activity route we take. Occasionally we even do some ice skating. But, since pay for five of my different jobs happened to come in at the same time at the beginning of the week, it gave me the momentary false sense that we could afford a ski day.

I had all the kids get their stuff ready the night before. Poor Lex hates being left out. That's his pile he made in the middle of the floor. He saw everyone else getting their snow stuff so he got his snowpants and two coats. He found his hat and boots, too.

He was the first one up and in the car. He had his hat & boots back on and just kept saying, "I wanna go!" We had to bribe him with a doughnut run with Dad to finally convince him to get out of the car.

Since I don’t actually know how to teach people to ski--or really even ski myself-- I had this plan to let them all do a short lesson. I see those other people guiding little ones with their big skis outside of the little ones. Or skiing backwards while they steady the tiny ones just figuring out how to go frontwards. That’s definitely not me. I don’t ski backwards. At least not intentionally. I haven’t even been on skis since I was in high school and I was quite unimpressive even then. I used to have a snowboard, and the first year of college Tami & I spent a lot of Friday evenings up at Marshall when they did $5 night skiing. Of course last year I realized I had no idea where my snowboard or boots or any of that was and I couldn’t even remember when I last saw it. I know it's been at least 6-7 years, so obviously snow sports have been a bit off my radar for some time.

I did decide to ski Saturday just because I couldn’t quite figure out how I’d be any help on a snowboard. I remember feeling an awful lot like I was training for this sport Eldon just recently discovered whenever I needed to maneuver around on a snowboard. Unfortunately we got there a few minutes too late to sign up for the morning lessons so we had a few hours for them to figure it out on their own before anyone could help them out. I ended up having to help more than I was planning.

It was pretty interesting to see the three of them approach this new challenge in their own ways. They are all so different and when they’re put in new situations it really seems to emphasize their own unique ways of taking on the world.

Zoran was ready to go (and be the “best” and “fastest”) before we even got out of the car. He was traumatized when he realized I forgot to rent him a helmet with his equipment because he was sure he was going to go really fast into a tree. (This seems pessimistic, but really might just show a pretty solid awareness for how he moves through the world.) So, we went back & got a helmet. Once we got to the little bunny hill he was eager to go & then completely devastated that he wasn’t immediately the best one on the hill. But only for a few seconds. After he'd throw a fit because his body wouldn't move exactly as he wanted it to on skis he'd get mad & pound on the ground (it's hard to kick things with skis on) and then he'd calm down and try again. He did this repeatedly. Once he realized he couldn’t immediately do it alone, he wanted to ski with me (so I found myself going up the rope tow with my little boy tucked between my legs...and I didn’t even knock him down or trip him!) He wanted to stick pretty close to me once he figured out he could stay upright and go the right direction like that. So we moved from doing that to me skiing beside him holding his hand & guiding him down. After an hour or so he was so exhausted (probably more from the fits than the skiing) but he was ready for an early lunch & a break.

Zoran after one of his little melt downs.

Azia wanted no help. When she first tried to get on the rope tow one of her skis popped off and she instantly burst into tears because she was embarrassed. She got over it in about 5 seconds, but still didn’t want my help & stumbled trying to get on the next time. I finally convinced her to let me go up with her. She let me go down once with her and then beside her one other time and then she was done with having any help. She spent the rest of the hour or so just going down the little hill figuring things out on her own.

She didn't even want to take a break for lunch she was having so much fun.

Israel was just super cautious. He thought he’d be able to just figure it out, but after he went down the little hill once, he didn’t want to do it again. He didn’t think he’d be able to navigate without poles. He said he couldn’t turn or stop and was afraid he was going to go off the edge or run into people. He kept saying he was going to go down again "in a little bit" but mostly he just watched the others. Then after a little while he asked me if he could sign up for a lesson too because Azia was completely showing him up. He said he was going to really pay attention so he could pass her up! I think his little showboat sister was damaging his self-esteem!

Zoran after he figured out the rope tow...going up on his own.

After lunch Israel did get a lesson & it worked out so he actually got a private one since Azia was too busy doing her own thing to really get any direct instruction and the other teacher was working with Zoran & another little boy his age. Both instructors were really good. After about a half hour he had Israel confidently going down the little hill and after a little practice there he headed to the regular hill. I think by the end of the day he had caught up to Azia. (Maybe even passed her, but she didn't think so.)

Even though Israel had just gone snowboarding last week, he decided to try skiing since the rest of us were skiing... but he wasn't going to tell his friends. I guess for middle school boys you're just "lame" if you don't snowboard. At the end of the day he didn't really want to admit it, but he decided he actually liked skiing better.

Zoran concentrating. After about 40 minutes in his lesson he had the bunny hill mastered, too & was ready for the big hill.

Azia spraying snow. Once she figured out how to stop like this it was her favorite part."I looooovvveee that!!" she'd giggle every time she'd slide to a stop at the bottom of the hill.

Zoran & Azia heading down the "big" hill.


That tiny little green spot on the hill is Azia!

My chair lift buddy-- we were watching the little green Azia spot from up here!

Azia going down helping pick up the cones they were using for the lessons on the bunny hill. She thought she was soooo cool.

The whole gang. Jack's got all sorts of poses!

We ran into Pam & Jack once we got up there which was nice for me. They wanted to ski with us. Probably not the most fun for Pam, but it was nice to have some help. The first two times they all went down the big hill she went with us. Making your way down the mountain (and on & off the chair lift) with three kids who haven’t ever done it is sort of a challenge to do by yourself. It seems like by now I’d think more about things like this instead of repeatedly putting myself in these situations. I have had a lot of kids for quite awhile; you think I’d learn. Or maybe I’ve just decided that figuring out how to do outings like this is part of having four kids. Finding helpful friends to navigate through it is always nice. Next time will be much easier.

Now if I could just remember where I put my snowboard.

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