Friday, February 22, 2008


Edie's family went skiing.

So did we! On MLK weekend, we went up to Killington and on the one day it wasn't absolutely freezing (about 30 degrees), we put the kids in ski lessons and Julie and I went to hit the slopes. Julie's a great skier and also nice enough to hang out with me as I swooped and tumbled down the mountain on a snowboard. I really enjoyed snowboarding although the next day my core was aching from twisting back and forth all day and my shoulders also hurt--Julie says I had my arms out for balance, but I suspect it may have been just from wiping out onto my sides. We hadn't skied or boarded since the kids were born, and it was a lot of fun.

The kids reportedly did well, although we only saw a bit of Austin's lesson. Sharon, who taught the five kids in his group, said he was very strong to be able to march up the little slope by himself. He learned to hold a tray of cookies (keeping his arms out and eyes up) and to make pizza (what we used to call snowplow). And he turned by offering cookies over to one side or another. He loved it!

Killington is great but WAY expensive. Especially if you're just paying for a bunny slope.

Okay, so this week is school vacation week and on Sunday Julie took him to Nashoba, about 45 minutes from here. A small hill, but all that we need. She said he did great, using the "magic carpet" and the rope tow to get up the hill and carrying his cookies down.

I took him again on Tuesday. Nashoba is nice, and reasonably priced, and a quick drive. Austin didn't want to take a lesson -- he'd rather be with me. (Or so he thought.) Skiing with him was a little frustrating in part because it's been years since I've thought about skiing and so trying to explain to him what he needed to do was very hard for me. Plus, he doesn't always remember his left from his right and he seemed to have only a general notion about "downhill." It took a while to even remember how to explain to him how to get up from a fall. "Point your skis perpendicular to the downslope" -- he knows five words in that sentence but not the most important ones.

Anyway, after he came down the bunny slope without falling and demanded a snack, I told him we could have a Reese's PB cup if we took a lift and went down a big hill. He was a bit scared but he's generally a really brave kid and agreed.

So we took a chair lift. He did great for his first time -- got on all right, and skied off without falling (I gave him a bit of a shove to get him going at the end). It was tough going coming down (it was a bit icy) but then I put him between my legs and held him under his arms and we skied down together. He liked it so much he wanted to do it again.

The second time on the chairlift...

Well, first, let me point out that he has a tendency to fall out of chairs. At dinner, it is not unusual for him to suddenly just collapse onto the floor. Once this led to a visit to the E.R. Most of the time he says something like "An invisible bunny pushed me!" and bounces back up. The point is, he sits at the very edge of his seat. Not good.

Okay, so the second time on the chairlift, as it comes around, we're waiting, it arrives, he gets on the edge of the chair... and we start lifting up. He's not on. I'm hanging on to his left armpit with my right hand. Only there are about four layers of synthetic fabric between my fingers and his shoulder. "Stop! He's not on!" I shout. Nashoba is definitely a family and beginner mountain, so the operator was not unprepared. He stopped the lift and ran over. At this point, Austin was dangling from the chair. The operator reached up and grabbed him by the waist until I could get two hands around him and pull him up. The operator suggested I put the bar down before he starts the lift again. Good idea.

We skied down together the whole way and it was fun, but that was about it for the day. My shoulder was REALLY sore the day after that and I knew exactly why.


Edie said...

I'm impressed you got Austin on the chairlift!

It was $139 for a full day lesson for Maia at Northstar, which is definitely very kid friendly. My mom pointed out that this doubles as babysitting so when you think about the cost it's not quite as bad. But the adult lift ticket waas $76 and one of the days I skiied oh, about 3 runs. Hmmm, $25/run. Not a good value.

I rode the magic carpet, kind of fun but with kids I worry the same way I worry about escalators and moving sidewalks. Remember the T-bar and how you had to lean on it just-so, but if you actually sat down you would end up on your bum?

Bill didn't grow up skiing and he's kind of freaked by the cost, year after year with 2 kids to teach. But I have so many great memories both growing up and after college when I went with my own friends. I really want the girls to have that, too.

Ok, how about a massive Cheng family ski vacation in say, 2011?

jc said...

Yeah, sounds like Northstar is about the same price as Killington. Nashoba has tickets for bunny hills that are just $18/day for adults and kids. I think maybe next year if we rent equipment for the season, we could bring Austin to lessons and we could buy half day lift tickets.

It is wicked expensive.

Oh, and if you think the carpet is worrisome, you should check out the rope tow. I thought Austin's arm was going to get ripped out of his socket, but he hung on.