After an adventurous day on the mountains last Sunday, I got to thinking about how much skiing has changed for me over the years. Growing up, my brothers and I were turned loose every weekend from roughly late-November to early-April at a tiny little mountain in the Eastern Townships. Regardless of the weather, we’d get dropped off around 8:30am and picked up at 4:00pm.
What we did with the hours in between was up to us… Or so we thought. Our parents’ network of spies kept us relatively in line… That being said, no one ever got seriously hurt, lost or damaged and we learned some pretty awesome skills on that mountain. When we moved out and headed to CEGEP, University, work, etc. our skiing shifted to a mix of night skiing, racing, weekend days, week-long trips away. We started skiing shorter days and enjoying longer après ski times!
Fast forward SEVERAL years and I’d say that 85% of my skiing is done with our kids. Our kids are lucky enough to go skiing 2-3 times a week and be part of an incredible ski school program that has welcomed them since the age of 3. I’ve done the math… by the time Anja outgrows the Valley kids program, I will have done 7 years of ski school drop offs and pick-ups. But based on the skills they’ve learned, I’d say it’s worth it!
In the past, a typical ski day went something like this: Get up whenever. Eat. Ski a few runs. Go home.
Here’s what last Sunday looked like.
6:49am Rory’s up. Wanders in to our room. Mumbles: “I wanna snug dith you”. Move aside, let him in, in the hopes he’s going to let us sleep a little longer.
6:57am Will’s up. Wanders in to our room. Mumbles: “Can I come in, too?” So much for extra sleep.
7:00am. Give up and stumbles downstairs. Time to prep breakfast, make coffee, turn on cartoons and get ready for the day. Jay makes pancakes (or, as Anja lovingly refers to them, MANCAKES!) and I pack a lunch for the day on the mountain that could feed an entire elementary school class.
The rest of the morning prior to departure consists of getting everyone dressed, organized and in 1 place at the same time. Getting dogs out. Making sure we have the gear we need and packing the truck.
First stop: 400m from home because Anja wants her coat off and her “tummy hurts”. Basically, she wants attention.
Internal dialogue on the way to Whistler: “Did I remember ski socks for myself? I dunno. I guess ankle socks will have to do if I forgot them. Ski pass? (Give self pat down, find in 3 layers away). I’m hungry. Oh right! I forgot to feed myself. At least it’s sunny. Did I remember sunscreen? I need to pee.”
External dialogue from Rory: “When are we gonna be there”?
External dialogue from Will: None. He has his head in his hands in the backseat. Not sure why, but he’s quiet so why disturb the peace?
Arrival at drop #1: Anja goes to Blackcomb daycare for the morning. Pouts but gets over it quickly.
Arrival at drop #2: Unload gear, kids, selves. Dress everyone: miraculously, we didn’t forget anything.
Begin ski day. First run down, Will takes off (I assume he knows where he’s going…) and Rory heads straight for the trees. Apparently, kids don’t believe in “warm up runs”. End up on Peak to Peak to go meet friends on Whistler. So far, so good (insert ominous foreshadowing music here).
Ski ½ of a run with no issues and 1 photo opp stop. Promptly lose 3 of 4 children in the trees on 2nd half of run. Dispatch parents in various directions, try to keep a lid on panic (speaking for myself, here). 13 minutes later, all 3 kids safely reunited with parents, courtesy of a very nice ski instructor. Exhale. Decide now would be a good time for that warm up run and maybe some lunch?
The rest of the ski day passes relatively uneventfully. Rory does not stay on the trail – ever. Will skis as fast as he possibly can in the middle of the trail. Every run in a series of near misses.
We decide to head to the Valley and bring Anja back into the fold for her first day on skis. We pick her from the daycare where she seems to know what’s coming because she yells “SKI!” as soon as she sees us. She heads out the door with Jay and by the time I gather up her stuff she’s waiting at the door in ski boots and a funny yellow bike helmet.
Meanwhile, the boys are enjoying spring skiing by shedding jackets, mitts and any non-essential layer. Will is lounging in the snow, vaguely watching Anja. Rory has beetled over to the magic carpet and is taking himself skiing.
Jay carries Anja about 40 feet uphill, I wait a bit anxiously to see her reaction when he puts her down and lets her go. 3, 2, 1… GO! She instantly starts laughing and saying “FAST”! She repeats this mantra as we push her uphill to start again… Success!
We decide to head up the Magic chair – the universe’s slowest 3 person lift. I head up with the boys, Jay and Anja are behind us. All I can hear is her little voice calling “FUN!” The plan is to slide down to where the car is parked and head home. Rory and Will clearly have other ideas as they take off and ski on their own while we ski down with Anja (FUN! FAST! MORE!) We end up doing a couple more runs of ‘catch and release’ and calling it a day. Just imagine when she turns 2…
Can’t wait to try it all again. Next time, perhaps without calling patrol.