Have I ever mentioned to you how much I hate skiing? There’s the cold, and the ice, and the shlepping to a mountain. There are boots that hurt my shins and ski pants that make me feel fat. My hands are never warm enough and my lips always get chapped.
Don’t even get me started on the financial aspects of the sport. Renting skis, poles, helmets, and boots, then buying lift tickets, and then forking over more money for lessons only to take one run and then bow out due to all the above complaints seems beyond ridiculous to me.
Oh, and have I mentioned the cold? I have? Well, I don’t like it. At all.
My mother happens to have a weekend home that is located 10 minutes from Mohawk Mountain. In the spring and summer, we go swimming at Mudge Pond and attend all manner of county fairs and festivals. In the fall, we climb the winding trail at Kent Falls and enjoy the beauty of nature. In the winter, we sit around on the couch and watch movies. We build with Legos and construct puzzles and read, too. But by the end of the weekend, my kids are a little bit antsy and a little bit doughy, since they have been eating doughnuts for two days and haven’t exercised at all.
“There must be more to do here,” I voiced to my family over the Christmas vacation.
“Well, there is skiing,” my mom said before hiding behind a chair. She knew there was a slim but definite chance I might throw something at her for making the suggestion.
But I didn’t throw anything, not even a fit. Instead, I began to hatch a plan:
Just because I hated everything about skiing didn’t mean my children couldn’t enjoy the sport, right?
Over the next holiday weekend, Andrew and Zoe – ages 10 and 7 — were going to get off their butts and learn how to ski!
On the Friday night of Martin Luther King weekend, the official shlepping began. I brought my kids to Dick’s Sporting Goods and outfitted them head-to-toe with gear.
Me: Try on this, please. Now try that. Try this one over that one. Now put these on too. Looking good. Can you move your arms? Can you breathe?
Kids: Yes, Mom. Can we take this stuff off now? We’re so hot!
Me: Good. Let’s find Daddy’s credit card.
$250.00 later, we had enough Under Armour to fight the great winter battle against the Northeast. As an afterthought, I bought several of those packs of hand and foot warmers that are sold at the counter for 99 cents.
I then planned ahead for our days at Mohawk by renting skis online and reserving group lessons for the kids.
On Saturday, we drove to my mom’s and quickly unpacked and had lunch. Then we headed out for their afternoon lessons.
“Where’s my coat?” Andrew asked.
“YOU FORGOT YOUR COAT?” I yelled.
“No, Mom, YOU forgot my COAT.” (Nice one, right? I counted to 10.)
“Let’s see if Nana has a coat for you,” my husband, Brett, suggested.
Luckily – or weirdly, depending on how you want to look at it – my mom wears a Land’s End children’s size 10-12. Her little person winter jacket, black with blue accents, fit Andrew perfectly, with room to grow should HE (I?) forget his jacket again over the next year or so.
To the mountain we went.
Andrew’s boots were too tight and his helmet was too big and Zoe’s boots didn’t fit into her ski bindings. Adjustments were made. At 2:00, Andrew went off to learn to snowboard, getting a private lesson at the group rate because no one else signed up for his group. What a bargain! He was happy as could be and so was I. Zoe, however, was quite unhappy.
“I’m not skiing and you can’t make me.” Her group had already entered the learning center area without her.
“Um, yes you are and yes I can,” I said. “You told me you wanted a lesson. So, today you have to go. After today, you can say no. But you have to try.”
Fat tears froze on her cheeks.
I started calculating the cost of this disaster in my mind: $125 for long underwear, goggles, and gloves plus $95 for this rental package and the group lesson. I was looking at $230 worth of crying. Plus, the future cost of psychotherapy for perhaps both of us.
Stupid sport! I really hated skiing. My toes were growing numb by the second. We had been standing around for 20 minutes before the lesson began and now we had missed the first 10 minutes of it. Me, outside, for thirty minutes in winter! It was unheard of. I was down to 8 good toes by that point, but I would not give up.
“Zoe, look at your ski instructor, Jackie.” I motioned to Jackie. “She’s like a camp counselor or babysitter dressed up in winter clothes! You love teenage girls!”
Zoe looked up at Jackie. Jackie smiled and waved, her long hair sticking out from her ski cap, her mouth filled with turquoise braces.
“I am walking away now. I will be watching you from over there.” I showed her the spot, just on the other side from where everyone in her group was now basically skiing like Lindsay Vonn.
Zoe took Jackie’s hand and walked into the lesson. Ten minutes later, I got a huge smile and a thumbs-up signal from her. Brett, who had been observing Andrew, switched places with me.
“I’m going to watch Andrew for about 30 seconds and then I’m going into the lodge!” I declared loudly. The cold had made me practically deaf as well.
“I’ll get us some hot chocolates and come find you in there.” He said.
I grabbed a seat at a wood table overlooking the windows overlooking the outdoors that I was so glad to not be outdoors in anymore. Remembering the foot warmers that I had stuffed into my pocketbook, I took off my Uggs, activated the warmers, and stuck them inside the boots. Ah. Warm feet. While reaching into my bag, I realized I had my Kindle. Ah. Good book.
“Here you go,” Brett said, placing a styrofoam cup before me.
“With whipped cream?!” I asked.
“And marshmallows.” He said. “I guess we just have to go get the kids in about an hour.”
An hour! Warm feet, good book, hot chocolate in the lodge.
Did I ever tell you how much I love skiing?