Parenting: A big surprise on the slopes

February 25, 2011 7:56:31 AM PST
My husband, Greg, and I love to ski together in the Poconos. Both being pretty competitive, we like to speed down the black diamond trails as fast as we can safely ski and try to cram in as many runs as possible.

Last year, we enrolled our then four-year-old son in ski school a few times. His toes froze once and he proclaimed that he didn't want to ski again until he turned five. Now Luke is five and, last weekend, he declared ?he wanted to ski again, but not in a ski school with other children. He wanted to ski with us!

We left Emma with our babysitter and told her we would probably return with Luke in about an hour. I had him bundled in several layers: long underwear, ski socks, turtlenecks, fleece, snow pants, ski mittens, glove warmers, hat, helmet, etc. ?But, with a sub-zero wind chill that morning, and a five year old's attention span, we figured Luke's ski expedition wouldn't last long. ?Boy, I was wrong!

My husband started by wrapping a nylon rope across Luke's chest and under his arms. That way, Greg could snowplow behind Luke and control his speed. I explained how to "make a pie" with his skies and how to press his left toes to turn right and right toes to turn left (a lesson, admittedly lost on a kid who only knows his left from his right about 50% of the time.) Luke said he remembered some of his lesson from the year before and assured me that he would be fine.

I think Luke sensed his mother's anxiety!

We made it down the beginners slope without too much trouble. Greg accompanied Luke on the lift, helping hoist him onto the chair and practically carry him off so he wouldn't fall. We skied for about an hour. Then Luke wanted to break for lunch (at 10:00AM!) We figured that was the end of his skiing. But, after fueling up with peanut butter and jelly, Luke proclaimed he wanted to ski the rest of the day and he wanted to ski without a rope.

I started to protest, but Greg agreed to let him try. I couldn't believe, Luke could actually ski on his own! I skied beside him, yelling "make a pie!" repeatedly . I was on guard, ready to grab him before he ran into a tree or another skier. Unfortunately, Luke likes to ski like his father: point those skies downhill like "french fries" and go down fast with as few turns as possible. But, Luke also could quicly turn to avoid obstacles and even made nice wide turns right into the lift line.

What surprised me more than Luke's ability to ski was how much fun it was to ski with him. Greg kept telling me I could go ski the black diamond trails on my own. I didn't want to. ?I wanted to ski beside my son, watch him improve, gain confidence and beam with delight every run. We finally had to drag Luke off the mountain when the lifts were shutting down. ?

An exhausted and proud five year old declared on the ride home that night: "Mom and Dad, I'm a skier. Can we do it again next weekend?"

Happy parenting! Cecily

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