Friday, March 5, 2010

The child turns 3 and now it's time for Skis!!

With all this fabulous snow we have had here in the metropolitan area, we took it upon ourselves to take our lil man Hen to the skis slopes. Skiing in the east coast is nothing quite like skiing in the west, but I figure, if you can ski in the east (with all that crap ice) then you definitely can manage the snow in the west (give or take the altitude along with some of those black diamonds). Any way, as far as a 3 year old is concerned this is IT!
We took Henry on Presidents weekend (the Monday) to White Tail. It is a local spot about an hour a half from DC. It is right at the border of Maryland and Pennsylvania. After mentioning it a few times leading up to the big day, Henry was anticipating a new adventure. Sure he knew he was going skiing however, I am not so sure he knew what to expect....the Olympics were on so he had an idea...:)

We decided it was best to get a private instructor who would take Henry out along with the mama and the dada. To initially guide Henry to life on skis but then to also give us the tools to further support him on the slopes. It was FUN!

Henry had a knack for them from the start. With some pretty stellar balance, he managed so well. We started at the lessons slope (the area that is sectioned off for ski school). Phil our instructor, aka Dr Phil, started by taking off one of Henry's skis. Henry at that moment, laid it out to Phil and said, "No, I don't want to ski with one ski, but I want both skis on." Hmm, ok, guess there is no need for the teacher to go over with balance with a child who is not having any true signs of difficulty balancing on the skis. Next skill, Ski walk ski walk ski (one foot in ski the other walking). Ok Henry was going to have NOTHING to do with that, He wanted to ski down the mountain. Point blank he told Phil, "I want to go up on that machine (the chair lift) to the TOP of the mountain and then ski down REALLY fast."

FInally, Phil agreed, we'd go on the chair lift to the top of the mountain and ski down. As our chair lift was a two seater, Phil took Henry up with him, Dean and I followed. Henry LOVED the chair lift, I think it may be one of his favorite parts, the disembarking part and skiing down the ramp (that happened to be the most fearful part for me as a kid, as I was one of those who signaled to the chair lift operator to slow the lift down so I could get off as a little lightie (young one for those who don't speak South African slang).

As Henry and Phil rode up the lift together, Phil explained the ski concepts. "French Fries" aka parallel skis. This was to help Henry not only off the lift but also when it came to skiing down the mountain. He explained that 3 year olds don't comprehend pizza slice (snow plow) to stop, so he doesn't teach it. He teaches these little lighties to either ski to you into your arms and to hockey stop (parallel skis). Very interesting.

Needless to say, Henry maybe only managed to hockey stop 2 or 3 times the whole day (and most likely without realizing that that was what he was doing). All in all, he rocked. My baby was actually skiing. He flat out was doing it and on his own. He kept saying, "I want to go fast. I want to go really fast!" On occasion he aimed for the trees which at times kept me on my heels. It was these moments that I realized he like to ski to the left and not so much to the right (just like his mama). In the same way that I can ice skate better on my left foot than my right and that I skate better on my outside edges then I do on my inside edges. Hmm.
Any who, we continued the day in utter fantasy land. We were all having a blast and it was FUN! We were all having SO MUCH FUN! I loved watching Henry take on the challenge and enjoy it with all his little being.

In the course of a few weeks we have been twice and I hope that we can get in one more ski before the year is up! The second go around was as much fun and this time Henry was starting to figure out that he could jump by bending down into a squat and then picking up his feet, he thought that was utter fun!
Oh the triumphs of a 3 year old!! I am so so proud of him.

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