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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Anchorage for Ski Lessons

Nora and Stuey with Ski Instructor at beginning of first lesson - note ski jumps in upper right corner

A low grade fear of mine is that Stuey and Nora would never learn how to or enjoy downhill skiing.  Kodiak does not have a ski lift and my attempts at teaching have not gone well.  Why is that kids never want to take advice from parents?  That said I've also had a hard time teaching Zoya to downhill ski.  Maybe it's just easier to take advice from neutral parties.

Last year we even went to Anchorage after Christmas so that they could take lessons at a real mountain.  Only once we got there we discovered that all the lessons had long been filled up.  It seems ski lessons are a popular activity over Christmas break. So this year we booked ski lessons well in advance at the Hilltop Ski Area on the outskirts of Anchorage.

As parents Zoya and I are well aware of the old adage about 'leading a horse to water,' and fully realized that booking the lessons was only half of the battle.  We had to do the 'selling' part very carefully.  Do we tell the kids about the lessons?  Do we even call them lessons?  A big part of the 'sell' occurred during cross country ski trips to the golf course in the weeks before Christmas.  I told the kids that they'd get to use real gear and ride a chair lift up a mountain when we went to Anchorage.  I think the idea of a chair lift ride ended up as the best 'sell'.

Finally the big day arrived and we drove through the gates to the ski area.  Three HUGE ski jumps rose above the spruce trees and Stuey and Nora's eyes lit up.  That's what Stuey wanted to do.

At the ski school we went through the whole very serious process of signing our rights away and gearing the kids up with ski equipment.  The boots looked very tight and uncomfortable, and I had some bad flashbacks to the ski lessons of my youth.  I kept repeating silent prayers to myself that the kids would actually enjoy the lessons.  Ski schools had to have gotten better in the last 40 years, right?

We met Pam their instructor and she explained how these days they teach the kids to ski without ski poles.  She then took the kids out to the bunny slope rope tow.  After a few trips up and down they graduated to the chair lift.  Things were working out!

At the end of the day Zoya and I watched from the bottom of the ski slope for the kids to appear at the finish of their ski runs.  Suddenly there was a fuchsia Nora snow ploughing across the slope.  A few minutes later we found Stuey's bright green snow pants as he snow ploughed straight down the slope.  They were skiing, and better yet they seemed to be enjoying themselves!

A few days later as I waited to pick up the kids after their last lesson I noticed a little placard on the wall near the ski school sign up area.  It read, 'Friends don't let friends take ski lessons from friends.'  Very true, it seems lessons were a good idea after all.


Driving to the airport on Boxing Day - off to Anchorage for ski lessons!

Nora rocks it at the end of the first lesson

Stuey at the end of the first lesson

Some Cookies Nora and Ilsa made at the Robinson's

Lunch with Marie and Brian at the Spenard Roadhouse

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