Friday, March 23, 2012

He Ski

“I want to be there now!” the boy said brimming with excitement. “It’s the afternoon already.”

Actually it was 8:30 in the morning. But since the Bean and I had only been awake for 2 hours and an hour and a half of that was spent in the car, I couldn’t blame him for being somewhat confused. We had gotten an early start on our way to the mountains. Today was the day I was going to introduce the Bean to skiing.

I am a terrible athlete. I can barely throw and I have been literally laughed at by my closest friends while playing basketball. But despite all of this somehow I have emerged a decent skier. (Back before I had kids, when I used to hit the slopes on a regular basis, I was actually a really good skier.) Skiing ranks up there with roller coasters and going to the movies as one of my favorite things to do. Of course like roller coasters and movies, my chosen partner in crime, WonderWife™, has no interest in it. This is why I’ve been not so secretly hatching a plan to get at least one of my kids into ski. And since the Bean is the oldest, he was lucky enough to try first.

In order for this plan to work, I had to be smart and patient. The Bean hasn’t always taken to new things, especially ones that require practice when you’re a noob (just ask WonderWife™ who’s been an unfortunate spectator when the kid first started playing Lego Batman). While some kids start skiing as young as 3 or 4, I knew that I needed to wait a bit longer. I couldn’t just shove him in ski pants, plop him on a mountain and expect him to like it just because I want him to. I’d have to strike at the right time. Thankfully, this past summer the Bean started asking about snow. He wanted to go to the mountains and have a snowball fight. When the weather turned cold, I told the Bean I was going to take him to snow and take him skiing. He was excited and we were off to a good start.

On the way up to the mountain, I reminded the Bean that he was not going to be a very good skier at first. He was going to spend a lot of time falling down. He was okay with this—mostly because when he plays the We Ski video game he loves making his avatar crash into things. I also reminded him that falling in real life may be a bit more painful than when done virtually.

We rented his equipment and I stuffed his feet into his ski boots. I tried not to laugh as he struggled to walk in the clunky gear. He didn’t find it funny. We had an hour before his lesson so I took him to a flat section near the base of the slopes and showed him how to get into his skiis. Pretty much immediately he was on his ass. A lot of frustrated yelling was soon hurled my way and I quickly realized that although I know how to ski myself, I had no idea who to teach somebody to do it. We soon gave up skiing in order to have the snowball fight he so desperately wanted.

I dropped the Bean off with the ski instructor and made my way to the lodge where stood with the beauty of a mirage in the desert a patio that overlooked the bunny slope next to a bar. I ordered a brew and covertly watched my boy learn “pizza.” It wasn’t long before he took a small run, his instructor in tow. Near the end of his lesson, he was turning by himself. I beamed with pride, suppressing the urge to point out my kid to the rest of the bar patrons.

I was standing at the top of the moving carpet lift when the Bean crested the hill. He saw me and through the biggest smile he could muster said, “I love this! I want to do it more!”

It seemed my plan had worked. Sadly, the Bean will have to wait another year to ski again. Jelly legs prevented us from taking any more runs that day and there is a painfully limited window of opportunity to ski in Southern California as the season is so short. But rest assured, as soon as the next snow falls I will be making the trek with my young Padawan to the mountains to continue his training.

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