Sunday, January 17, 2010

10 Things I've Learned Skiing Again After 12+ Years

The view at Snow Bowl skiing down the hill. The best part: no crowds!

A couple weeks ago Blake's friend invited him to go snowboarding. And, knowing that he had been wanting to try it for a few years now, we gave him the go-ahead to give it a whirl.

I learned to ski when I was a teen, about 15, I think. And over the next 10 or 12 years I typically went at least several times a season; I've always loved it.

So after Blake returned from his freshman outing to the slopes, he came back with the enthusiasm of Christmas morning.

"Mom, it was SO fun," he repeated ... over. and. over. And Nick, wide-eyed, clung to his every syllable.

When the flurry of snowboard talk and excitement settled and the calendar showed weekends full of soccer, I found myself agreeing to let the boys skip school on a Friday to take them up the hill. Specifically, Snow Bowl, just northeast of Flagstaff.

I signed Nick up for a lesson -- he had never snowboarded before -- and Blake and I enjoyed a few intermediate runs.

And as the day went on, there were some things I learned after skiing for the first time in more than a decade. Things like:
  • Shorter is better these days. As I waited my turn in the rental shop a poster greeted me, displaying a 1995 ski -- a 205, long and skinny -- vs. today's ski -- a 170 in my case. And as I handed my boots over to the rental shop guy getting my skis and bindings ready, he said, "Nope, you don't need to do that anymore." And at that moment I was glad I didn't wear that bold purple, green and black ski jacket that screams 1990. Yep, only the rental guy need know I haven't skied in 12 years.
  • It's still instinct for me to turn my head as I'm going up a chairlift and expect to see Lake Tahoe behind me.
  • Riding on a chairlift with your almost 13-year-old son when he's talkative and in a great mood was enough to make my day.
Nick snowboards for the first time.
  • And riding with said son with the light shining just right on his face, I can see the slightest beginnings of peach fuzz above his lip. "Yep," he said matter-of-factly when I mentioned it.
  • Despite the bickering and fighting at home between 9- and 13-year-old brothers, that when it comes down to it, Blake is an amazing big brother to his siblings. When Nick returned from his lesson, he insisted that Nick ride up the lift with him so that "things don't get messed up." Hmmm ... thanks, Blake . He then continued to give Nick pointers and praised him as he progressed and zoomed down half the hill without a fall.
  • It never gets old watching your child learning and improving. From my standpoint, it looked like Nick wasn't enjoying himself during his lesson. As the instructor made them walk up a hill, he was last and looked plain tuckered out. I was afraid that when we picked him up at noon he would be ready to go home. But I was wrong. He was eager to get on the lift and finally conquered exiting the lift after four tries. He then proceeded to tackle the mountain, improving with each run. We even got him to go on "a big lift" at the end of the day.
  • That I don't think I'll be trying snowboarding anytime soon. Too much time on your butt. Too much hassle taking your boot in and out and in and out. I'll take the skis, thank you very much.
  • Skiing is like riding a bike. You get back out there and it all comes back to you. Thank goodness.
  • That hearing your kids say over and over how much fun they had and repeatedly thanking you like you just plunked down a million dollars in front of them is the best part of all.
  • That I still love to ski and am planning our next trip up.

Blake cruises down the mountain like an old pro.

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