Today was the first day of my children’s “Ski and Snowboard Class,” scheduled to begin at 1 PM. Although I’d planned to leave by 10 AM so that we’d reach
Mountain High in plenty of time to rent skis for Olivia (her siblings all snowboard and have their own equipment) and get everyone to class on time, we arrived just before 1 PM…and at the wrong location! By the time we arrived – via shuttle bus – at the “West” resort, checked in, and stowed our computer-readable passes safely in our left pockets, it was after 2:30 PM and I was ready to go home.
That was only the beginning!
In light of
Parker's fall from the ski lift last winter, I assigned Reiley to be his “buddy” for the day, and admonished her to stay with him at all times. “No problema, Mama,” she said, pulling bright yellow duck tape out of her pocket. Before Parker could object, Reiley had affixed a giant X to the top of Parker’s helmet and quickly added a second X to his back. “So I’ll be able to find him among all the other little boys wearing black!” Pretty smart, huh?
With Parker in Reiley’s capable hands and both en route to the lift, I turned my attention to Olivia. Today was Olivia’s third time on skis ever, so I fully expected to spend more time keeping Olivia on her feet than staying on my own. I did not anticipate to spend the day hiking in the snow!
We started out okay. Olivia and I successfully negotiated the switchback lines up to the ski lift, and I managed to lift her up high enough for the scanner to read her pass without falling myself. More significantly, we both made it onto the lift on queue. Getting off was another matter entirely. I have a hard enough time getting off the lift as it is, without having to lift and guide a very beginner skier. As we approached the disembarkment point, I positioned myself at the edge of the chair and moved as far away from Olivia as I could. Terrified, she held onto my jacket as tightly as she held onto the back of the chair. Then, fingers crossed desperately as we swung over the top of the hill at the top of the lift, I put my board down and planted my back foot as I lifted Olivia out of the chair and onto the hill beside me. Unfortunately, when I urged Olivia to “go!” she did…still hanging onto me for her life.
The short story is that I “tripped,” hitting the ground just in time for Oliva summersault over me; before we could disengage ourselves and get up, another skier flew off the lift and into us. “Fan…tastic!” I thought.
Mustering every shred of optimism at my disposal, then, I guided Olivia to the top of the easiest slope and gave her a little shove. She hit the ground before my boots were back in their bindings. And so it went ALL THE WAY DOWN.
If I’d thought I was “done” before, I really was finished at this point…And then I saw the “Magic Carpet,” a kind of moving sidewalk set in the snow up a nearly flat slope next to the ski school. Hallelujah! Olivia and I spent the rest of the afternoon in that little corner of snowy Southern California. By the time we left, Olivia could sail successfully down the hill, over a “bump,” and turn around the corner to head back to the Magic Carpet.
It was a while before I spotted Reiley and Parker and waved them over, with just enough time for one more “run” before literally running to catch the last shuttle back to our car. Reiley graciously agreed to look after Olivia so that I could enjoy that last – and my only – run. (Gotta love that girl!)
I met the kids outside the lodge, then all of us -tired, very cold, and even more hungry – headed to the shuttle bus.
Was it worth it? For the moment, I’ll continue to withhold judgement and simply report that the kids’ response to my query, “Did you have a good time?” was an enthusiastic, “Yes!”