Monday, January 12, 2009

When kids ski badly

Have you ever met a kid who thinks they can't ski? All kids think they can ski. Usually really well. You've got to admire their little spirits. My beef is not with them but with their parents who just don't have a handle on the situation. I've been a victim of the claim
Oh, she is an intermediate skier! She has had lessons!!!!
Really? Two? Three? Why then, when her father was parked in the lodge bar, did I have to carry her skis down the hill while she slid on her butt after half an hour of tears and frustration (on my part as well)? I love skiing with kids, but I have completely absolved myself of teaching kids how to ski or generally putting up with any kid who cannot handle themselves on the mountain or at least keep their shit together if things do not go well.

While the rest of our group had a fabulous weekend skiing two days at Squaw (even if the snow was decidedly less than fabulous), my poor friend Matt spent the first day with his daughter's friend. I'm not sure what exactly her mother told him when approached with the idea of her coming on our ski trip, but it should have been this:
Oh, no—she can't really ski at all!! I mean, she's ok on the bunny slopes. Well, kinda. But she likes to watch tv in the ski cabin!! And she likes the lodge!!! And don't worry if she cries on the slope!! That's just what she does! Lessons? Oh, no. She wouldn't like lessons! Especially if everyone else is out there skiing!! OK! Bye!!!
And that probably would have encouraged the desired effect of having her daughter disinvited. If not, perhaps the mom could have added this:
Well, she doesn't have a lot of experience being away from home without us! But if she wakes up and starts crying at about three in the morning, just call us on the phone!! We won't mind at all!!!
Matt was a saint, claiming that this was his "cross to bear" and insisting that we not hang around them on the slopes to "share in the misery." The kid? She claimed later to have had a great time. Like I said, you've got to admire their little spirits. Or faulty memories.

Up later today: My Dad Films His Own Wipeout or Why Seniors Should Not Multitask, at least on the ski slope.


MixinMike said...

My daughter taught her nephew how to ski some years back. He couldn't take lessons that weekend because the classes were full. So my daughter forfeited skiing for THREE days to teach the little bugger. She said she pulled him up the ant hill over 50 times because he was even too scared to ride the magic carpet. Eventually, that same ski trip, he decidedly rode the chairlift for the first time and continued skiing the rest of the day on the beginner run, going full speed.

Sometimes, parents, relatives and friends are required to sacrifice their time to help out the little ones. She said it was tough work and really wanted to ski those days, but said that the memory of watching him go from 0 to 100 in a few days was more thrilling than anything.

Skiing can be pretty overwhelming and intimidating for many, for adults and especially children. Crying on the slopes is all part of being a kid. I say Bravo to Matt for taking care of the kid and not getting upset about it. He was the caretaker and it was ultimately his responsibility.

Monica said...

Ugh...I don't want to hear that! We're taking two kids with us this weekend and I hope this doesn't happen. Not that our kids can ski like Sophie, but they know their way around the beginner/intermediate hills for sure. No whining will be allowed!

Jen Yu said...

Ha ha ha! Oh woman, you crack me up! I'm sorry about the problem skier. Some kids just aren't cut out for that kind of thing. Most of the kids in my town learn to ski by the time they are 3 or 4. Pizza and french fries (wedge and parallel). And they're all fairly rough and tumble. Although I've seen major crying fits too... I'm guessing THOSE kids are from Boulder and the surrounding flats ;) You've already got Sophie on skis and quite a skier at that. You've done your part, hon. Not everyone is cut out for skiing (thank god, or else those f'ers would be yard-saling it all around us!)

Trish said...

Ooh. Add about 35 years to the little girls age and that coulda been me! We went to Park City for the very first time this year - I've never skied and barely ever seen snow (just call me Tropical Trish). My husband, God love him, is a great skier and knowing that he would blow a gasket trying to coach me down the ant hills, he foisted me off on the great instructors at Snowbird and Alta and took off for the black runs.

I cried, I screamed, I flailed. But my patient, saint-like instructor stuck it out with me, kept me out of danger, and by the end of five days I could ride a chair lift and ski down the "first timers" hill.

Hooray for anyone with the cool/patience to teach people to ski (including you for teaching Sophie)!!

The waking up at 3:00 a.m. crying thing? Not so cool.

Sabina said...

there was no head trauma, blood or stitches involved in the wipeout was there? sasha said his summer wound healed without a sign. can't wait for the movie!

adozeneggs said...

I totally understand. Your post makes me think back to when I was 7 or 8 and my parents rented all the equipment for me, when we got to the base of the mountain I cried "I don't want to do this". Dad was PISSED! I spent the weekend with mom in the lodge.
She took me again much later in life (maybe 19 or 20) to Utah and I finally took lessons and learned how to ski at Snowbird. Mostly, I loved my hot little outfit!! (it was the 80's) I have outgrown all my equipment so I haven't been in years, even though I live 15 minutes from Okemo and Jackson Gore. It's just not the same as out West.
So, I was one of those whiny kids, but at least I didn't annoy anyone ON the mountain!