Hello Everyone –
Sometimes you just must go a little sideways after a perfect plan comes to a screeching halt because of school rules. You see, my son Christian’s middle school ski club had planned to go on their first trip of the ski season to Winterplace Ski Resort, this past Friday, January 6. However, due to about two-inches of snow and slick back roads, school was canceled for the day. As they say, “No Ticket, No Laundry,” because if the kids aren’t in school, there can’t be any extracurricular activities, such as ski trips to a nearby resort and that meant the cancellation of our first turns of the season.
But don’t you fret you friendly snow lovers out there – if the buses can’t go and there is no school, the family Subaru Forrester sure can make the trip. I can honestly say it didn’t take much convincing a certain 12-year old to give up a day of video games for a day on some of his favorite slopes at Winterplace. So that dad didn’t get completely worn out by someone’s youthful energy, a call to another young skier brought the sound of true excitement over the phone and plans for the first day on the slopes were quickly finalized in short order. In other words a quick call to both moms to make sure everything was cool was also in order and thankfully two thumbs up were given and away we went.
Now understand, when my son’s ski club goes to Winterplace, everything is in the package, lift ticket, rentals and lessons (no, I don’t have the patience to help two 12-year olds improve their skiing ability). I know that all the resorts in the region have the same kind of programs and that just makes everything turn key for the kids and chaperons. Hey, it is Learn To Ski and Snowboard Month across the country and there is no better place to learn to have fun in the snow than in the southeast. So a quick call to the folks at Winterplace letting them know of the situation and if something could be worked out for two young skiers ready to make their first turns of the season and score, everything was worked out and the only thing remained was getting to the slopes.
Now let’s be clear about something here, the last time I checked, 12-year olds can’t get themselves to the resorts, which means, yours truly, also looking for my first turns of the season, was going to have to be the chauffeur. Such is life or woe is me, right? Not hardly, as I really don’t know which one of the three of us were more excited. By the way, the report out of my son’s friend’s house was that it was tough to settle someone down after the first phone call suggesting the trip was made.
I have to share a quick conversation that occurred during the 90-minute trip. My son Christian has heard me educate many a reporter about the difference between artificial snow and manmade snow. So when my son’s friend asked if Winterplace had any real snow of the slopes, I didn’t have to say a word as Christian took up my slack on this one. He quickly explained that artificial snow was something that comes out of a can and you spray it on the windows during the holiday season. There is nothing artificial about manmade snow, they take real cold water and push it out into real cold air and manmade snow falls to the ground. The ski resorts are just helping Mother Nature out with putting snow on the trails. As they say, the apple doesn’t fall to far from the tree. My son’s friend was quite impressed with his snowmaking 101 lesson.
Now let’s get back to the column’s main point and that’s the first turns of the season. So after an easy trip, thanks West Virginia Department of Highways, and strapping on our equipment, it was time for that first lift ride and turns on the slopes. Last season Christian, after a few ski club trips became comfortable with skiing on mid to upper end intermediate trails. But that was last season and I was eager to see how he was going to handle those first turns of a new season. Both boys said they wanted to do a couple of warm up runs before going to their lesson and asked for me to tag along. When we got off the lift at the top of one of the easy blues, it was fun to watch both boys ease into the season and right before my eyes I watched my first turns of the season, made by two very excited middle school students. When we got to the bottom, it was easy to see four very big eyes through two pairs of goggles.
Remember this is one sport that it is good when things go downhill and that’s what happened over and over again for the next five or so hours. After those warm up runs it was off to the first lesson of the season and some teaching from one of Winterplace’s Professional Instructors, Chez. It was supposed to be a group lesson for the boys, but there were the only two students in the group so it turned out to be a private, two on one lesson with Chez, an instructor who has over 20 seasons of experience. I would love to know how many skiers he has taught through the years and how many folks who were taught by Chez that are watching their own kids now learn to ski. Long story short, an hour and a half later with Chez and the boys were ready for a little break and more turns with this old snowboarder.
Well the first turns of the season are now history and two very tired boys didn’t say two words on the ride home. They didn’t have to, the smiles on their faces, told the entire story. Lesson to learn parents, never forget those first turns, they are always the most special ones of the season.
That’s it for this week, much more to come as the season continues. Just remember whether it be cold or whether it be hot, we’ll weather the weather, whatever the weather will be. Think about it! See you on the slopes and again, Happy First Turns to everyone in Skisoutheast.com land.