Let’s Race, Pappa!

 

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No sweeter words could have been uttered by one of our little girls than those three. Pappa (“T”) was ecstatic, to say the least. Songwriter(“K”) was not ready to leave the mountain just yet. She’d already spent the last couple hours going up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down…the magic carpet ride/green run at Tahoe Donner a couple Sundays ago. It had snowed non-stop all afternoon and we were expecting more. Storyteller (“L”) wanted to ride on the chairlift again but as it was only a 2-seater, Pappa couldn’t very well take them both at the same time (and yes, my hips still kept me on the sidelines).

This particular overnight ski trip was a huge success in Pappa’s mind. He had expected far less. He had expected that Songwriter (“K”) would be psyched to ski. She had already indicated a strong desire to ride the Yellow Chair lift and he couldn’t wait to take her up there. But he didn’t expect that she would be completely independent in her descents from the top of the magic carpet lift. He didn’t expect that she would teach herself how to slow down, speed up, turn left and right, and come to a complete stop – without any help whatsoever. And then to utter those words, “Let’s race, Pappa!” Well, let’s just say he was beaming with pride as he related the incident during the ride home.

We also didn’t expect that Storyteller (“L”) would stick with it as long as she did. In fact, both of them wanted to keep going after the operators said the lifts were closed. Bummed they were – while Pappa smiled in triumph. Yes, they both certainly had the makings of true diehard skiers. It was only a matter of time and practice.

Storyteller cried at first as she waited for Pappa to put on his skis for the first run of the day. She was nervous when they first got to the top of the magic carpet ride. She hadn’t yet gone up this particular one because she wasn’t ready at the last lesson she’d taken over the winter vacation. But Pappa knew she was ready. In fact, she had to go down the slightly steeper hill (than the one used in ski lessons) in order to know why she had to learn how to “pizza.” It was a realization that struck Songwriter the last time we were there. She realized how much faster she slid on that part of the hill and the “pizza” suddenly seemed important. We knew that Storyteller also needed that incentive.

So Pappa skied backward while he guided Storyteller down the run. That didn’t work quite so well because she was more concerned about him running into something or falling down…which he did, taking her with him. Then he decided to have her hold onto one ski pole as she practiced her “pizza”, making turns, slowing down and stopping. They skiied down side-by-side that way and Storyteller’s confidence grew by the moment. In fact, he had her ski down to me at the bottom of the run alone…each time, it would be from further and further up the mountain. For Storyteller, it’s a matter of practice and confidence – she clearly has the technique down.

I have to give it to Pappa. I admit I have been Ms. Skeptical, heavily influenced by my mommyness – worried that they would be too cold, that they would be too scared, that they would get too discouraged, that they weren’t ready, that they wouldn’t have as much fun as we wanted them to because of all of the above. It could be because I didn’t really learn to ski until after I turned 30 – with a healthy amount of fear of speeding down steep ski runs that would likely result in torn ligaments and/or broken bones. So while I always bought into the “start ’em young” philosophy for most things, particularly skiing, I still have had my doubts.

And now, at 4 years old, just 2 months shy of 5, I’m a believer. Our little girls are going to be skiing the green runs this year, by themselves. Next year, I have no doubt they’ll be skiing green *and* blue runs…perhaps with a black one thrown in (at the end of the season) because I don’t think Pappa will be able to help himself. And with all the doubts I still have (and always will, it’s that cautious mommy thing), I’m going to be beaming with pride, just like Pappa.

An original It’s Never Easy But It’s Always Fun blog post.

 

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