Monday, November 28, 2011

Feels Like Coming Home to Ski Season

What a week it was to kick off the ski season!  
For opening day last Tuesday, I snuck Bridget away from preschool for a girls' day on the slopes.  (I knew taking Timmy also, who is almost brand-new to skiing, with just one parent was a recipe for disaster - he needed some undivided attention.)  The sun was shining and everyone at the Learning Center was just happy to be back on snow.  Although I was feeling a bit wary at first that the strip of man-made snow on the bunny hill might be too narrow for her, she surprised me with her skill at negotiating her way around.  I could hardly contain my enthusiasm as I saw her hop onto the chairlift with ease, chat about the snow guns blasting on the upper mountain on the ride up, and snake around other skiers and riders on her way down, as if it was all so natural. I was amazed at how much difference just a summer's time of growth made for her.
We returned that afternoon with Timmy to check in with Erin at the Bretton Woods rental shop to check their boot and ski sizing, test the bindings, and get a quick tune-up.  After two years in the smallest boots and skis they make, Bridget finally graduated to 80cm skis and a slightly larger boot.  To see what they needed, Erin took the liner out of the ski boot shell and had each child put a foot in.  We wanted a thumb's width of wiggle room in the toes and behind the heel.  For the ski length, Erin said to start a height between their chest and chin.  As they get older the ski length varies more by ability, but at this stage it is based more on height.
Timothy was overjoyed with the idea of having his own skis and boots, and tromped around in the boots until I had to make him take them off.

A wonderful blanket of snow over the mountain called my name on Wednesday morning, and this time I left the kids at preschool for some Outdoor Mom fast and furious laps on Bigger Ben and Bretton's Wood trails.    The snow mounds were soft and edgeable and I charged the slopes until my unaccustomed quadriceps begged for mercy.  

After a a most satisfying day of Thanks with friends and family, we returned to the slopes on Friday, the whole family and bags of gear in tow.My husband Matt and I took turns, one guiding Timothy down his first runs on real skis, while the other tried to keep up with Bridget.  

Now confident enough to cruise ahead without Mom or Dad right nearby, I realized that I had to think a few steps ahead of my daughter to set her up (as best I can) for success.  If I didn't talk with her before we got off the chairlift, she was so eager that she would barely wait for me to come along.  So on the ride up, we would talk about what she needed to do, so that she wasn't just careening down the hill, barely controlling her speed.  My brother from Colorado, a long-time Ski Dad himself, suggested that to help her avoid sitting back on her skis, "stand up tall, clap your hands and wiggle your toes."  We also worked on making "snakeys" down the hill to get her to turn more, and Dad played "Red Light, Green Light" with her to practice stopping.

Timothy picked out his first ski helmet from TreeTop Sports, a Giro Slingshot, just the right size for a little monkey.  The Paul Frank Julius monkey design was irresistible to Timothy, and I was glad to support a local business on Black Friday.

The kids were eager to return on Saturday morning, and Bridget practiced more turns while we coaxed Timmy into sliding along without the support of Mom or Dad.  Later, while Dad took Bridget on her first run ever off the Bethlehem Express Quad, Timmy enjoyed a muffin on the bench outside the base lodge before heading back over to the Learning Center to play with the elephant slide and pet Spotty Dotty the giraffe.

 So, what has worked for you when the kids start to "get it?"  

Monday, November 21, 2011

Let the Fun Begin!

Free skiing and riding at Bretton Woods for opening day tomorrow! Complimentary lift tickets all around on November 22 for those fortunate enough to be able to sneak away to celebrate the (unofficial) beginning of winter at Bretton Woods.   They’ll be starting with the Learning Center Quad tomorrow, with a few fun terrain park elements, and hopefully we’ll be skiing on Bigger Ben and Bretton’s Woods trails off the Bethlehem Quad by Friday.  So get your Thanksgiving grocery shopping done today and join me on the slopes tomorrow!

The start of the ski season has always been full of anticipation for me, as memories of powder days and bluebird skies come flooding back after being put on a shelf for the summer while we enjoyed the warmer side of the year.  But now as a mom, there’s a new source of inspiration as I see four-year-old Bridget and her shadow, two-year-old Timmy, get that sparkle in their voices as they talk of skiing and playing in the snow. 

Although I know that for myself there are always new tree lines that need discovery and new skills to be mastered on the Nordic trails, I’m more excited this year to see where the slopes and trails will take my son and daughter.  At the end of last season, Bridget was starting to venture off the bunny hill for a few runs, and Timmy was eager to ride the chairlift like the big kids.  Their growth seems exponential at this stage, and I’m so looking forward to watching them gain confidence and success. 

If the excitement of ski season was ever in doubt, though, there’s one sure way straight to inspiration: a Warren Miller film!  Warren Miller is a ski legend, famous for his plethora of movies that celebrate all the things we love about the sport.  Famous snowsports athletes are flown all over the world to show off their skills, set to the background of jaw-dropping cinematography and heart-pumping music that would get even the most reluctant off the couch.  And this year, part of that world-renowned skiing will include a segment from Tuckerman Ravine, shot on the other side of our own Mount Washington

We’ve arranged for a babysitter this Friday night so we can join in the Homecoming festivities centered around the showing of this year’s film, "... Like There's No Tomorrow".  In addition to the adrenaline-fueled movie, there’s some great swag for the taking in raffle prizes from TreeTop Sports and the movie sponsor, RAMP Sports

Hope to see you there!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Getting Ready for Winter at the Boston Ski Show!

After a wonderful summer of hiking, biking, camping and paddling, Bretton Woods Outdoor Mom is back for the winter! Following the big October snowstorm, I'm dreaming of that first day back on the slopes at Bretton Woods: I'm envisioniong a warm-up on Bretton's Wood trail, with some big, arcing GS turns over some fresh corduroy, then perhaps some tighter turns and rolls on the classic New England trail, In Between.

Four-year old Bridget is looking forward to skiing as well; on the morning of the snowstorm a week ago, she told her Dad, "let's go wake up Mommy and Timmy so we can go skiing!" It's hard to explain to a four-year old that a freak snowstorm in October doesn't mean winter is here quite yet, but we assured her that ski season was right around the corner, and enjoyed some backyard sledding and snowman-making instead.

One of my favorite ways to pass the time until we can start skiing is a trip to the Boston Globe Ski & Snowboard Expo. If you haven't been before, it's a great way to check out all the new happenings in the snowsports world, with deals and giveaways from the resorts, great buys on ski gear, and live entertainment. This year, I'll be there with the Bretton Woods crew, sharing my tips on outdoor adventures with kids and seeing what other parents do that makes Bretton Woods family programs so special. We'll also be offering up a chance to win a FREE ski and stay package at the Omni Mount Washington Hotel and special pricing for Bretton Woods lift tickets just for ski show attendees! We'll have a kids area, with coloring and stickers to get the little ones excited too.

New this winter for the Bretton Woods Outdoor Mom, I've created a Facebook page and Twitter feed to make it even easier to keep in touch. I hope you'll follow me and share your trials and tribulations with your adventures as well.