Friday, February 7, 2014

Sense of Skiing Place

Growing up, I didn't have a "home mountain" where we skied all the time. Ever the frugal Yankee, my dad took us all over New England and New York, searching out "cost-effective" (read:cheap) ways for my sister and I to ski. There was a sense of adventure in the pre-dawn loading up all the gear and piling in to the car to explore new terrain. We kept a mental list of all the different places we'd been, some of which now aren't even in business anymore.

But there's always a bit of a learning curve when you go to a new resort.

I'm not a huge fan of crowds, so I like to know where to park, the best nook in the lodge to boot up, and a pattern to follow around the mountain to avoid the mid-morning rush. Time on snow is always too short, and I don't want to waste any of that precious time schlepping through parking lots or standing in line if I can avoid it.

Having insider knowledge can mean the difference between a lunchtime run-of-the-mill burger and a delightful twist on a standard lunch that makes your belly smile.

So while there are certainly times when we have an opportunity to ski at other mountains, I think its great that my kids are developing a sense of place at Bretton Woods.

To foster the kids' sense of accomplishment and spur them to try new trails, Outdoor Dad came up with the idea this year to have the kids keep track of all the trails they've skied this year on a trail map. Each kid has his or her own trail map, and on it they highlight the trails they've been on.

It's great to hear 4-year-old Timmy exclaim, "I get to add a new trail to my map!"

Timmy has always been a big fan of maps, and going back to the trail map again and again has been great in teaching where they are on the mountain, and how to get around.  If he has a favorite trail in mind, like the roller coaster ride over the big mounds older kids use to catch air on the Coos Caper terrain park, he knows that the easiest way to get there is on the Zephyr Quad.  Bridget has learned that you can't get to the fast steep turns of Fire Tower if you are standing in front of Chutters without skiing down to the base first.

There's also a sense of security in a familiar place. We obviously do our best to keep track of our little rippers at all time, but Timmy especially has a tendency to wander towards whatever he finds interesting at the moment. We've kept him in out sights so far (knock on wood), but we've talked about where we would meet if we ever got separated and I'm pretty sure he could find his way. I also know that with so many good friends always around the resort, he'd be sure to find a helping hand if he needed one.

There's a practicality of having a common language about where we are, where to meet, and later sharing tales about where we went. And as the kids get older and hitting the slopes without Mom or Dad keeping a constant watch on them, I know that there will be friends all over the mountain who recognize them and will let me know if there's any trouble.  Right now, however, I'm enjoying seeing them grow into confident explorers on their home mountain.

No comments:

Post a Comment