Last Chair on the Bunny Slope

I used to judge the quality of a day on the slopes by how many runs I could get in.  What can I say?  I’m cheap and obsessive.  If I’m going to shell out beaucoup dinero for lift access, I’m going to get my money’s worth.  A good day was anything with 20+ runs in it.  Get the first chair in the morning, eat lunch on the lift, push it until the last chair in the afternoon… I think my personal record out here in Colorado is something like 25 runs.  Sure, your legs are jelly by early afternoon and you end up with blisters from all that lift time with heavy boots and skis yanking your legs down, but doggone it, economic efficiency is achieved.

Whether you plan it or not, parenthood changes ones approach to a lot of things.

Even the trip to the ski shop was a Big Deal.

Even the trip to the ski shop was a Big Deal.

To say Joe was excited about his first ski trip would be an understatement.  Going to the ski shop to rent gear was a big deal.  Packing the night before was a big deal.  Eating breakfast was a big deal.  When we finally arrived at Loveland and actually saw the skiing taking place… Joe was revved up to about two hundred RPM.

Audra gave me some pointers on teaching a 4 year old–excuse me, a 4 1/2 year old–how to ski.  We started on the very shallow hill and worked on simply gliding across the snow.  We spent an hour falling, gliding, skidding, and messing about on the very shallow bowl which doesn’t even qualify as the bunny slope.  After a break, we tried it again.  Lean forward, look ahead, arms in front like you’re driving a car.  There’s even a dummy chair lift chair so you can practice getting off and out of the way (the crux for many beginners).

Who's psyched to ride the chair lift?

Who’s psyched to ski?

Joe was dying to try the chair lift and, despite my trepidation, I put on my skis and we got in line.  In for a penny… but it turned out really well.  Joe mostly skied holding my hand with occasional “driving the car” (and then falling over, mostly laughing).  He was so excited about everything from getting on the chairlift to seeing other kids on skis to seeing the snowy mountains to seeing the wheels that the cable goes over to, well, pretty much everything.

All told, we took four rides up the bunny slope lift including just about the last chair of the afternoon at 4 pm.  I don’t like to gush about my kids, but it was indescribable to see him so excited about skiing.  He’s getting to the aloof age when, if he’s thinking about it, he will only grudgingly admit enthusiasm for anything.  I only wish I’d been able to pull out the camera to get him “driving the car” and grinning like a lunatic on a beautiful day in the mountains.

That was surprisingly fun!

That was surprisingly fun!

Joe wasn’t the only one tearing it up on the slopes.  Amy got in three runs with Audra–her first in at least two years.  Peter and I took a quick quartet of rides up the adjacent Lift 3 and down some nice blue runs. Peter’s a racer and at least three times faster than me, so it was fun trying to keep up on my light tele gear “tele-pining” like crazy.  After four runs, my quads were pretty toasted; I’ll blame it on trying to keep up with Peter, not my own lack of conditioning.  Yeah, that’s it.

So the grand total was eight runs for me (four with Joe) and three for Amy.  Back in the day, I’d have done nine runs before breaking (or not breaking) for lunch.  I wouldn’t trade it.

Many thanks to Peter and Audra and their kids for making it a tag-team family outing kind of day.

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