Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Colorado Christmas: Skiing

My mom's whole entire family (minus one sickie) settled in at a lodge at the base of Pike's Peak for three days between Christmas and New Year's. We are so blessed by the generosity of my grandparents who provided the whole experience, and golly did we enjoy ourselves!

There was much snow fun to be found, but the thing I had looked forward to the most was skiing with Eva. She's at that magical age of four and a half, when most Knudtsen descendants begin their love-hate relationship with skinny skis. Cross country skiing is the cheapest form of skiing, and it allows you to really savour some of the high, remote places that downhill skiing doesn't. Plus, there are no lift lines, no crowds, and no near-fatal injuries (usually). Even though, as a kid, I much preferred adrenaline-packed downhill skiing, we all learn to cross country ski, and by the time we're adults I think most probably prefer it. Though, they're so different, it's hard to judge which is more fun.

Anyway. In the bazaar way that all things in life are cyclical and amazingly repetitive, we arrived in Colorado at the exact time that Eva was four and a half, that my uncle Steve (former CSU ski team member) was without a small child of his own (first time in 20 years), and that there was good snow. Just like 24 years ago when the stars aligned in the exact same way, allowing me my first skiing experience. I still remember the drudgery of attempting to make those skinny, slippery, extra long feet go somewhere. And the relief and joy of being perfectly clutched between my uncle's long legs while he did all the work. He would ski with me between his legs, allowing me to work on only the basics: getting the skis on and balancing on them.

For Eva's first run at it, I told her we only had two goals: learning how to get up when she fell down, and balancing long enough to go forward. Simple.

As a former ski coach myself, I know that Eva had a very typical first skiing experience. This is what it looked like:
andand then
and againAnd then finally...

then, yay! You're doin' it, Eva! Keep it up! Nice job, girl! Eventually, to my relief, we saw Uncle Steve and Daddy pop up over a ridge. Steve's happy-go-lucky, infectiously optimistic voice hollered, "Yahoo, Eva! That's right!"Then, with his downright incredible sense of balance, he took over.
That is, until Eva wriggled herself free (ever the independent one...) and was plowed over by her truest aid and ally.
The entire experience lasted less than an hour, which is plenty of exposure for a first timer. For me, it was priceless to be on skis for the first time with one of my own kids. I didn't even mind the grunting, groaning, being pulled down into the snow, moaning, coaxing, and (yes) tears of the first 75% of the ordeal. I was just happy to be at 9,000 feet above sea level, lungs burning, staring at the back side of Pike's Peak. Invigorating !
And Eva says she liked skiing and wants to go again. So another generation of skinny-skiers begins...


The Mrs. said...

"happy-go-lucky, infectiously optimistic voice" - perfect words for uncle Steve. I love it. I'm a reluctant skinny skiier myself, but despite what thoughts there are to think of me, I actually enjoy it!
Yay, Eva!

Ehlan said...

Olivia got her first pair of X-country skiis for Christmas and loves them! We've been out a couple of times and she's done surprisingly well for not quite 3! I'm so glad she is enjoying it so far!