Ski lessons in confidence

Zipping over the snow with my son was a dream come true.

Being on the slopes together was a long time coming. Age, viruses, and life had thrown up enough barriers over the years that I hadn’t been sure when we’d get in a trip. Finally, a break in the storm of life had emerged and my two oldest sons and I joined a friend and his son for a skit trip.

I was torn between teaching my sons and getting them started with a ski school. After some reflection and swallowing my pride, I chose the ski school. It was the right choice even though the price made me grimace. With two beginner skiers and only one of me, it would have been exhausting for everyone. My eldest came out of the two hour session already having been up the lift and down the beginner slope once. The younger one was tired from the climb and ski routine they put him through. Still, he could stand on two skis, so that was a start.

We continued on the beginner slope and I could see the confidence building in my older son quickly. This took me by surprise. He hasn’t had the greatest affinity for sports to date and I had incorrectly assumed he was going to take longer to find his stride. This humbled me and reminded me to keep my assumptions in check.

On the flip side, my middle son was struggling. Despite his athletic inclinations, his dread of snow and getting wet was putting a damper on his ability to pick up skiing. With a mix of reluctance and nostalgia, I put him between my legs, made a snowplow and then headed down the slope with him. He immediately burst out in giggles and whoops with the snow racing under our skis. Was I picking the short term gain? Making a mistake by doing this? Perhaps. But I didn’t want to stop the joy he and I were both feeling. When he told me he liked skiing and was having a great time after another run, I knew that the soft touch was going to the way forward over the next two days.

Kids are certainly capable of many things, but having the right state of mind and being motivated will make or break a moment. Both kids were excited to go skiing. The oldest doesn’t mind heights, speeds, or the snow whereas my youngest is fears heights more and hates getting wet. More than their perceived athletic abilities, I was surprised to find that these characteristics played a big part in how quickly they picked up skiing.

The younger kid feels like he’s close. Perhaps one more day skiing this season and he’d get the confidence he needs to set out on his own. Break through the wall. We’ll have to act soon because the snow is quickly disappearing.