We finally went skiing for the first time this year and although it was pretty cold, we did have a lot of fun and stayed a lot longer than we did last year.

We had a little  trouble getting our tickets - it is always hard to find the ski club people, and I was incorrectly asking for Carnegie Mellon instead of the Bettis ski club.  Bettis has a number of subgroups as far as the ski club is concerned.  I think the price is also higher than last year, though maybe I didn't notice as much last year since Heather wasn't skiing, Jonathan didn't need a ticket, and I didn't need skis.

Jonathan got his skis on first and went off walking by himself saying, "See, I already know how to ski."

We tried out the "Edge Wedgie" that my parents' friend Jay Crowley (a ski instructor) recommended for us.  Jonathan didn't really like it, "it feels weird".  But, he did use it a little bit, and it definitely improved the placement of his skis.  The edge wedgie holds the tips of your skis together with a small rubber cord, thus forcing you to be straight or in an A shape, rather than a V, that Jonathan tends to do.  When he is going slow, it isn't a problem, but he did fall at least once due to putting his feet in a V, and then ending up in a split as the skis went farther and farther apart.

He was quite interested in the ski lifts, and on our way back to the lodge, after declaring that he was cold, he saw the lifts and asked to get on one.  Heather and I talked about it for a while, and explained that it would be cold up there, and that we would have to ski down quickly, but he insisted that he would like to do it.  He loved the chairlift ride, though when we got to the top and were discussing which trail to take down, he started walking back towards the chairlift saying, "I want to go back."  After explaining that the only way down was to ski and that he had insisted that he wanted to come up, even though I thought he might not like it, he did agree that he still wanted to ski down.

So, off we went, and he was thrilled by the speed and exclaimed, "We're going so fast that Mommy can't catch up with us!"  I just held onto his hand as we went down.  There was one crowded spot right on a turn, and I realized I was going faster than would work (Jonathan was on the outside of the turn) and so he started to fall, but I just picked him up and we went down in that manner until the crowd cleared up.  We tried skiing with him in between my legs, but it is harder on my back and it is also harder for him to really ski rather than be supported by me.  After we got close to the bottom and Jonathan asked to go faster, I lost my grip on him (his hand came out of his mitten) and so got some snow in his face, and then on his bare hand so he wasn't happy about that.

We went in for the pizza party, but Jonathan said that he wanted to go back out again, though not on the chairlift, so we did a couple of runs on the small slope, and then walked around a lot while Heather and Sanda went up to the top a bunch of times. After a while, I got tired of walking around with Jonathan on his skis, so I put on my skis and Noah was able to sleep comfortably (and warmly) in the sling inside my jacket, and then Jonathan and I could have more fun skiing together.  It wasn't that hard at all on the small slope to keep my balance, though there were plenty of strange looks at the feet sticking out of the bottom of my jacket.

The plan had been for Heather and I to do a couple runs after Sanda was done, but Jonathan decided he would rather go up with us instead of going inside, so we did one run more all together (though without Noah - even though Jonathan thought that we could ski with Noah in the sling). I was transferring Noah to Sanda and had left Jonathan at the top of the slope - he didn't want to go down by himself to meet up with Heather.  I am not sure what happened, but on the way back to get him, I saw a girl in the process of taking him down the slope.  I am not sure how much he asked for it, or how much she prompted him to go down to Heather.  We went up to the top of the mountain again and down without incident.

We were tired by the time we got home, but we had a fun day together.

Posted by Jon Daley on January 23, 2007, 9:26 pm | Read 14467 times
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Don't forget to tell about the magic floor. [On the small slope, they have this nifty "magic carpet" that you ride on standing up, sort of like the moving sidewalks at an airport, though soft material, which is nicer on your skis. Jonathan can do one of the magic carpets entirely by himself - last year, he needed help getting on and off, but this time did perfectly well getting on, and just a little help/encouragement to keep moving when getting off. The other carpet has a uphill leading to the entry point, so it was hard to climb up to it]

I like going on the chairlift. It brings us up high, it just scoops us right up.

Posted by Jonathan on January 23, 2007, 9:55 pm

It was really weird to watch the girl and Jonathan come down the slope. It was dark and foggy and hard to see, plus I thought that Jonathan was going in with Sanda. I recognized Jonathan's snowsuited shape, but thought it must be another kid. It had to be another kid - "Jon" was carrying a snowboard! So it couldn't be them. Unless...did Jon borrow a snowboard to try? Then why was Jonathan coming, too? Can't be them. Now they're closer, I can see it really is Jonathan. The person with him has long curly hair... What is going on? "Is this your mommy? He said his mommy was down here." Jon came down while we were still having the conversation. It was surreal.

Posted by joyful on January 25, 2007, 10:59 am

Jay (AKA Just Jay, as opposed to Uncle Jay), Mom's friend who gave us the ski wedgie, emailed this, and I thought saving it here would be handy when I want to look it up again.

If you have a hill that allows him to stop in a parallel stance, that's a good thing. He'll learn stance and balance and get comfortable moving on skis. You will eventually have to get him on a pitch that makes it necessary for him to develop his wedges and wedge turns. When you do, a good way to get him to understand the concept of skiing is to demonstrate a wedge stop in front of him then step carefully out of the wedge and show him how the skis pile up the snow underneath when they are on a high edge angle, causing the skis to stop. My guess is that Jonathan is a cognitive learner. Understanding the physical consequences of his movement on skis will make sense to him.

Once he gets the concept of a wedge stop, do the same demo, but heavily weight the left (or right) ski with a high edge angle and turn to a stop. Step out and show him how the movement creates a pile of show you can push against to turn to the right. Now do the same with the other ski.

A couple of additional tips:

- Take the ski off his strong foot (probably the one corresponding to his strong hand) and have him do a half wedge and push with the other one as he walks down the hill. Repeat the process numerous times and let him see the pile of snow he creates under that ski and how it moves the ski across the fall line.

- Put him back on two skis and tell him to glide in a wedge as he puts the tip of one ski in front of the other. That will require a natural movement onto the downhill ski and a lightening (and flattening) of the uphill ski resulting in a turn.

- Give him effective demos and try not to overload him with too much information at once. Give him lots of mileage and when he falls, immediately see it as a positive learning experience. "OK Jonathan, you fell, it's apart of the process, what did you learn?"

- Bring your boys to Pats Peak. Noah will be old enough next year for us to play "catch and throw" with him on the bunny hill. Jonathan will enjoy the two new conveyor lifts we put in the beginner area and where the "J" bar used to be. He can go up and down by himself.

I know of a quaint bed and breakfast only 15 minutes away with a hot tub and innkeepers who love kids. The ultimate ski vacation an it's all free. I'll set you up with lift tickets and rentals.

Posted by jondaley on February 10, 2007, 12:16 pm

I'll bet I can guess who the proprietors of that B&B are!

Posted by SursumCorda on February 10, 2007, 1:31 pm
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