Learning to ski at 43: Discover Ski lessons at Snow Valley gets this mom back on the slopes
About 30 years ago, I joined my grade school class on a field trip that altered how I view downhill skiing. It was my first attempt, and for the next three decades, it was my last attempt.
Shortly into our class instruction, my friends convinced me that we could go up the hill to try out what we learned. At the top, I was quickly abandoned and left to figure out my own way down. After an incident that involved me sticking my poles into the ground to try to stop and tumbling down the remainder of the hill; I took my skis off and never looked back.
Until this year.
My gutsy five-year-old daughter saw the slopes at Snow Valley a couple of weekends ago and confidently announced that this was something she must do. Looking into kids ski lessons we learned that Snow Valley offered a Discover Ski program where you can get enough of an intro into downhill skiing that will, at the very least, get you going down the bunny hill by the end of your lessons.
We signed up for a mother-daughter day to see if it was something she wanted to continue with and, I admit, I was curious to see if it was the same as I remember.
The Discover Ski program is broken into two, one-hour lessons on the same day. Parking the car, I realized just how afraid of skiing I had become. I found myself taking some deep breaths only to be soothed by my daughter and told that it would be OK. It was then that I decided to let go of the past experience that was obviously holding me back and step into what could be.
We signed in at the front desk, then proceeded to get fitted for our helmet, boots and ski rentals, which are included in the Discover Ski program cost. Once outside, our teacher Sya taught us the basics such as getting our skis on and off, skiing on one ski, standing and stopping.
Within 30 minutes, we went up our first bunny hill.
After our first hour lesson, we had a two-hour break. The time is yours to do what you want and we chose to eat lunch in the restaurant and wander back out near the slopes to put our skis on and practice what we learned.
For our afternoon lesson, we met up with Julieta and we went straight to the bunny hill. We reviewed what we'd learned, and the next part of the lesson expanded learning about turning and controlling ourselves at faster speeds.
Both instructors were incredible. They explained everything; they were personable, especially with kids. And they were there if you were struggling with something - but they didn't allow themselves to be used as a crutch.
By the end of our second lesson, my daughter made it down the bunny hill unassisted without falling. She now wants lessons.
As for myself, I'll go again.
I have to say I enjoyed myself immensely. Sharing the activity with my daughter is always priceless. Once we started on the bunny hill, I thought panic would set in, but it didn't. I was so focused on my daughter's enjoyment and safety that we went down three times before I realized that I hadn't fallen once.
I know that my initial fear was of my own doing. I created it and lived with it well into my adult life.
But now all that has changed, and I'll be skiing into my 40's and, even maybe beyond.
Sheri Landry is the founder of www.ThisBirdsDay.com a popular Edmonton-based blog that allows folks to uncover their next adventure.