The Nervous Dad
Over my lifetime, skiing has been a sport that I have enjoyed but I have only got out a a few times each winter. When I blew out my knee several years back, I was very reluctant to ski following the surgery and that reluctance lasted for almost 10 years! I finally got back on the slopes last year hitting both Attitash and Wildcat for runs during a very nice spring season. Last year I got out a few more times but this winter approaches, while I plan on skiing some, my focus is on the kids because they are the one's learning how to ski. As I type this note, I am reminded of the first time my oldest daughter took her first lesson at Attitash.
As the picture shows above, I was nervous heading into the lesson. I positioned myself on the deck closest to the bunny slope, watching from afar so my daughter would not see me (I was told that it was best to stay away so she would learn something - if I was visible, she might stop and then not learn anything). It was her first time on the mountain (and at Attitash as a result) anywhere and while the bunny slop is not that imposing, I was still worried how she would handle it as she was somewhat shy and new experiences seemed to bother her (not anymore by the way but that is a story for another day). So as I sat there on the deck, somewhat excited and somewhat worried all at the same time, I thought back to my first lesson...wait a minute, I never took a lesson! But I do remember my first time on the slope.
It was at Nashoba Valley, in Massachusetts, some 20+ years ago, as part of a school program in the 7th grade. We ventured to the slopes and for whatever reason I decided that I did not need lessons on this day because I was a hockey player (and good skater). While that logic only holds a little merit (skating helps with the balance end of things), it was probably not the best choice at the time. I started on the "T bar" (I think it was called) and as soon as I got on, I fell down, blocking the line...for a very long time! Heck, I could barely stand up so this was predictable...and embarrassing. It happened a many more times that night (and I STILL have trouble with such a lift). Later, after having got up the mountain and skiing around, I decided I was good enough for the jump and that ended up being a problem as well as I crashed right in front of it blocking the jump... for a while! It was from this experience that I decided my kids should at least take a lesson in this sport if they are ever going to pursue it so there actions don't lead them to be embarrassed by it.
Returning back to my daughter's lesson at Attitash, she ventured out to the bunny slope wearing her "Dora the Explorer" helmet in what is expected to be a 2 hour group lesson - luck would have it, nobody else is in the group showed up and she ended up getting a 2 hour private lesson! The ski instructor, as I tweeted a long while back, was fantastic and he sat down with her, going over the basics at the start. They covered all sorts of things and by the end, she was not scared to go down the hill or get onto the magic carpet for that matter. Granted, she could not really control her direction or her speed (she almost crossed over the magic carpet at one point) but she was having a blast. At one point she went in for some hot chocolate (because her toes hurt) and later came back out for some more bits of knowledge like "Pizza" (which she had been learning in dancing and it was a similar formation with one's ski's). At the end, she ventured off the bunny slope with her tiny ski's, sporting a very big smile all awhile.
As for my my nervous state, it evaporated over the course of the lesson because any fear I had of my daughter not doing well never came into play and the care that the instructor was taking with my daughter was just fantastic (in fact from beginning to end, registration to skiing, the whole process went so smoothly). The instructor shared with me after the lesson what he went over with her and what we could work on before the next lesson. So what is the takeaway here? Well, if you are not a good skier "skill wise" (like myself) or if you never took a lesson, perhaps one is in order for your first time skier before you get them on the hill. I personally like Attitash since I have had good experiences with their school and people. Other options would beWildcat (the sister Mountain of Attitash), Bretton Woods (I read they are doing a major upgrade to their ski school), and Cranmore Mountain (very popular given it is a very family friendly place). Whatever place you choose, I think it would be worth it (versus enduring the embarrassment I undertook several years ago).
With that said, below is some links to the Learn to ski programs in the area near our place, if so choose to explore this option.
Bretton Woods: http://brettonwoods.com/winter_sports/nordic/ski_school
Cranmore Mountain: http://www.cranmore.com/winter/childrens_lessons
Attitash Mountain: http://attitash.com/ski-school.html
Wildcat Mountain: http://skiwildcat.com/lessons.html
King Pine: https://www.kingpine.com//lessons
Cannon Mountain: http://www.cannonmt.com/skischool.html