Even with the limited terrain, fresh snow and promising weather had all your Kinder instructors pumped… I had disparaging comments on my Darth Vader goggles from my “old folks” ski group … so changed lenses such that the kids could see that there is someone behind them. The themes for the day have one I always emphasize (Safety) and asked a few kids about their goals. There’s always one who wants to do a back flip! I’ll fill in the blanks on sheets provided and give them to Scotty to post on our Kinder Wall. We’ll be reviewing them through the season.
We were out the door shortly after my 9:00 alarm went off. Axel had poles (guess Dad missed the memo). He received one of my sergeant major “rules”: one-man-one-kit… everyone is responsible carrying their own equipment… but I did carry his poles this one time.
I did a boot check on the gondola.. three of the kids were in bedroom slipper mode. The team found out why I have poles trying to put snow caked boots into skis. I have them put one hand on my shoulder, kick leg back like a horse, I knock the snow off and place the boot into the bindings… repeat for the other foot. The team was ready in less than a minute or two.
With military precision we were up Red in short order. We threaded our way past the light board and into Upper Whiskey Jack where we did our side slipping drill. Kids knew to split into two lines. Nice! I introduced something new. Pretend there’s a banana in the front of each boot and “squish” them from your shins as you turn to help the skis finish parallel. Others on the hill were probably wondering what was going on when I had the kids shout “SQUISH” as they turned. The results on those Big-S turns were impressive. We made a right turn at the Chickpea and regrouped at the merge sign into Ego Bowl where I emphasized another safety rule: look up hill when we merge into another run. Axel and I shared our poles with the team. Hands up, shouting squish, we snaked our way to the Emerald Chair.
On our way from the top I had the kids climb the bank and drop back onto the road to Upper Whiskey Jack. Good improvement on the next round of side slipping drill. Brooklyn and Finley took turns leading the class to the Chickpea… making sure they looked up hill to see that it was safe to go before heading off. Down Papoose then skating (with hands behind backs) on Pony Trail to Orange Peel. Maleah, Brooklyn and Finley were the stragglers. The girls must have had a good story to share. :)
We skied the left side past the Tree Fort, looked up hill at the merge sign and tucked across the flats to the Pony Trail entrance. Keeping to the left side and the length of an elephant between you and the teammate in front of you … we kept a constant pace to Creekside gondola. Skis on the rack we were 15 minutes late for lunch. The “minions” building was packed!
Hungry kids! The fresh veggies, grilled cheese and jam sandwiches, some fruit and a cookie each was washed down with today’s swamp water (orange and cranberry juice). We gave up our table to the next shift arriving. The hardest workout of the day for me was getting vests off, helmets, gloves and jackets out of our laundry bag and reassembling eight children. In the confusion, Finley’s vest went AWOL. Thank you Lydia for finding us another one!
Skis back on at Raven’s Nest, into Expressway we had a bit of a race to the beaver bench. Soldis and Olivia gave us a master class in skating. Separating into two lines at the bench, we did “frog hops” . This is usually a morning drill that gets collective groans as the season progresses. Remembering to look up at merge signs, we skated to the Village Gondola. Much better getting skis bundled up and marching to load a gondola. I do like the joyous banter and squeals on the hill… so I gave permission to give a “primal scream” as we headed up. All I got was dead silence… huh? We then finished off a bag of gummies. Unloading, I told the kids to march to the Olympic rings with their skis. When I got there, they’d all climbed the podium with a delightful gaggle of Chinese tourists photographing the future Olympians.
Once more climbing and dropping the bank into Upper Whiskey Jack, Brooklyn and Maleah asked if we could do another “slip sliding” drill…. of course! I demoed using a side slip to initiate a first turn when we’re off. Riddley and Axel took turns leading the class to the Chickpea. From there I picked up the pace a bit as we headed to Emerald. I was impressed with the turns and stamina in those little legs!
I think Beckett was showing fatigue. He lined up behind Axel instead of beside me getting ready to load on the chair. Sheesh!
We skied non-stop to the slow sign below Roundhouse Roll. I asked how everyone felt … no complaints yet. We skied non-stop to the Chickpea. Olivia took the class to the road on Pony Trail. More skating. I barked encouragement to Finley, “skate, skate, skate”. All hands went up when I asked if they were “a wee bit tired”… so… slow Big-S turns this time on the right side of Pony Trail. With a short rest at the merge onto Highway 86 we hot footed it to the Creekside Gondola. I do like the new ski school entrance they’ve made for downloading.
We were fifteen minutes late (I hang my head), but lots of mileage today!
Next week’s theme is Happy Holidays… I look forward to seeing festive attire. No poles again this week. We’ll start our first session in the new year with one pole each.