ski lift

As a parent, it is so easy to get caught up in the every day grind especially when you have multiple children.  And I have found out the hard way, there is no pleasing everyone.

But just as you teach them to eat, to dress and to clean themselves, an essential part of parenting is teaching them how to have fun.

‘Well, they certainly already know that.  Have you not seen them running around the house like madmen, laughing and giggling?’

Yes, they know how to have fun already.  They are born that way.

But what are teaching them, is how an adult has fun.

Have you noticed?  This is a skill easily lost.  And kids learn the best from example.

I took my older two to Alpine Valley in Elkhorn, Wisconsin yesterday. I cannot believe that it is only an hour and 20 minutes away from here, basically a straight shoot up 31.

Both of my boys (10 and 13 years old) had only been snow skiing once a few years ago on a boy scout trip.  From this trip where he and his buddy figured out things the hard way, my 13 year old thinks he knows how to ski.  My 10 year old did not want to go as he remembered not knowing how to ski, so I had to drag him.

And no, we don’t have the money nor time for this, but I found it anyhow as I am realizing just how fast time starts going as you get older.

Lift tickets were $45 a piece (until 5:30pm where night skiing kicks in).  Equipment rental was $27 which made everything a $300 day when you included food, etc. in the equation.  Of course, it being MLK weekend, these were holiday rates; next time, I will look for some Group-on’s or other deals.

One of the things I noticed is just how many accents and foreign languages you hear.  It seemed to me over half of the people there were from somewhere else.  I liked that as it made it seem like we went a lot farther than the hour and an half trip that we took.

The oldest people on the slopes tended to be ski instructors – Peter Pan ski bums oh what a life!, but there was also a good smattering of solidly middle aged people (what I consider myself to be at 44) either enjoying themselves on the slopes or enjoying them with their children.

On this busy weekend, the lessons were sold out by the time we got there, so I had to do my best on instructing my 10 year old.

It was not easy.  After my 13 year old’s initial attempts on the bunny hill (consisting mainly of yelling at him, ‘what the hell are you doing, you idiot’), the 10 year old had decided he had enough.  I had to send the 13 year old up the chair lift on his own while I undid the blow to his confidence and attempted to teach him how to ski.  It took about half the time we were there teaching him, but thankfully, we had ‘it‘ – the moment when he is skiing down a slope enjoying himself and saying to himself I can do this.

What I love about snow skiing:

  • The chair lifts are my favorite part.  Just like an airplane, the moment the chair lifts you off the ground.  You take a deep breath, relax and enjoy the sites on the way up.
  • How the cold does not matter.  When we initially got out of the car, the wind hit us and I thought to myself, oh my, this is going to be brutal.  But by the time you get everything covered up, with all the warm bodies of people around, the exercise that you are doing and the sunshine, I did not even feel the cold.  It was great to be outside all day long in Chicago in January.  I miss that!
  • And of course, there is the skiing itself, swishing down the hill enjoying the company and the nature along the way.

What do you love about snow skiing?  Any hints on snow skiing in and around the Chicago area?  I know there are a couple of local ski spots (Villa Olivia in Bartlett and Four Lakes in Lisle), but to me, it is worth the extra bit of distance and money for the size of it and the remoteness.