The first time I went skiing I was sixteen years old. It was in the Poconos in Pennsylvania with a bunch of girlfriends. None of my friends gave me any pointers. Growing up in the seventies, I had seen plenty of “Susie Chapstick” ads where the cute skier in her cute matching ski outfit comes to a graceful stop in the middle of the slopes so she can re-apply her lip balm. It looked easy enough to me.
So, on that first day I simply got off the lift and skied straight down the mountain at lightening warp speed. I quickly realized that I couldn’t possibly stop to put on lip balm. In fact, I couldn’t stop at all. As I got to the bottom and saw the lift line I predictably crashed into the crowd and landed in a snow bank with my skis contorted in a pretzel formation that took several people to untangle. Luckily, no one, including me, was injured.
I’ve come a long way since that time, but as I took my daughters skiing for the first time, recently, the fear and frustration of that first experience came rushing back to me. My older daughter, who inherited some errant athletic gene not from her parents, was remarkably capable on skis. She tackled the bunny slope quickly, and then moved on to the intermediate slopes seamlessly. I would ski ahead and look up to see her cautiously, but comfortablly, zig zagging her way down the mountain. I was glad that her first experience was a positive one, one that she will hopefully want to repeat.
My six-year-old on the other hand was beyond frustrated. Every time she fell, she would stay there, spread eagle, face down in the snow and whine until someone picked her up. Because of her dead weight that I could not manage, my husband spent most of the time scooping her up off the ground. My older daughter and I would make three or four runs in the time it took him to do one with my little one. Good daddy; impatient mommy.
We decided that the next time we go, ski school will definitely be on our agenda. I just want her to know that feeling of gliding effortlessly down a mountain, the wind in your hair, the sun in your face, and the ability to stop and apply lip balm if you need it.
Amanda Lamb is a reporter for WRAL-TV, the mom of two and the author of several books including one on motherhood called "Smotherhood." Find her here on Go Ask Mom every Monday.