Downhill or Bust: Lessons from the Ski Slope


Some kids like speed.

Kids love to go downhill.

They like the speed.
They like the thrill.
I even think that some of them like wiping out.
Speed freaks ignore cries of “slow down.”

“Snow plowing is bogus,” said Gavin, and nothing I could say would change that.

Never mind that Gavin is a first time skier and that the hill at Blackhawk Ridge doesn’t have obstacles or turns.

So how do you teach a kid like Gavin to slow down?

You don’t.

He may get it when one of two things happens: 1) he crashes into a tree or 2) he skis where the hill is more demanding. Even then, it might not matter.

When I think back, I rarely listened to adults when they cautioned me or told me to slow down.  In fact, telling some kids to slow down ensures that they won’t. I’ll remember that for next year.

Gavin prepares to head down.

Here are a few other lessons learned from Cross Country Ski Club 2012:

Kids eat way too much. They get snack after school and then get a snack after skiing. That’s okay, but then, they often got candy while skiing for completing tasks. Next year, I’ll ask that they cut down on the candy. No wonder so many of our kids are obese.
Kids will want to quit half way through the season. Don’t cave in to kids who say they don’t want to go. Once they get there, they’ll be fine.
• Sometimes, adult attention is a bad thing. I’ve got a few kids that soak up attention and took it to extremes. Kids should not be asking adults for help to put on their skis and boots on the last day. Nice try kids.
• Van contracts are good. Driving a 15-person van with 13 kids can be stressful, especially if the kids are acting up. So, each kid and their parent signed a van contract. The contract clearly stated the consequences for poor van behavior. Kids liked the clear boundaries and I liked worry trip van trips.
Poor snow is better than no snow at all. The only reason we skied at all this year was because Black Hawk Ski Club made their own snow. I felt lucky to ski as much as we did.

Now, it’s time to get ready for bike season. With this week’s crazy warm temperatures, the biking season is starting off fast. Thank you to Molly and all the wonderful volunteers at Blackhawk Ski Club. It was a great season.

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