Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Skiing at Massanutten

I am not a skiier. Turns out my son is, though. So throw another log on the fireplace, because it's time for our ski week at Massanutten, VA.

Benny is seven and his favorite Playstation game is SSX3. The SSX stands for "Completely Insane Death-Defying Snowboarding Game That Thumbs Its Nose at Physics." It is, I have to say, a really great game. But it gives the child a false sense of power over gravity, knee joints, and mountains. When we got a chance to go to Massanutten VA for a week, we knew that Benny would be eager to hit the slopes. We just weren't sure the reality would measure up to the fantasy, as he was determined to be sliding down rails, spinning 360s, flipping, ripping, and raging down the hill on his first day.

He was not, however, at all disappointed.

On the first day, Dan and Benny skiied for six hours. Benny took a couple of little classes, and then he and Dan just went up and down the beginner slope. He fell, and fell, and fell. And by the end of the day, he could stop, and kind of navigate around a little bit. It was absolutely fantastic to watch him persevering without complaint through all that hard work, all that trial and error. He never asked for a break, wouldn't eat, wouldn't rest, just wanted to ski, ski, ski. He did drink a Powerade. What's a hovering mother to do?

Here's a video of his first day:

Then it got really warm and they couldn't ski for a couple days, so we went to the waterpark and the caverns and whatnot -- more on that in another post. They got back to the slopes at the end of the week. Benny couldn't wait. They skiied like maniacs and had a great time. Here's a video of him at the end of his final day, when he was able to turn:

Was I completely panicked the entire time he had skiis strapped to his feet? Absolutely. I had all kinds of paranoid scenarios running around in my head. He would crash into a tree. A giant snowboarding teenager would smack into him and annhilate him. He'd be decapitated by the lift. He'd fall off the lift and roll down the mountain. Etc. I wasn't raised around skiing -- I kind of viewed it as an extreme activity engaged in by Olympic athletes and rich people with a death wish. I can see now that skiing is a skill that kids need, like riding a horse or swimming or playing chess.

Here's the first thing I saw when I arrived at the slopes after dropping them off and going swimming with the baby:

Yes, there are Benny and Dan, floating along on the chair lift, miles above the ground, with no seatbelt, no lap bar, nothing between them and certain snowy death. It did rather take my breath away. However, watching the total rapture and joy on his bright little face made all the panic manageable.

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