We vowed after getting everyone in bed on that first night, that the next day we would be up early and on the slopes when they opened. We wanted to make sure we got some English speaking ski instructors to keep this experience a great one. It was a bit frigid, but nothing a little hot chocolate couldn't fix. At least for a few moments. On went all of the layers again and into the car everyone waddled. I think my favorite was when Luke, exasperated, yelled out, "MY CLOTHES ARE STUCK IN MY BUM!!!!" I guess the term "wedgie" hasn't surfaced yet in his little life. Poor thing. His hot chilies long underwear weren't very snug on his skinny, little, legs, so he kept suffering from this ailment.
But alas, we figured out a solution and finally got everyone onto the slopes.
Kate couldn't wait to get out there with her instructor. He was from Denmark and had her laughing from the moment he met her. I think she could have stayed in lessons the entire day instead of just 2 hours. Jake didn't want to leave my side, despite his beautiful, Chilean, instructor. It took him a few minutes and guiltily, I walked away from him as he cried. I knew he'd come around, but it was still so hard to leave him like that!!!
So they were off. That meant, Joe, Luke and I could ski on the bunny hills for a bit together. Tough for Joe to help Luke out when he was on a snowboard, so I took the task of having little man ski between my legs. I think I ruined my lower back skiing hunched over all day long, but hearing that guy squeal with pure joy and yell for me to go faster and faster was right up there with some of the happiest moments in my life.
The 2 hours flew by and before we knew it, we needed to get Kate and Jake. I prayed they had smiles on their faces-- we found our way to the meeting spot and what do you know, they had fallen in love with the sport!!! Couldn't have asked for a better start! So we celebrated with lunch. Couldn't have eaten fast enough. All they wanted to do was get back on the slopes.
So we did.
The following day, the instructors told us that even though Luke wasn't 4, we could sign him up for lessons because he had been skiing with me. SWEET! All 3 kids in lessons at the exact same time? Couldn't have been more perfect. We all watched as Luke went off with his instructor. Cutest thing I've ever seen. You might say I got a little misty eyed seeing that little bod leave my side.
Yep. I think he would be OK.
Kate and Jake jumped into their skis and with no hesitation, took off with their same instructors from the day before.
That meant that Joe and I had 2 hours! 2 hours to snowboard and ski fast and in a normal position without sweating like crazy! Wahoooo!!! We got on the first chairlift we could find.
We had the mountain practically to ourselves!
We squeezed in as much as we could and then sped off to go pick up the kids. Everyone was grinning from ear to ear. We ate lunch again and then had the kids take us down the bunny slopes to show off their skills. After a few times, Kate was getting a bit bored and asked if we could head up higher on the mountain. We said no. At first. Then we thought, well, maybe they could handle that one run...
So, we upgraded their tickets so we could all head up a little higher on the mountain. I'll be the very first to admit. I have a total selective memory. I tend to forget the bad and only remember the highlights. This can be very helpful and may even guide me to living a very long and happy, life. But in this instance, it was detrimental. We got off of the ski lift and as we looked down at the first hill I thought, "Oh! This is quite a bit steeper than I realized!" Thinking about it from a 6 year old's perspective.
We gave the kids a pep talk, I tucked Luke between my skis, and the two of us headed down first, beckoning for the others to play follow the leader. Kate and Jake would be sandwiched in between and Joe would pick up the pieces if needed in the back :)
There were a few nervous yelps and out of control screams, but they made it down flawlessly. I was so impressed. Maybe this WAS a good idea! So, with a spring in my step, Luke and I took off again, so we could make some nice, big, tracks for the others to follow.
The next thing I knew, Kate goes flying by me, straight down the mountain. No turns, nothing. I screamed for her to "pizza slice" but her skis were clattering so much that I knew it was no use. I panicked. Suddenly I realized, "why did we think this was a good idea bringing 3 brand new skiers up on this run?!!!" There are only 2 adults and I was useless with Luke between my legs! As we tried to move down the hill faster, we saw Kate fall hard. Complete garage sale. Skis went flying, mittens came off-- It was her first bad wipeout. I yelled that we were coming as fast as we could. Joe took off and I was left with the boys. Right at that moment, Jake bailed in the middle of the mountain. Suddenly this was the WORST IDEA in the world and I think a few negative comments may have been muttered under my breath. Funny how a glorious day could turn in just a moment.
Relieved to see that Joe was down with Kate, I sat Luke down on this steep slope and told him not to move. I took off my skis so I could now go get Jake. We couldn't get his skis back on because there was so much sticky snow stuck to the bottom of his boots and he kept slipping down the mountain and then he would panic. Finally after all of my sweat pores had tested the new stay-dry-wicker material I was wearing under my ski clothes, I popped my skis in and Jake and I turned to get Luke. Only to find that he had decided he would take off his skis. WHAT?!!!!!!! Are you kidding me?
The sky had grown dark. It matched all of our moods. I tried my best to hold onto Luke and have Jake follow me as best he could, but another wipeout entailed. Massive tears. Refusal to participate in a sport he loved only moments before... My back by now was broken. I was having visions of me as an elderly woman all hunched over and stuck in that position forever because of what I was going through on this hill. I couldn't move my neck, I had this horrible strain in my sternoclydomastoid (one of my favorite muscles I remember from anatomy).
I got Jake far enough so I could at least ski down to the bottom where Kate had fallen, and I yelled for Joe that I needed some major assistance. He took off his board and hiked all of the way back up to where Jake was, and they started the process of coming down together. One their bums. Jake refused to do anything more. Meanwhile, Kate was sobbing. "I hate skiing! I'm horrible at it. I'm NEVER doing this again."
Crapola!!!!!!!! Those were the exact words we were trying soooo hard to avoid, and here we were hearing them on our very last day?!!! How could this be? I began having visions of when I had said that to my own dad on an occasion when I was crying so hard that my goggles had completely fogged up and I was skiing blindly behind him, yelling the same thing.
Then Luke started up. He was exhausted, freezing and could barely hang on to my pole any more. I realized, his poor, little 3 year old legs had been going since the lifts open! And it was almost the end of the day. Everything was hitting the fan. We just had to make it the rest of the way down in one piece, but everyone had lost that confidence they once had. I bribed with every piece of candy in my pockets I could think of. No one wanted any of it. I yelled to Joe I had to get Luke to the bottom and I picked him up in my arms. He fell asleep on my shoulder before we even got there. Kate followed me bravely, and Joe made Jake finish on his skis as well. 2 1/2 hours to get down one, LOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNG run. Our entire afternoon. We couldn't end our trip like that. NO way. Since it was easier for a skier to help skiers, Joe took Luke to the car and I took Kate and Jake back on their beloved bunny hill. We both agreed that they needed to end on a happy note. We had 20 minutes.
As we skied down the hills they were used to, little sounds of laughter started making it's way back into their voices. My body killed, but I was so relieved to hear it. We got in as much as we could in those 20 minutes and Jake even started taking off on his own and catching the T-Bar solo, so he could race us to the top. Despite those horrid couple of parent-failure hours, we ended on some pretty good notes. We stayed until the lifts stopped moving and there was no choice but to take off our skis and say goodbye to our beloved Chillan.
The kids are asking when we can go again. I think we accomplished our goal ;)