I love the holidays! As a child we all have traditions and I've now started my own with my family. 3 years ago when Emily was just over 2, we started going to Alta on Christmas Eve. At the time, she was too little to ski, so we put her in the day care. They have a program called a Pre Ski at the Childrens Center. They will take the young ones out and walk them around in skis so they get the ski bug! It was Emilys first time in skis. Mom and Dad got to ski all day. One year later, Brennan and Emily went into day care on Christmas Eve.
This year, Emily took her first class lesson at Alta's ski school. If your child has skiied before, you will have an idea of what level they are at. It starts at level 1 and goes up from there. Since Emily has been in a couple of lessons, she is at a level 2. There are advantages and disadvantages to private lessons vs group lessons. I would suggest the first time on skis be a private lesson. Let them get the confidence they need to get up and going and the individual attention. They need to really get the hang of it. It also depends on the child. Group lessons are great once they get their confidence going and are ready to keep up with the others. For Emily, she is outgoing and likes other kids. Being around others her age is a positive thing for her..besides, I feel they are pushed a bit.
So, we check in at the Ski School upstairs at the Albion Base and head downstairs. There we are greeted by some of the instructors and signed in. We discuss Emilys level of skiing and they let me know what they will be working on that day. In a level 2, if they feel part way through the day the kids are ready, they will head up the lift. But for now, the magic carpet will be the start. For those that don't know what this is...it is WONDERFUL for the little ones. It is a moving escalator in the snow. They just step on it with their skis and up they go. No lift, no real way of getting hurt. A safe way for little guys. As everyone is waiting for their lessons to start, their is a movie playing and Emily gets a cubby assigned to her and heads in . "Bye Mom". Since when did she get so big :(
Alta also does 2 year old lessons. I had referred to Brennans 2 year old lesson at Brighton last week. If you do want a private lesson, you can also do this at Alta. Again, another blog for this one with Brennan.
I also want to mention the most wonderful program that Alta has. It is called "ski free after 3". Yes, this means FREE! It is only on the Sunnyside lift at the Albion Base. But... this lift closes at 4:30. This means you can take your kids up at 3 and they can ski for 1 1/2 hours. No cost, nothing!! If you are trying to teach kids or learn yourself but know you can't afford a lift ticket all the time and know you won't last more than a run or two, this is the greatest opportunity! A way to get good and get the kids up to speed so you know you can get a ticket and come again when you're ready.
I skiied for a bit and went to observe Emily. Again...she has surpassed my expectations. NO edgie wedgies. After talking with Will, her instructor, he said they try not to use them. A different teaching technique. He said they get used to the feeling with the edgie wedgies and then have to be trained without. It is a preference, I'm sure and would love to hear the pros and cons from parents and instructors on this subject.
Emily goes up the escalator like a champ and comes zipping down the hill and goes up again. HELLO, you've done this only 3 times little one. Will has the kids going down the hill around markers teaching them to turn. After all, you don't want them bombing down the hill and not turning at all. But, Em is confident she can do it, so that is great. She gets a report card on a string about all the things she has done for the day. Will says she'll probably still stay level 2 to continue to work on turns before heading up the lift.
A great thing about the class is she makes friends and continues to build confidence. She also got to wear the Alta snowflake apron...OK, I've got about a million Alta stickers, pins... :) After skiing Alta for years, was fun to see Em hitting the Alta slopes.
One other tradition.... we ALWAYS get hot chocolate. This time we got burgers, fries and hot chocolate at the Albion Grill. We were now heading to Snowbird to see the torchlight parade, fireworks and Santa coming down the tram. To see the kids eyes as Santa comes out of the tram and know he's soon coming to our house.... another GREAT and very special Christmas Eve!