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March 14, 2006

Kids Learn to Ski Program and "Get Better" at Brian Head

Jarrett had exactly one run on skis under him prior to this weekend, but at age 5 (in February), I felt he was finally ready to begin learning to ski. My concerns about teaching him before age 5 were centered around weather more than anything since he is an Arizona boy like his mom and has never really been in the cold. Tera is also ramping up her skills and probably a 1+ or maybe 2 on the skills scale.

I called ahead to make reservations at the Tiny Tracks Ski program at Brian Head (which is suggested). Since he has a season pass and his own equipment (thanks for the old gear, Jake), his day lesson in Tiny Tracks was only $68. Not a bad value for an entire day of lessons, some lunch, some hot cocoa and lots of personal attention.

I was genuinely impressed with the program. Jake did a half day of lessons, but at the time when he was five, I was still probably a beginner/intermediate, so I after his half day lesson, he was my sidekick. Jarrett is not so lucky. Dad and big brother are off in steeps and deeps and skiing the bunny hill is not my idea of how to spend a weekend, let alone the sick powder from this weekend. The instructors we almost all young (Cedar City is a college town and most employees are students or former students at SUU), but they gave tons of personal attention to not just Jarrett, but me too when I dropped him off and picked him up. Most were aching to get their turns in in the pow.

My criteria for evaluating things is pretty simple--did he have fun and did he learn something. On both counts, the answer was a resounding yes. First, it was crazy cold with a standing temp of 10 degrees. Second, it was snowing heavily. Add some wind and it makes for a miserable day for a little one. Despite the cold, Jarrett had fun. Tera on the other hand didn't. =) On the learning front, he is turning and "pizza-ing". I prefer "wedge" or "snowplow" but he looks at me like what are you talking about when I don't say pizza.

Jake came home talking about doing 180's and hitting boxes and Jarrett wants to do jumps and ski with his big brother so bad. It is the coolest thing in the world. I think this experience will provide a solid base for next season and if we can get him linking turns and starting to parallel, he can start hanging with me and Jake.

Tera on the other hand, had a pretty miserable weekend. She was sick to start with on Saturday, but went up and got a good half day in at "Get Better". For $20, they spend two hours working with you on the slopes. With Adults, my firm belief is that it is all about snow time. You just have to put in the time building on your skills and have some coaching to progress from the snowplow into parallel turns. But it takes time more than anything. The coaching let her work on her skiing without forcing me to play instructor (on a powder day no less). I met her at the lodge at 2:00 PM and had a Starbucks with her. I believe that Jarrett and Tera are both getting close to hitting blue groomers and at that point, we can start skiing together more.

Brian Head leaves something to be desired for me and some of my buddies who want long steeps with 4000 ft. verticals and double black terrain, but is unmatched at providing a solid and affordable family ski experience.

Posted by Justin at March 14, 2006 11:20 AM


Sounds fun dude... learning and progressing is what it is all about, and really it is 100% about time. I think I'm at a spot where a lot of my difficulty getting to that next level is fitness level related.

There are just sometimes when my body gets too worn out to keep up with me. If I blast a full day of my favorite runs at high gear I'm ruined for a week, but Steamboat is the kind of mountain that fights back and can be hard on the legs.

I believe, I have not spoken with him about this much just yet, JP has joined our broken ski-bum club becoming much more broken than either of us (always one-uping me that JP) fracturing vertibrae... OW!

Posted by: Wil @ 120 Days of Powder at March 14, 2006 03:40 PM

Most of my progression is hampered by fitness related issues too. I am confident in steeps and deeps, but on Sunday, my quads started burning so bad by about 2 PM that I start reverting to bad form and bad habits.

I have been working on getting better at jumps and landings but some of this since when I am healthy and not exhausted at the end of a hard day, I feel extremely good on the steeps.

That so totally sucks about JP.

Posted by: Justin B at March 14, 2006 04:32 PM