Marolt: Proud to be a ski-school dropout
Ski school is b.s. I’m going to catch hell for saying that, but not from the kids, so I’m emboldened.
I speak from experience. When I was a kid, I hated ski school, my brothers hated ski school, my sister hated ski school, and all our friends hated ski school. The kids I knew who stuck it out for any length of time ended up hating skiing. Show me the love!
Decades later, my kids hated ski school, all their friends hated ski school, and, as a result, I still hate ski school. We, like my own parents, experimented with it only a little, mostly because everybody else seemed to be doing it, but the plug was quickly pulled each time after figuring out the “new and improved” was neither.
Come on — it’s school! It starts at 9 sharp, they take attendance, you form lines all day long, your class has an assigned lunch slot that’s either way earlier or later than humans normally eat it, and class won’t be dismissed until 3:15 p.m. sharp, no matter what. Worse yet, ski school comes on Saturday after busting your cranium with books and tests at the other school all week. Whatever happened to sleeping in and relaxing a little as a reward? Worst of all, classes are still in session even on a snow day. I don’t care what fancy name they come up with for ski school — nobody calls it “fun.”
Let me jam it into reverse for a second. If you, as an adult, decide you need a little brush-up on your turns, fine, go ahead and schedule a time for a lesson at your convenience. In the school world, they call such courses “electives.” Those are fun and completely different from something you have to take. Those classes are called “requirements.” And a required class on the weekend is total b.s. There. Now we are moving forward again.
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All the feelings came back Saturday when I went to Buttermilk on an ill-timed errand. It was 9 in the morning, and nothing was well. Anarchy ruled the parking lot. Grown-ups were frazzled, out-of-breath late and toting burning-arm loads of gear. Lots of kids were crying as parents tried to make deals — they would pick them up early, they could go to a movie afterward. Dinner at Boogie’s? A new iPhone? Smiles were in shorter supply than at the Department of Motor Vehicles on a slushy Monday at the height of flu season.
Kids cry when they get shots. They cry when they get sent to the principal’s office. They cry when they have to sit on the laps of creepy department-store Santas. Do we really want to add “going skiing” to this list?
If you are really interested in doing some research on this subject, I recommend checking out the book “Amazing skiers and their incredible childhood ski-school experiences.” Just kidding. There’s no such thing. If you listen to adults who are great skiers, almost invariably they will credit the time they spent skiing with their parents as a major influence igniting their passion. Come to think of it, go ahead and ask any professional ski instructor what they think of the mandatory ski school they take at the beginning of every season. Most will tell you they hate it. The rest are liars.
The irony here is that, if you are a good-enough skier to feel like you have to ditch the kids for a few hours so you can go cut loose on a few bowl laps, then you are good enough to be teaching your kids how to ski.
The thing is, in skiing, as in life, you reap what you sow. Skiing with young kids can be challenging, but it is also loads of fun. Give it a chance. The hardest part is getting them dressed, out the door and to the slopes with all the gear. But you have to do that whether you drop them off at ski school or take them out yourself to show them all about the sport you love. I honestly cannot recall a day I regretted skiing with my kids. I’ve been doing it most weekends now for about 20 years. They have inherited my love for skiing. They know all my favorite runs, and I know theirs. We have enough ski stories together to embellish for lifetimes to come. But even all of this is almost beside the point. The coolest thing of all is that, now, they have the patience to ski with me.
Roger Marolt believes he could have become a great tennis player if he had only stuck with ski school a little longer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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