Do you have the goggles? How about the gloves? Can we JUST keep the passes in the same place PLEASE!?!?
Ready to go?
It's 8:45 and we have to be there by 9:15. I REALLY wanted to get a coffee. Damn it! We're gonna be late!
Don't drive so fast.
Here's your coffee. I hope I didn't put too much sugar in it?
My boots are too tight!
I'll drop you guys off up front and then meet you at Ski School after I park.
I can't walk any more!
You guys excited?
It's time for Mighty Tots and what a difference a year makes. Less arguing, less complaining, waaayyyy more fun. And that's just Mom and Dad. Okay, we had lots of fun last year with a 3 and a 4 year old too, but it took us a bit to get our four-person dance down. And I can see the newbies and once-a-year crowd going through the same growing pains with their kids. It takes a bit of work to get a whole family up and running on the mountain. But this year, I can definitely say we're livin' it. Yep, a mountain family skipping church on Sunday for French fries and pizza.
Mom gets snacks ready and the kids dressed. Dad packs the gear and gets the kids in the car. We have our Tupperware packed tight with boots, helmets and outerware, rather than spread in pockets across the garage. Our passes are buckled on to our pants, where they used to be on strings, one always hiding in some mysterious corner of the house. We know exactly where to park, who does what when we get there, and the exact time we have to leave to A) get directly to the mountain or B) stop at Tim's before we head up.
When we showed up for Mighty Tots for the first time this year it felt like every staff member on the mountain was pointing us in the right direction and eager to help us get geared up. And before my wife could get the kids signed in, I had them both completely dressed in their ski stuff and ready to roll, thanks to help from one of the well-practiced instructors.
"That was fast!" says my wife when she arrives a minute or two later and sees me standing between the all-dressed kids.
"Just call me super Dad."
Five minutes later and they're off with their instructor and I have two-and-a-half hours ride time all to myself. Super Dad, indeed. But it is hard to stop myself from thinking about how the little ones are doing and inevitably I stay close, sneaking up behind to watch my daughter and check in with her bubbly instructor.
"How is she doing?"
"Pretty well. She's really polite. Just get her to keep leaning forward."
I explain I thought she would be better served in level 3. The instructor says she would probably be fine there, but that level 2 is good for her technical skiing. I don't mind because this is a good group. All girls. All practicing chipmunk, bear, and dragon. Mine is taking special care to go alllll the way across the run, trying to please, meeting what she's deemed the direction of the instructor. It's slower than I remember her going last year, but she is happy.
At the end of the lesson I meet her at the top of the magic carpets and ask if she wants to go for a run up Hawk Chair. Rosie cheeks blanche into a huge smile. "Yes, Dad!" We say goodbye to her new found friends and instructor. Then she says, "Let's go!" and points her sticks straight down hill and gives a yahoo in the direction of her friends. It's more of a so long suckers than a goodbye that definitely reminds me we share the same blood.
We meet up with her younger brother a few minutes later and ride up the chairlift for the first time together this season (They've been talking about it since September). Then we snake single file down Park View without a fall and with a whole bunch more yahoos. They are doing it! And for the first time, we are doing it! I stop them both halfway down and tell them to look at me.
"This is one of the happiest days of my whole life," I tell them.
""Yahoo!" yells my daughter unprompted. "Yahoo!" follows up my son. And then we set out to the bottom of the run together.