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bunny slope bliss

The Race Before Us | Oklahoma Sports & Fitness, January / February 2014 Issue

A ski trip with your young children may or may not result in a relaxing day on the slopes, taking in the blanketed countryside, while occasionally sipping a cup of hot chocolate at the lodge. Wishful thinking.

By the end of the first day of our recent adventure, twelve hours of driving were in the books, groceries for four families were bought, ski equipment was rented, and anticipation was mounting. How hard could it be to teach these young ones how to ski? They’d pick it up in a day just like their mom and I did, right?

But before we even hit the slopes, a greater battle surfaced, as we tried squeezing them into their ski boots and layers upon layers of warm clothing. After all, the weatherman had spoken, and he wasn’t merciful.

Once dressed for the cold adventure, a wrestling match ensued at the base of the mountain as we tried to get each of them to stand on their skis (why was my heart beating so fast, and why was I not adjusted to this high altitude breathing thing yet?) For crying out loud, our skis were a mishmash of tangled mess on the way to a meager bunny hill.

Apparently, our three-year-old’s skis had been wiped down with butter, and we quickly decided he would spend his days on a sled at the base of the mountain and would wait another year (or three) to experience a ski lift.

Our five-year-old boy could stand, but quickly adopted a “barrel-uncontrollably-straight-down-until-I-tumble-down-into-my-own-personal-snowball” technique.

And for our seven-year-old girl, slow and steady was the name of the game. She was very interested in a snowplow method that would bring her to a solid, dead stop – and often.

I was told teaching your own kids to ski could be frustrating. And with that in mind, I was determined to be the most patient father around. But it was during times of exasperation, twisted backwards on top of a fallen child, in the crevice of a drift, that I would be tempted to revert to frustration. These were times when I would have to say out loud to myself, “keep it fun, daddy.” But in my head I could hear myself scream – “Stop crying child! Your tears will freeze to your face!”

Like any new journey, there were some challenges and delays. But great rewards awaited us at the end of a persistent third day on the slopes. And on this particular excursion, I was especially thankful for handmade balaclavas. Yes, they covered our kids’ entire heads and protected them from subzero temperatures. But more than that, they gave me the perfect window to see their little eyes dance when everything on a pair of skis finally “clicked.”

In this issue, you’ll read of several people who forged ahead despite unfamiliar odds. They didn’t let unexpected challenges keep them from reaching their objective. With focus, clarity of vision, and lots of patience, they too finally found themselves with an incredible takeaway at the base of their mountain.

Sean M. Call, Publisher/Editor
Oklahoma Sports & Fitness

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