Saturday, January 19, 2013

Flaming Hair and Snowy Skis

Scott has been begging to go skiing. We can see the C.O.P. ski resort from several spots in our neighbourhood and once he sees the lights turn on over there, he knows that the season has started. I looked into some lessons last year but we never made it happen. This year I was exploring possible ski trips and heard from a co-worker that he had been able to take his whole family out x-country skiing with rentals and lessons for about a 1/3 the cost of an alpine trip. His kids are the same age as ours, and he said that they loved it. Well, that sealed the deal. We made plans to go at the first opportunity.

The weather was perfect for our trip up to the Canmore Nordice Centre: sunny and hovering near freezing. We arrived before our schedule lesson time and took advantage of the sledding hill, which is free to use. They use a grooming machine, so it's really nice, plus they added a few gentle rollers on one of the runs that Scott really liked. Katie went with Mom & Dad a few times and then she was ready to fly solo. Tons of fun.

Our family lesson was great, although Katie warmed to the idea very slowly. We practiced falling down and getting up and then we went back and forth in the training area. For one of the drills you had to put a bike tube around your waist, with a rope tied to it, which you used to pull the instructor (Charlie) behind you. Scott managed to pull Mom and then he even pulled Dad. Charlie said that Scott was a natural. Mostly, I was impressed with how tenacious he was, showing no reservations or discomfort about trying to move around on a slippery surface with ungainly planks strapped to his feet. Katie didn't really want to wear her skis, but she walked back and forth with us to be part of the action.

Eventually we graduated to the steeper grades, and we learned how to climb up hills and ski back down. Scott loved that part and long after our lesson was over he was still going up and down that hill -- he essentially bawled when it was time to leave for dinner, and wanted to know when we were coming back.

We had dinner in Canmore at the Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company, which has been a favourite spot in the past, thanks to its gluten-free offerings and its kid-sized stone oven replica complete with plastic food to play with. The kids coloured pictures while we were waiting for our pizza and Katie leaned a little too far over the candle holder. Suddenly her was on fire! I quickly smothered the flames with my hand and there was no damage done -- aside from a few scorched strands on top and an unpleasant smell of roasted hair. Katie cried a little bit because all the excitement had scared her, but she was fine. The guys at the table next to us were pretty excited as well, as they had witnessed the whole thing.

It was a very successful day and we look forward to doing it all again -- the flaming hair notwithstanding.

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