Tuesday, June 9, 2009

little chix that rip

As a new ski instructor your first few years of teaching are spent teaching in kid's ski. It's a great way to hone your teaching skills and build confidence as an instructor. One of the banes of teaching kid's ski lessons for some instructors is the day care lesson. I personally love the day care lesson. For the most part it is less about skiing and more about making sure the kid's are safe, warm, and very happy. These kids are the future of skiing and you want to keep them happy. One bad day and they may not want to ski again. Ever! In a day care lesson it's sometimes more about fun and games then actual instruction. There is lots of laughter and the occasional tear. Although skiing is the focus as much time can be spent with snow ball fights, making snow angels, putting gloves back on, picking up kid's who have crashed, hugs, and wiping up tears.

Day care lessons usually start at age 3 but last season I met a very special 2 year old. When I first met her, she liked to be called Maggie Mae. She was a tiny little thing, like a pixie. She wore an over sized blue one piece ski suit with lots of room to grow. Her parents both work for the resort so an exception was made and Maggie Mae, at 2, was joining the group lesson. At first I was worried, she was so little and I already had a group of kids to work with. But I had nothing to worry about. Maggie Mae, at 2, was focused and driven. She wanted to ski. She would loop around the fun zone passing the other kids. She rode up the magic carpet and came down again and again. She had an innate joy and passion for skiing. This is a girl that I want to ski like.

My second year teaching and I was back in day care. Maggie Mae was now a very mature three and didn't want to be called Maggie Mae. "Please don't call me that, my name is Margaret", she solemnly informed me. She was now knee high and ready to ride the lift. We left the fun zone behind and moved on to Buttercup and then Mitchell Creek. Those tiny little turns she had perfected in the safety of the fun zone served her well up on the hill. What I love about Margaret is that although she works hard she knows when she's done. A lot of kids end a lesson in tears, they are exhausted, they want to go inside but they want to keep skiing. Margaret will simply state, "I'm done now Leilani let's go in." She's already figured out that there will be more snow tomorrow and another chance to ski. Some of my favorite days teaching have been with Margaret. We would ski together in lessons in the morning. And then again in the afternoon. If I didn't have another lesson, Margaret and I would go back out again.

Towards the end of the season I was working with day care kid's less and less. Training for my level II lead to more advanced lessons. I was now out on the hill with the black diamond kids. My days of the fun zone were behind me but I missed them. I met Margaret's dad once and he told me that when he asked Margaret how her day was her answer was either, "I got to ski with Leilani today or I didn't ski with Leilani today." That's how I'd rate my ski days too. A good day skiing was one spent with Margaret, a little chick that rips.

Next year when the snow begins to fall again, Margaret will be 4. It will be interesting to see what changes the summer has brought about. I hope I have the privilege of teaching the day care lessons, and skiing with Margaret once again. Watch out for this little girl, she's going places. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see her someday in the Olympics or X Games. At 3, she's already apart of that very special club, the chix that rip.


  1. Wonderful story! There is no doubt in my mind that Margaret will become an amazing skier, her abilities due in no small way to your instruction. Maybe next season she will want to learn some freestyle!

  2. She has definite freestyle potential. Tried a little switch on Buttercup. We did spin a few flat 3's together. You know, the girly kind, where you hold hands and spin each other around.
    Thanks for the comment!
    -ski girl

  3. I just found your blog, it's really interesting. First ski blog I've stumbled upon. And as for your I am a runner post...great post. I totally relate.

  4. Hi Denise,
    Thanks for the comment. I'm new to this blogging thing and it's nice to hear from you. I checked out your blog Running Journal.


    Very Cool. The miles you put in are amazing and wow an Ultra. I want to run like you!
    If you ski there's an awesome women's forum called Ski Diva. http://www.theskidiva.com/

    I'm doing the 100 push ups challenge, too. It's only day 2 for me. Did you get to your 100?
    thanks again
    -ski girl