1 – four- year-old son who has never seen a mountain
1 – Husband who never sawn more then 6 inches of snow
1 – Wife with 23 years of skiing under her belt
1 – Awesome staff and ski school at Whitetail
I roll out of bed, stab contacts into my eyes, and stagger around for a few minuets. Then eyes open fully and the excitement builds. We’re going to Whitetail today!
I finally convinced my husband Gary to get on the snow. Apparently not everyone has been on snow since they were 2 years old like me, not to mention there is not much snow in Gary’s home town of New Orleans, LA. None the less we are off on our first snow adventure as a family.
Gary, our son Christian and I are dressed, packed and in the car on our way. As I’m driving, I think why haven’t we done this sooner? Whitetail is only about 60 minutes from our house. All is well we’re going now.
We drop our son off at ski school. The staff is kind, welcoming and reassuring for the overprotective Mom that I am. Christian waves goodbye and promises not to have too much fun with out us!
Gary and I decide that we will try snowboarding together, that way my 23 years of skiing is out the window and we can start on an even playing field. We go to the rental building and proceed through the quick and easy assembly line of getting the right equipment. The young but pleasantly helpful staff assists us with what size boots and board we will need, and points us in the right direction to the lodge.
We finish the delicious Starbucks coffee that is available at the Windows Lodge, we strap on our boots, bundle up and head to the bunny hill.
OK, so imagine this – the two of us riding up the magic carpet and attempting to snowboard down the mini hill with out killing ourselves. SUCESSS, we didn’t die, but we do need lessons! We attempt the mini hill a few more times and then walk over to the area where you line up for lessons.
We signed up for the first class package, which guarantees you’ll learn to turn, stop, control your speed, and ride a lift or you will be provided with a complimentary lesson on your next visit. This package also includes rentals, and a lift ticket to the beginner part of the mountain. You also get Your Second Visit for just $39.00! After completing the beginner (Level I) class lesson, you have the opportunity to purchase your next visit for $39.00 and become eligible for membership to the exclusive Mountain Passport Club! For $39.00 you will receive a complete All Mountain Package, which includes a lift ticket valid for all terrain, ski or snowboard rentals, and a class lesson at your ability level. With your Mountain Passport Club Card you are eligible to receive FREE lessons all season long, as well as receive 40% on every lift ticket, and 40% on every ski, snowboard, and snowblade rental. The mountain Passport is good for all affiliated mountains, Roundtop Mountain and Ski Liberty.
So we stood in a group and waited for the instructor to come over. They split the somewhat large group into smaller groups by ability level. All of us were beginners. The group was then split into smaller groups of 6-8 people and teamed with instructors. Gary and I were with a group of 7 people, with two instructors. WOW talk about 1 on 1 attention!
We started by introducing ourselves and stating what we like to do for fun. We then proceeded to go over the basics of snowboarding, and the do’s and don’ts. Next we were tested to see which way we should ride down the mountain, a gentle push on the back and what ever foot steps forward is the foot that should be the dominant foot (the foot farthest down the mountain on the board). We learned how to “skate” with one foot strapped in and the other pedaling the board. We learned to “toe turn” and “heel turn” (right and left if you’re regular footed or left and right if you’re goofy footed). Next we headed to the chairlift.
Ok, did I mention that Gary is a bit afraid of heights. The ride on the chairlift was probably the most difficult thing for him, although he managed fine! As for me the getting off the chairlift, it was a bit tricky but a small fall later, I was off and heading to strap in. Our class proceeded turn-by-turn down Velvet, a green slope that is not too steep but long enough to make quite a few turns. Let me just note that everyone in our class made it down the mountain able to turn stop and control their speed. Kudos to Jonathan our head instructor! The lesson ended. We shook hands and thanked our instructors and were off to our own devices. Gary and I headed down Velvet once more to solidify what we had learned. Next we headed in for lunch.
We worked up a good appetite. We headed to the main lodge for lunch, cafeteria style with plenty of choices from chili to pizza to custom made sandwiches, not to mention the homemade cookies! We settled on salads, mac & cheese and cookies. A hearty lunch, a bit pricy but filling none the less. We sat by the windows and watched the mountains activities as we munched on our goodies. Then we headed to Ski School to check on our son.
We walked over to the ski school and we were able to watch Christian’s mid-day lesson. (All day ski school offers lessons at 10:00AM, 12:00PM, and 2:00PM). I was so excited to see Christian walk up the green astro-turf and ski down straight in a snowplow into the arms of his instructor- giggling all the way! We took some pictures and headed back to the mountain ourselves.
After a few more runs Gary and I called it a day. It was now snowing. What a perfect end to a perfect day. We gathered our belongings, returned our rental gear and put our regular shoes back on. HAPPINESS REALLY IS TAKING YOUR SKI/SNOWBOARD BOOTS OFF!!!
At 4:00 PM, we headed back to Ski School to pick up Christian, who was all smiles and hot chocolate-face! He proudly gave us his report card, and asked if he could stay at Ski School forever. We headed back to the car and drove home, planning our trip back to Whitetail for the next weekend the whole way home.
What can I say . . . a successful snow adventure for the entire family!