Musings on teaching Big Bro skiing

Half way through the skiing season, I’ve observed some dramatic improvements in Big Bro’s skiing abilities. Just a few weeks ago at the beginning of this season, he still had quite some trepidation about even skiing in front of me.

But thanks to our good friend Johnny and his daughter, who have been hitting Grouse Mountain on a weekly basis for some after-school night-skiing, we started doing the same for the last several weeks. Skiing with them also made a huge difference for Big Bro psychologically, as he would go out of his comfort zone and join them on some blue runs.

Big Bro getting ready for skiing down the Cut
Big Bro on the Cut

Then, after our fantastic success at Whistler in January, Big Bro’s confidence and skills improved by leaps and bounds. He is still relying mostly on pizza turns but he is starting to bring his inside ski in on flatter terrain. He is able to slowly make his way down a blue run without help, but it’s on the green runs that his improvements are most obvious.

Big Bro is gaining speed while maintaining good control, with the ability to turn and stop at will. He can also cut through small bumps and slide through icy patches, sometimes seemingly better than I can due to his low center of gravity. Most importantly, he can fully enjoy himself down the Cut, which is a bluish green run with some steeper sections, without stopping for a break or reinforcement.

Night skiing at dusk

I reflected on why I wanted to teach the kids skiing as early as possible. Besides having something exciting to look forward to and a good reason to hit the outdoors during the gloomy winter seasons, one of our short term goals is enjoying nice and relaxed family skiing family trips. It means everyone having the ability to ski safely and independently, and the enthusiasm to do so. After three seasons of persistent practice, Big Bro is getting there.

I further reflected on the time invested in teaching Big Bro compared with Middle Bro, who is also very eager to ski but still lacks the stamina. After all, he isn’t even three yet. A few attempts on Whistler and Grouse were fun but ended quickly as he got tired.

I remember during the first two seasons, Big Bro sometimes got tired and called it quits after only a few runs too. The main difference when Big Bro did it last year: I didn’t have another child with whom I can go skiing.

Using Big Bro’s old learning tools with Middle Bro

I am acutely aware that it’s going to be increasingly more fun to ski with Big Bro as he gets better, and I do want to keep at it and help him continue to progress, but Middle Bro mustn’t be left behind. I remind myself that Middle Bro is doing a lot better and learning a lot quicker than Big Bro when BB was at this age. I think partly because MB wants to catch up to his older brother and partly because he is built tougher.

I think, like Big Bro’s previous season, Middle Bro’s turning point would be a few proper lessons with a ski instructor. But to ensure maximal chance of success and minimize risk of wasting money, I shall take him up a few more times.

Hopefully soon we will have fewer of these…
and more of these!

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