Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ski Week

We are just done celebrating a new school vacation, officially called “Ski Week.” Last year, we arrived just days before Ski Week and thus had no idea it was coming. We spent most of the time wandering around deserted museums. This year we started thinking about the vacation early. In October all our kids got ski gear at a used ski swap at school. By Ski Week, we were ready in a flash. Or at least as fast as you can cram three kids into ski pants, coats, boots, skis, hats, helmets, googles and gloves.
All winter Phil has been taking the kids skiing one day per weekend. We have plenty of places to go near us, the closest being about 45 minutes away. There the kids can go up and down one hill, serviced by a “t” bar. The first Sunday of the season we took all kids there. Everyone fell off the “t” bar at various stages; beginning, middle and end. It was a dicey start to the ski season but by the end of the day the kids could get themselves up the "t" bar and back into their skis after various crashes. Then things started looking up.
For Ski Week, we went a little farther afield. We drove to Austria. It sounds far but it actually just over the Germany and Austria border and about a one hour ten minute drive from our house, door to door.  We skied a nice easy ski place there called Erwald. There we had an easy ski lift up and a nice long run down. The kids did this over and over (well, at least until lunch on the first day) and then were ready for more.
The kids really were skiing great all week; fast and fearless. Phil took them up another lift to the top of the mountain. We called this run “Top of the World” and it really seemed like it with the Zugspitz, Germany’s tallest peak, right in front of us and all the other mountains of the Tirol region surrounding us. On one run, Royce got separated from the others. Since none of our kids have phones, we have to find them the old fashioned way; looking! Phil went one way, me another. Complicated a bit by language, Phil was asking chair lift operators if they had seen a little girl. No one had. Time ticked by. Finally, Tori and Adam skied to the very bottom of all runs (not the middle spot with the lodge and all that) and found Royce at the bottom of the mountain, waiting for the rest of us to catch up.
We were proud of how well the kids did on the slopes but started to feel more concern than pride when everyone moved off piste! Tori and Royce chose nice bumpy semi-trails where they could get a little air. Adam went off higher hills and generally sank into the snow, needing an adult rescue. He would then get up and do it again. On our last afternoon, I saw a woman my age break her leg. She was most definitely not off piste, just on the regular easy blue slope. It was then I decided not to do one last run. I took off the skiis and took out the camera.  I tried to get a few pictures as kids whizzed away from me but mostly gave up and enjoyed the Alps.