Emily's first ski lesson at Brighton

Emily's first ski lesson at Brighton

Mountain Mama

By Mountain Mama \ December 16 2009

dscn0645 (dscn0645)The snow has arrived and with nearly 40" of new snow...time to get out.  Ok, I'm thinking if Emily gets a lesson, I can take some runs on my new demo skis..yes, I love the powder!  What can I say, I'm a Meteorologist and know how to pick my days :)

I've talked with many of the resorts as to the best approach to getting Emily started and on her way to the best experience. All agree, lets start with a private lesson.  Brighton has been talked about as having a great ski school for the little ones. The WONDERFUL thing about Brighton, is they WILL take Brennan at 2 years old! I am VERY excited for that one, but that will be another blog.  As long as it is a private lesson, they will take a 2 year old out and encourage the parent to attend to learn how to teach the little guy.

  There are 2 options for lessons, a private one on one with an instructor or a group lesson.  I'm excited for the group lesson because it is a weekly lesson you can sign up for in which the child will have the same group and instructor every week. Like being in school, they learn to trust the instructor and get to know the kids in the class. I think it makes for a bonding experience and at times, a good competitive day for them.

One thing to think of BEFORE you sign up...is my child better in the AM or PM.  I did PM, but Emily did get a bit tired and cranky...such is a 4 year old. Something to think about for future planning.  Also, make sure they've eaten, gone potty, had enough to drink... Since it was a snowy day, I had a long johns layer and another layer underneath her jacket and snowpants. I didn't hear any complaints, so I think I had the clothing right on. With the helmet, no hat was needed. And of course we had the "gobbles".

Our lesson was at noon and as we approached the ski school, Gina met us outside as Emily took a spill in the snow from the walk from the car. Another no-no, don't walk in ski boots from the car...leads to lots of complaints. Just put them on when you get to the building. Emily has had male instructors in the past and asked if she'd have a "boy or girl". Now, if your child relates better to one vs the other, request that. Emily is at the age where she knows the difference, so she was quite excited about Gina.  One thing I noticed right away, Gina got down to Emilys level, gave her a big welcome, got her excited and then we went in to get prepared.  Like any teacher, to establish the trust is very important.  So far, so good.  Emily put her ski school apron on, Gina and I exchanged phone numbers and away I went for some "mommy" time. Emily headed to the bunny hill.

After an hour, Gina called to say they were taking a hot chocolate break and Em was doing great and had already been on the chairlift!! First time at Brighton, first chairlift.  Now I've not skiied a lot at Brighton, but can I say "one of my best ski days in quite awhile"!   Yes, I live in Utah, so yes, I'm a ski snob. There has to be fresh powder and the right conditions. It was!  I am now a convert to skiing during the week, less crowds so shorter walk from the car, no lift lines and you have many runs almost to yourself.  I don't know much about skis, but my new Volkl demo skis from Ski' N See were great. They were a bit wider, so I felt my turning was a little better.

Back to Emily...I meet her as she's headed out for another run. Gina gets her on the lift and gets her off by doing the "superman"....a way to get her to lean forward to get off vs leaning back and trying to hoist her off the lift.  She used an "edgie wedgie". It is a conector that you put on the tips of the skis to hold them together and to get the kids to do the "pizza pie" or a wedge as they go down.  Come on, we all still do that on occasion when stopping. It is a great gadget I need to learn a little bit more about.  Em comes down the hill doing her "pizza pie" and I am impressed! She's not scared and she's doing it! I don't think at 4 I would have been doing that! Gina cheers her on all the way down.  I have been told by some that the harness you connect to the kids isn't the way to go as it pulls them back instead of forcing them forward in the ski stance. Let me know your thoughts on this one.

Another question, 1 hour vs 2 for the kids.Em did 2 and I think for the first time out, too much. We'll try one next time until she gets better. She was tired, laying in snow and ready to be done.  Brighton also does a little button badge for the kids. Everytime they learn a new thing on the badge, they get a sticker. We all use positive reinforcement at home and this worked. Em wanted her stickers. She'll bring back her badge next time. She's put it in her "special" box on her dresser at home.  Even though Em was tired and getting cranky, Gina took her inside, looked at books, cheered her on and I feel she had a great positive experience. I'd like to use Gina again and have her take Brennan out for the first time.  If you do find an instructor you like, get their name and you can request them again the next time you go out.

Mission accomplished, one lesson down and a great experience for Emily. Brighton certainly lived up to the reputation I've always heard about with the ski school. We'll be back in the next week.  Another great thing, Brighton has a program where kids under 10 ski FREE with a paying adult.  We're all under a budget and this gets you out with the kids to practice. They also do many charitable events throughout the year. Check out their web site. Also, note the lift ticket prices....AFFORDABLE!  Night skiing is offered as well. They are known for being a snowboarders mountain, but as a skier...I had a great time!

Check in in the next week to see how the 2 year old lesson goes. Should be fun. I am just so excited I don't have to teach Brennan from scratch. He will learn skills from Gina to get us on our way.

Let me know your thoughts on edgie wedgies, 2 year old lessons, great experiences!