We are lucky to live in Utah! The program I'm going to tell you about is either for those that live here or winter here in Utah for 10 weeks. Basically, it is a 10 week program for 5-6 year olds. It is called the Saturday Adventure. It takes place at Park City Mountain Resort. I'm going to say right now....Emily is very lucky! How many kids at 5 years old get to ski every Saturday from 9:15 a.m.-3 p.m.? In fact, how many Moms get to ski every Saturday? I'll give you a hint...not many and not me!
The program is designed to take kids from 5-6 that have some ski ability and make them better. They are grouped according to ability in groups of 5 with one instructor. The beauty of this is they bond with the kids all this time and the same instructor gets to know their skills and build on them from week to week. They eat lunch at a mid-mountain place for just the kids. Wow!! Can I be 5 again? What a great time...
There is a placement day before the actual class begins on a Wednesday. We head up to Park City and it is cold that day. I'm just going to say this...Emily is a trouper! I'm freezing and can't wait to get somewhere warm. She's patient and waiting to get going. The instructors have gathered the kids in a corral of sorts and are finding out about their abilities. I'm finding out that a lot of these kids are local Park City kids, which means they've probably been skiing since birth...so she's in good company to be challenged. Now the average 5 year old can barely make it down the bunny hill. These kids...some are ripping down the black diamonds! Emily has been placed not in the beginner class, but the novice. (way to go Em!) There are 3 girls and 2 boys and Lacey (Ems instructor) is ready to head out. A lot of the skill is based on how the kids can stop and how they make turns. Let's face it, we can all crash land, but the goal is to do a "french fry stop" as Emily would put it (hockey stop in other terms).
Bren and I run to the nearest hot chocolate stop and wait for Em. A little over an hour later, she's ready. Emily's group is one of the last ones in. I asked Lacey how Emily did. She said, "Really good. In fact so good, she's now with 4 boys...which she's not too happy about." Yea!!!! But, if you have a 5 year old girl, spending 10 weeks with 4 year old boys is almost the worse thing that can happen. Lacey assures me that they'll try to find her a girl to ski with.
Fast forward to the first day. It is not cold (thank goodness) and we are ready to go. There are 3 girls and 2 boys this time, so Em has a pal. They head out to ski for 2 hours, have lunch for 1 hour and ski for another 3. Brennan and I have a bit of time to kill. I think what is fun about this program is that if I'm not skiing, I get to be a tourist. Living in Salt Lake, you don't always make it up to Park City and tour around. If you're reading this from somewhere across the country, you think what? Hey, life gets in the way.
We head out to tour around the Olympic Winter Sports Park. There is an awesome ski museum that is free! There are many interactive exhibits with buttons...good for 3 year olds! And Tue.-Sat. there are kids training at the ski jump. This feature is for another blog, but it is worth a side trip for those looking for other activities in the Park City area.
Bren and I head back to Park City for lunch at Legends. Then...we're off to the Alpine Coaster! I've done this in the summer, but it runs in the winter as well. It's a roller coaster of sorts. You sit in a sled that runs on a track. It takes you up the mountain through the trees and snow to the top. You enjoy the ride on the way up and then get to control the speed on the way down. Brennan is giggling, screaming, lots of "can we go faster?" We go round and round 3-4 times. A must do on your visit to Park City! While you're sitting in your cart, you're enjoying the beautiful scenery and riding up the mountain while skiers are on the chairlift a short distance away. Again, another option in the Park City area for the kids when they get pooped out from skiing.
Now Emily is taking part in this big program all winter, but Brennan will have a great opportunity as well. Park City Mountain Resort has so many options for lessons. It really is mind boggling. I will be getting more into the different programs, options, first time ski opportunities in the coming weeks. Brennan will be trying the Signature 3 ski program next week. It is for 3 1/2 to 5 year olds. It is all day (so I get to ski) and he gets both skiing, playing and rest time. At 3, this is very important. If you push them too hard, it will turn them off to the sport and they won't want to go back. I can't wait! And....if he get good enough in the coming weeks....he could be a Signature 3 Superstar!
From private lessons to groups to telemarking to snowboarding to.... the options are definitely there for Park City. I'll be passing along all this to you in the coming weeks as well as charting Emily and Brennan's prograss. We'll also be playing a tourist in Park City. Who knows, during the Sundance Film Festival we could be running into some of the Hollywood types.
I'll leave you on this note....there are several Olympians who have come out of these Saturday programs at Park City. Could Em be next?