Falling in love at Canyons Resort
I miss snow.
I know. Easy for me to say, considering I haven’t had to step in a snow drift that went up, over and into my boots since 1996.
But. I love it. And I’m sad my kids will never have a snow day, as long as we live in Southern California.
So, if the snow won’t come to us, I decided that this winter, we were going to the snow. And not the kind we can see an hour from our house. I wanted REAL snow. Mountains full of it as far as the eye could see.
Utah. Park City. Canyons Resort.
The trip would also give me the chance to cross something off the kids’ bucket lists. Well, the lists I have for THEM. See, there are certain things I believe kids should know how to do by the time they’re teenagers, or college for sure. Stuff that, when their friends invite them along, they can at least participate. Like throwing a ball correctly. Riding a bike. Swimming. Shooting a basketball. Rollerblading and/or ice skating.
That last one is tough. I’ve only skied twice in my life, both times in my 20s. There is nothing quite as, er, exhilarating as learning to ski when you’re 5-foot-8 and have a healthy fear of hurtling downhill. I wanted my kids to get on skis while they’re young, relatively fearless and have a low center of gravity.
They needed ski school.
I needed ski school.
We headed to Canyons Resort, which is minutes from downtown Park City. We’d heard nothing but great things about the ski school there. And as someone who hadn’t skied in 20 years, I enrolled in the First-time Skiers package. Sawyer and Sage were placed together for their school, Canyons Carvers, with a guaranteed 5:1 ratio for kids to instructor, and then Xander was in a separate program called Canyons Cats, which had a 3:1 ratio. The kids’ schools were full day and included lunch. Lots of attention for my brand-new skiers.
I went into the main equipment rental place to get my rentals. The only bad part was trying on boots. The guys who were helping disregarded complaints from myself and other women trying them on. But we were all persistent. If the boot hurt when we hadn’t even gotten our skis yet, imagine how it’d feel by the end of the day. After rejecting the first pair, I got a pair that fit.
Once I had collected my skis, I tromped back outside in my boots to meet my instructor, Steve, and my classmates, Kathy and Truss. Both women were older than me, but like me, were also apprehensive/paralyzed with fear about what was about to happen. But Steve was awesome. He was incredibly patient and helpful and worked with each of us to our level. We got into a Red Pine gondola and rode up to the lodge area, where all the beginner ski and snowboard schools were located. That’s where I stepped into my skis.
There was no turning back. Fortunately, you cannot see the look of abject terror on my face.
How good was my instructor? Before long, I was going down the bunny hill. And not on my butt.
That’s right. I was skiing. I was just as shocked as you all are. Not that I wasn’t a complete spaz going down the hill, but I remained upright all the way down. Mostly.
I was grateful for the ice skating lessons I took last year, which helped me with balance. I progressed enough that after lunch, Steve moved me to a different group. It was time to get on a chair lift and go down a REAL bunny hill. The only memory I have of riding a chair was back in the early 90s in Sugarbush, Vermont, when the instructor had to tackle me as I flew off the lift and zipped out into the middle of the hill. I was hoping to be a little more in control this time. And despite almost taking down my new instructor, I dismounted relatively okay.
We went down as a group, pausing to watch Juan demonstrate snowplow turns. One of my new classmates and I eventually ended up getting ahead as Juan waited for some slower classmates. We decided we were brave enough to ride the lift and go down on our own. It was awesome. There were other instructors on the hill, and one even called out a tip to me – to stand up straighter – that really helped make my turns a little easier. He also mentioned that shrieking while trying to snowplow would not, in fact, help me stop.
He was very wise.
Everyone, from the workers in the lodge to the chair lift and gondola operators, were friendly and anxious to help.
I skiied (!!) over to say thank you to Steve and wish my two classmates luck, then boarded the gondola to ride back down to the rental area to meet David and the kids. I couldn’t wait to hear how they did.
Sawyer was ambivalent. He liked how positive the teacher was and enjoyed the class, but still wasn’t entirely confident. Sage was ski stoked. Tired, but stoked. Xander cried. I think he didn’t like being in a class without his brother and sister. At not quite 4, he might just not have been ready. But David said he saw Xander skiing a little and it looked like he was having fun. We will definitely try again with him.
Without sounding too much like an infomercial, let me just say how beautiful Canyons was. Truly. David is a much better (and much more fearless/more willing to make spectacular crashes) skier than me. He went on more challenging courses and had a blast. There are 182 trails for skiers and snowboarders so there’s something for every ability level. We also had perfect weather. Blue skies and temps in the mid-30s made our visit that much better.
The next day, Sage wanted to ski again. So back she and I went. She rode the lift for the first time. And got knocked down by three grown women who didn’t know how to get off the lift correctly. Sage was scared during her first run – and who could blame her – but after that? She divebombed down the hill and waited for me at the bottom, where she wanted to go up again. So we did. For four hours. She gave me a 20 minute break for lunch. Bless her little skier’s heart.
Spending time with her was amazing. The weather was gorgeous, the snow was perfect, and watching my daredevil daughter flying down the hill with absolutely no fear made me proud. A bit envious, too.
“Mommy? Skiing is my favorite sport!” she announced.
“But what about soccer?”
She’d fallen in love.
During our time at Canyons Resort, it was tough not to.
My family and I received complimentary ski school and lift tickets from Canyons Resort. The opinions – and my shrieks of fear – are my own. I really cannot say enough what an amazing place Canyons is. We will definitely be back!