Teaching kids to ski

[Written by Tom][

Teaching skiing has turned out to be a lot more fun than expected, especially the kids. I’ve enjoyed teaching the adults, but their response is more predictable. It seems like a huge number of the kids I get are 9. Not 8, not 10. 9. Anyway, most are so shy I can barely hear what they’re saying. One big challenge is just drawing them out a bit on the lift. They’re so serious, but I’m getting to know some about life in fourth grade (and had one fourth grader who is reading Huck Finn!).

I’m still working on coming up with more kid-friendly games, but mostly, I just like how they enjoy so much hearing something positive. With AJ I was noticing that before I was even done explaining, he had grasped what I was trying to say, something that even many adults don’t get. I said, “Wow, you’re a really good listener.” He didn’t really say anything, but he looked at me as if to say that isn’t what he heard most often, but he couldn’t quite suppress a grin.

Today, I had a girl who was so quiet and shy and who I thought was having a miserable time. She kept having issues with her glasses and mittens and at first didn’t seem to be making that much progress. We worked a bit on this and bit on that, but she hadn’t put it together after the first run. Still, as we get on the chair, I always try to tell kids two things they did that run that I thought were really good, even if it’s as simple as stopping when I asked them to. So I told her a couple things she was doing well. Then we went for the next run and she made a huge leap forward, out of snowplow/wedge turns to some pretty fast parallel turns, putting together all the things we’d worked on for the first run. I said “Michele, how did that feel?” She finally gave me her first smile of the day and said in the quietest whisper, “Good.” I said, “Only good? I thought it looked awesome. Are you sure it didn’t feel great?” She gave me a huge smile. When we saw her mom, her mom asked me, “How did it go?” I said, “Michele, how did it go?” She gave her mom a big smile and said “Great!” (no exclamation though, because it was still a shy whisper).