14 February 2016

7/52 - Skiing, Cheer Clinic, Valentine's Day

Anders and I are learning to downhill ski! Before Anders was around, Corinne and I learned to snowboard. But when Anders arrived, it was difficult for us to make (or justify) the time to go to the mountain, since we'd have to leave Anders behind. And although snowboarding was lots of fun, there were definitely times when we were envious of the skiers around us; trying to make it across a flat section on a snowboard is annoying. Anders has several friends who are learning to ski, so now seemed like a good time.

Cooper Spur is the closest resort on Mt. Hood, and also conveniently the least expensive. It only has a single lift and a relatively small network of runs, but when you are learning that doesn't particularly matter. Anything that points downhill is generally challenging.

We started with a 1-hour private lesson, just the two of us with an instructor. The main goal was to figure out how to move around with all of this weird gear on our bodies.

Anders thought the ski boots felt great (?!), and he had a good attitude about the whole experience. The instructor commented at the end of our lesson that he had "the best laugh on the mountain." At the end of the lesson, the first thing Anders asked me was: "Dad, can we come back next weekend?"

So we did. But unfortunately, when we got here all of the lessons were full. (There was some sort of "big game" going on, and only one instructor had showed up that day.) I didn't think we were quite ready to try to explore the mountain ourselves yet, so we opted to spend some time on the snow tubing run and try again the following weekend.

This time, we arrived first thing in the morning and were the first in line to register. (It must be fun if we are willing to get up at 6am on a Saturday for it!) Since I've been snowboarding and cross country skiing previously, some of the muscle memory from those sports started to transfer over for me. So the instructor spent most of his time working with Anders, occasionally giving me some tips.

Anders got pretty frustrated trying to get up after falling. The instructor nicknamed him "noodle legs" because when you tried to help him up, his legs stayed pretty limp until you had pulled him most of the way up. But slowly, slowly, he started to figure it out. After the lesson, we took a snack break then decided to take our first trip on the lift.

Top of the lift! That's the trail map for the whole resort.

We were both a little apprehensive about that first run. The first slope was icy and steeper than anything we had done during lessons. We took it slow, just traversing across the slope, falling down, manually flipping the skis around, then heading back the other way.

By the time we got to the second half of the run, things were starting to click. At this point, Anders pointed downhill and just took off to the bottom! I kept yelling for him to slow down, but he kept his skis pointed in a bit and never seemed to be out of control. He ended up doing 3 runs that day, taking a break after the second run to rest his legs while I went up again. I never did manage to catch up to him enough to get any video of his runs at the bottom.

Looks like we have our weekends scheduled through the rest of this winter.

For the second year in a row, Anders participated in the Cheer Clinic at the Trout Lake School. The clinic invites elementary students to learn the basics of cheerleading from the high school cheerleaders and culminates in a half-time performance during a high school game. Anders loves singing, dancing and performing, so this was right up his alley.

Last year, he and his friend Bridger were the only two boys that participated, and the organizers didn't really seem prepared for them. The T-shirts they had made for the clinic were hot pink and had giant ribbons on them! They did manage to find a couple yellow Trout Lake shirts for them to wear before the performance, but this year we worked with them to make it a more friendly and open event for anyone. Several parents had said that if they knew the event was open to both boys and girls that their sons would have participated as well!

This year's poster design featured both male and female silhouettes; as a result, they had a much higher male representation in the group. Sometimes in a small school, that's all it takes to change the perceptions of a sport.

Happy Valentine's Day! This year we went the ultra-romantic route: we took down our Christmas tree, updated the family budget, and cleaned the dryer vent.

- Mike, Corinne, and Anders