My husband and I highly value education. Really, we do. And we have set firm limits for staying home from school. You’d better have a fever or be puking. Or diarrhea. I guess we’d let our boys stay home if they had diarrhea, which they haven’t had (and clearly I just jinxed us by writing that).
But once in a while, for the sake of memory-making, we set all that aside and take a “family vacation day.” Last year we pulled Zip out of school for a couple of days to go to Great Wolf Lodge. I went a little overboard filling out the Educational Field Trip form, not sure how difficult it would be to convince school that this was in fact going to be educational and should therefore be an excused absence. Educational value: map-reading (gotta navigate around that waterpark!), water safety, swimming as physical education, and I think about 10 other things I threw on the form. I’m sure the office staff at school got a good chuckle at the overzealous kindergarten momma.
Anyhoo, this week I kept Zip home and took the boys skiing. Or, in Zippy’s case, snowboarding, because his uncle did a fabulous job over the holidays of brainwashing him into abandoning everything he had learned last year and aiming to be the next Shaun White. It’s all good.
Hubby had to work, so truth be told it wasn’t a family day. I just really wanted to make sure Zip got a chance to hit the slopes this year, and it drastically more affordable to go during the week. And of course: memory-making.
We had such a wonderful day. Even though I was outnumbered, taking both boys on my own, it was totally manageable! I made sure we gave ourselves plenty of time (packed everything the night before, headed out after breakfast, and arrived an hour before the boys’ lesson began), kept the boys well-fed (so they weren’t cranky), and we just took our time. No pressure, no rushing, and no drama. Having just turned 4, Bee doesn’t have the stamina his older brother does, so I knew that he would need a lunch break after his lesson, and understood when he wanted to hang out at the Playcare Center instead of go back out on the mountain with Zip and me.
|Ready to learn!|
And an added bonus? While the boys were at their lessons, I got to ski for an hour or so all.by.myself! I don’t remember the last time I did that – I’m lucky to go skiing once a year these days – and it was fabulous. Just up and down the mountain, with no one to wait for or catch up to, going wherever my skiis took me. Except I am clearly way out of shape because days later my legs are still like jello.
If you are contemplating taking your kids skiing, here are 5 good reasons to play hooky and just do it.
1. Many resorts have great deals mid-week. I could not believe the savings when I compared the mid-week deals to weekend prices. As part of “Learn-A-Snow-Sport Month,” our local mountain had $39 lessons for the kids (including rentals and lift tickets), and they also offer free playcare and discounted lift tickets on certain weekdays. Um, yes please!!! Even if a resort doesn’t offer these kinds of deep discounts, rates tend to be lower during the week (except if it is a holiday week!).
2. The slopes aren’t as crowded during the week. Okay, this might not be the case at your big resorts, which are probably pretty crowded during the week, too. But outside of holiday weeks, weekdays are always going to be calmer, simply because more people are at work. And if you go somewhere that isn’t known for its winter resorts (like central Pennsylvania) or when the weather isn’t fabulous, the place may be one step away from a ghost town. That is a good thing, if you ask me!
When we went skiing on Tuesday, the kids’ lessons were packed (due to the deal), but other than that things were pretty quiet. No lines for the lifts. Few people on the slopes, although things did pick up a bit after lunch. And the VIP lot was even open to anyone, free of charge. That was a big bonus, because when we’ve gone on the weekends we’ve always had to park in the far-away lot and take a shuttle over to the mountain. Parking right next to the ski lodge is super convenient with little ones. The lack of crowds made the whole day that much smoother for us.
3. Skiing is a great sport to expose kids to. I’m probably biased, because I grew up skiing, but skiing/snowboarding is a great sport to learn. It is wonderful exercise, as my aching quads will tell you, and kids definitely get to work their focus, coordination, and gross motor skills. It is one of those sports a person can do alone or with a group of friends. Plus, skiing/snowboarding offers an opportunity to get outdoors and get active even when the weather is cold and snowy. In fact, I’m pretty sure that is why Vermonters don’t lament the arrival of winter – it means skiing is on the horizon! I am really hopeful that, once the boys are a little older and really have the hang of it, skiing/riding will be something our family can do together on winter weekends, like it was when I was growing up.
The downside, of course, is that downhill skiing is expensive compared to winter sports like snowshoeing or cross country skiing. Which is where those midweek deals come in handy!
4. Learning to ski/ride can build character. After lunch, while Bee was at Playcare, Zip eagerly showed me what he had learned. That first run down the mountain together, he must have fallen 10, maybe 15 times. But every time he just hopped back up and kept on trying. I was so amazed at his persistence and thought about what he was learning – when you fall down, get back up and try again. When I was a kid, skiing meant getting over my intense fear of heights – at least for the purpose of riding up the chair lift. Skiing isn’t easy but as I explained to Zip that just means everyone always has the opportunity to learn and improve, while also letting go of worries about being “good” and just having fun.
5. It’s just fun. Back to that memory-making-thing…we had a blast and I cherished the time with my two favorite boys. Even if the school doesn’t approve our “educational field trip” this time around, what we got out of our day off was worth it.
What is your favorite winter activity? Or your favorite reason to play hooky?