Sunday, February 22, 2004

Racer Chaser
Today was Four's first day on the mountain. our four met Curt, Kristen, and Nick at Shawnee mountain around 9:30 am. Curt and Nick had picked up rentals and a harness on the way. Curt asked if he should pick one up for me. I said "Sure" but minutes after getting off the phone I imagined that I would probably return it. At the mountain, Curt and Kristen put theirs on Nick and M followed suit before I had a chance to ask her to hold off until I had a chance to determine whether or not we would use it, and thus whether or not we should take it out of the packaging. Once opened, I decided to roll with it. Afterall, it wasn't worth fighting over $37 just before entering the potentially stressful endeavor of teaching your own son to ski. To make a long story short. This harness device, the "Racer Chaser" ranks right up there with some of the best $37 I've ever spent. Essentially, its a vest that the child wears over his/her outerwear with two crotch straps and a d-ring attached on each side of the waist. A long strap then attaches to the rings allowing the parent to ski downhill behind the child and both controlling their speed as well as providing steering input. Both Four and Nick had ski tip locks that, as the name implies, held their tips together. With the tips held close together mechanically, subtle encouragement to spread their feet wide always created a good snowplow, or "pizza pie". Early on, I would try to get Four to work on turning, but after a while, I decided that it was enough that he was out here having fun and getting the balance and sense of speed issues down. Turning could wait for another day. Then, a few runs later I noticed him weaving back and forth all by himself. It was amazing. he also seemed to getting the concept of straightening his skis for more speed in the flatter sections of the "bunny hill". Encouraged by these discoveries on the parts of both boys, we thought we'd try to go to the top and come down some of the long greens. on our way to the other lifts we saw kristen, who was a little early for the pick-up. Her presence, while not unwelcome, encouraged the boys to call it a day. But what a full-day it was.

Kristin took the boys back to our timeshare to hang out with M and LuLu. Curt and I got to ski together for about two hours. It was awesome. Curt is a good skier, and a great guy to hang with.

Later, we took the kids to Shawnee's Rec Center. They have a neat pool with a gradually descending "'beach" area and a falling water shower feature built into an interesting U-shape. While in the water, Four said something to the effect of "I've had a great time". It was as if he thought our vacation was over already. But it was heartwarming to know that he had genuinely had a great day, and that if the vacation were over, he probably would have been fine.