The first time I ever put on a pair of skis, it was in Italy and I was with my mother and a group of English friends we knew from living in England. I must have been about nine or ten and the first hour was awful. I hated it. I am pretty sure I screamed and cried and, quite possibly, threw a ski or a pole back at the mountain.
This weekend, it was with great relief that I watched my children take to it much more quickly than I did twenty-five years ago and show far greater self-restraint. They talked about their Maestro all evening after we got home. They have more lessons scheduled for the next few weekends in preparation for upcoming ski trips.
The boys are learning to ski on the same slopes where their father learned to ski. In fact, after the lesson, he insisted we have tost (hot sandwiches with ham and melted cheese) at the bar/restaurant at the base of the slope for lunch. “This is where I used to always come after my lesson,” he said.
It reminded me of how, that time we skied in Italy, every day my mother would give me a couple hundred lira so I could go into the Italian tobacco shop and buy a Toblerone after my lesson.
Some of my best childhood memories are the handful of ski vacations I took with my family after that first time in Italy. My dad would drive us up a snowy mountain and we would stop at a grocery store to buy all the food my mother would normally never let us have. Sugar cereal! Nachos! Pop tarts! In the morning, my dad would take us to rent our skis, get our passes, find the ski school and my parents would wave goodbye. Lessons in the morning, then we’d ski together a little in the afternoon before heading back to the condo to consume as much junk food as we could before the vacation was over. By the end of the week our ski suits would have that slightly metallic, snowy smell that ski clothes always get, and in the quiet mountain air I would sniff the collar of my jacket or the top of my gloves as I rode up the lift, and try to impress it as best I could in my mind.
If you don’t count cross country skiing, I haven’t skied since the winter before I was pregnant with Seven. And now finally! Finally! My kids want to ski! I’ve already booked our first ski vacation for February. I cannot wait, even if means I will be the one driving up the snowy mountain and carrying the skis.
And my kids don’t know it yet, but there will be all the food I normally never let them have.