We just returned from our insanely awesome weekend in Austria skiing in the Alps. It was absolutely incredible. But, before I tell you all about our trip to the winter wonderland, I need to share the details of our little bear trying skis for the very first time.
One of my prideful moments has been telling people that I learned how to ski in the Austrian Alps when I was a five years old. For some reason it made me feel so very cool that I could say this. It doesn't make me a better skier, obviously, but it just felt neat to say that my parents were able to give me this awesome thing in my life. I am elated to give something similar to my little bear. He got to experience his first ski trip in a magical place in the Austrian Alps at a mere two and a half years old. What a lucky little bear!
We had decided we were going to give it a try - rent skis, and just see how he does. Turns out he took to it right away :)
Watching him get into his rental gear was a treat into itself. The equipment is so tiny! One of my favorite comments of the day, and probably something I'll remember for a lifetime, was when little r had his boots on and we took him over to get his skis fitted. Looking at little r, the rental guy asked us very seriously, "what level of skier?" Because in Austria, seeing the slopes littered with little ones on skis is far from unusual. I chuckled and said, "Ja, beginner, bitte." Maybe he was being "cute" but I appreciated the comment :)
We headed out to the slopes and got little r on his skis right away. The kid could hardly wait. It was ridiculous how excited he was to try it. The ski resort was extremely family-friendly, so there were a few options for the beginners, and the beginning beginners. I turned in my skis for a snowboard over a decade ago, which meant Big R was on daddy duty for this skiing adventure.
Little r was having some trouble figuring out that he was supposed to stand up on his skis. That and he's independent and hard-headed, so he wanted to do it all by himself. So, we decided to just let go...
We were all shocked! He skied like a little champ - it was too cute!!!
What we didn't anticipate was how exhausting the lift would be for him. Something so simple to us was a lot of work for little r, and he'd get about half way up the lift and be done. Both he and daddy were ready to turn in the skis for the day.
The ski resort was made up of three separate bases, so the place was massive. Where we were staying was in the smaller part of the mountain, so we headed to the main lodge to go to the top. Also, oddly enough, the kids' center where the child care was located was at the top of the mountain. Hilarious, right? We assumed this made certain that people couldn't leave their kids - hahaha. Little r was super excited to ride the gondola, or "flying train" as he liked to call it. We noticed right away that the kids' center also had a smaller ski area for lessons and little ones. So, I quickly decided that we would try the skis on little r again the next day where he could ride up the smaller ski hill on a magic carpet. And it worked! He skied for over an hour. The kid was so freaking happy :)
He took to it like it was nothing. My heart was dancing watching him have so much fun. It certainly helped that the magic carpet lift was inside a tunnel - that in and of itself was pretty darn cool for little r.
We are already making plans to go back in a couple of weeks, and we're hoping this is the first of many, MANY years of skiing for the little bear..