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Little Rippers…

Snow time, ski time, play time, the BEST time. Hopefully you are a winter lover like me and you get to experience all the great aspects of winter with friends & family.

I grew up loving all 4 seasons, and all the various activities that take place each season. But I can honestly say the best season, and the best activity is skiing… Alpine has the edge over Nordic, but I still enjoy a great Nordic Day.

Now alpine skiing HAS IT ALL. The day is scheduled perfectly: not a super early start, and finishes up mid-afternoon so there are plenty of Après activities to take in. A typical day for us is a nice big breakfast of bacon, eggs, hashbrowns, pancakes etc, head to the slopes, ski school for the little one in the AM, and ski hard all morning. Lunch time pick up from ski school, and a family afternoon together, or trading off with my wife skiing with our little ripper. Afternoon hot chocolate with a treat, and ski until the lifts close at 4pm. Après ski has lots of options… maybe a quick Nordic loop, or a family snowshoe, or head to the hot tub, or relax in the chalet with a pint, another HC, nachos or munchies. Some days we have hit them all!

To truly see the beauty in a ski vacation, just look through the eyes of a “little ripper”. I have a daughter that just loves to ski (thank goodness) but I think my wife and I have a lot of influence over that. When she was 2 ½ we started the ski immersion program. Some fellow ski friends gave us some advice and we added a few twists. The most important tip we got was to put her boots on her, and teach her to walk in ski boots. For those of you who walk in ski boots, you know it’s tricky for adults, let alone 2 year olds. Plus if your kid can walk, you carry them WAY LESS at the hill. After some walking around, we then started clicking her into her skis on the carpet in the basement. Then we added the fun, WII SKI from Nintendo. Great game, and a fantastic way to go through all that you encounter on a ski hill from the comfort of your home. Our little ripper learned so many things about the experience on a hill from the game, and we had a ton of FUN. After walking, then standing in skis, it was time to add some sliding. A 3 ft hill of snow in the backyard did the trick. Kids just need to know that standing and sliding are 2 different things, and sliding down a tiny little bit of snow did the trick nicely.

Time to head to the hills… Ski vacation time!

Kids 5 and under ski free at most resorts, so once you have their gear, you are good to go. Once we hit the hill, we tried a combination of ski school time, and our own instruction time. Thank goodness for magic carpets, they are great for teaching little ones to ski. Some days we made great progress, some days we had a sad little ripper on our hands. On the 4th day we made a huge break through. At 2 ½ years old, our little ripper didn’t understand “pizza” and “French fries” as ski instruction terms, but once she realized we wanted her skis to form the letter A, she understood fully as her name starts with A. I just had to tell her to make A’s all the way down and we were off the magic carpet, and up the T-bar and skiing longer runs. After a couple days on the T-bar, my little ripper broke my heart when she said, “no daddy, I ride up alone now.” Once she was controlling her speed on the bunny slopes, we headed for the chair lift. I swear if my little ripper becomes an accountant its from all the chair lift number counting. Great way to kill time and learn! Fast forward and this will now be her 4th winter on skis. She has been bugging me since Sept 1st about when ski season starts. “Daddy, how many seasons until ski season?” “Daddy, when are we going skiing?” “Daddy it snowed, but its not enough to ski so its useless.” The ski vacation in January can’t come soon enough.

I highly recommend multi-day ski trips over single days to help the kids learn. Ski vacations to the mountains are the best but a weekend trip to Asessippi near Russell, MB or Table Mountain near North Battleford, SK can make for a great weekend of fun. Ski shops have great prices on kids ski gear so I recommend buying over renting, as it’s easy to sell used kids gear.

Normal winter skiwear works great for the slopes for kids too. Kids probably already have ski pants, & waterproof mitts, but helmets are a must. Warm, waterproof and breathable gear like The North Face makes for a most enjoyable day in the snow. Happy kids, happy life right. Have I convinced you to book a ski vacation yet? Come for a visit in person, or call and I promise to win you over. The thing I am most looking forward to this winter, it’s a tie. 1. I am looking forward to more tree skiing with my little ripper, she just started glades late last season, and 2. I have a 2 year old so I am ready to start the process over again. Our 2 year old is still tiny but to annoy grandma, we are going to give it a shot.

See you on the slopes! Ski season is upon us!


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