Family Travel: Confessions of a Ski School Dropout at Granby Ranch
posted by: Amber Johnson
I love skiing and even made a living promoting its virtues at a popular Utah ski resort. But I terminated my love affair with the slopes when I had children. Or rather, it fired me. There were a number of different reasons: cost, breastfeeding, babysitter hassles, I-70’s gridlocks and those $400 ski boots that no longer fit because pregnancy had inflated my feet an entire size [insert sob here].
Oh, and my snow pants are too small. But that is a different issue entirely.
After a few years of darkness, I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel: my firstborn is old enough to learn to ski! So when I heard about Granby Ranch’s fourth annual Kids’ Totally Insane Winter Blast at Granby Ranch, I jumped at the opportunity. I figured I could swallow my pride long enough to rent some Big-Foot appropriate gear.
I resolved shortly after our arrival that Granby Ranch would be where our children learn to ski because the resort is devoid of crowds, has a slew of family-friendly events, a tubing hill and a ski school that is renowned for its innovative Direct Parallel teaching program. The newly-renovated Base Camp Lodge is located at the bottom of a natural bowl that features mostly green and blue runs – perfect for young families but so different from the more challenging terrain to which I had grown accustomed. You know, back in the days when I could squeeze into my ski pants.
Upon arrival, Jamie and I dumped dropped off three-year-old Hadley at ski school and jumped on the chairlift. We spotted a few alien deer tepidly making their way across the giant sweeps of snow that covered the earth like a moonscape. The slopes were nearly empty as we made first tracks on groomed runs, powder playgrounds and bruising bumps terrain.
We then watched the pitiable ski instructors round up the multitude of jabbering and whining preschoolers. I figured they had to be nuts. Or masochists.
Keeping track of them all was a challenge and Hadley sometimes got left in the dust. Not wanting to be one of those parents, we simply cheered or pushed her along whenever we got the chance.
“Hadley, you have the biggest audience!” her teacher wryly commented.
This is ski instructor speak for “Overprotective Parents, GET. OUT. OF. HERE!!!!!”
And so we did, dining at the delectable Seven Trails Grille. That afternoon, the weather took a turn for the worse. We skied a few more runs before heading in to retrieve Hadley. I was greeted by a frenzied staff member.
“Oh, we have been trying to reach you on your cell phone and posted messages all over the resort! Hadley had an accident.”
Now, I’m sure most parents would have panicked. But as the mother of a potty-training-challenged kid who was enrolled in a ski school where it is required, I just groaned. While the rest of the kids skied that afternoon, she pooped in her ski pants and passed out on the bench. Because evidently defecation is draining.
After Operation Cleanup, Jamie and I took her out for a few runs where she finally started catching on. There was the glory of victory. And the agony of defeat.
And the promise of many more outings to SolVista’s ski school. If our little Potty Training Dropout is ever readmitted, that is….