Thursday, February 13, 2014

skiing the mid-west...

Part 1
I grew up in New England, where a snow storm meant:
a)eight inches or more of snow...each time...
b)school anyway
c)great skiing on the weekend
d) all of the above

I now live in the mid-west, where a snow storm means...
a)three inches of snow...maybe...
b) no school for two days...
c) skiing? down what???

Admittedly, skiing is an expensive sport.  Between the clothing, equipment rental, lift ticket and $5 hot chocolate in the ski lodge, a weekend ski trip could blow the vacation budget faster than a 6 year old going down the black diamond slopes. Growing up we found ways to cut the costs.  Group trips with the Boy Scouts and church youth group, friends who lived near the slopes and were willing to host 20 teens for a weekend, and my personal favorite: my brother's employee discounts on ski equipment at the sporting goods store.  Yes, my obsession fascination with bargains was evident even in my youth.

We would ski once or twice a year and hold on to our badge of honor for the entire winter, making sure it was prominently displayed on your jacket zipper pocket: the coveted lift ticket. Some kids had a veritable rainbow of tags hanging from their winter garb.  Different mountains, different days, different levels all had their own color, date and logo.  Nothing said status symbol in New England like the soft rustle of the tags on your ski jacket as you walked down the high school hallway.
(Unless you were a basketball player...then you took the tags your coach didn't find out and yank you from the starting line-up for endangering life and limb during the season...but you kept them on your cork board in your room :)
It had been 14 years since I last strapped sticks to my feet and pointed them down hill.  Fourteen years of working and parenting in the South-East and Mid-West.  Neither locations known for the one thing other than snow that is most essential to the sport of down hill skiing: a hill to go down.
I was wondering if my kids were ever going to get a chance at wearing their own status symbol, or even being able to go back to New England in the winter.  I was picturing conversations like:
DD: No. I'm sorry. I can't go with you to New Hampshire in the winter. 
I can't ski.
 I'm from Iowa.
DS: No. I'm sorry. I don't want to go to Maine in the winter. 
I can't ski.
I'm from Iowa.

And then I received an e-mail that made me love my adopted state even more than I do after calculating the "discount" on cost of living expenses every year.

"Join us for half-price homeschool days on the following three Fridays...."

Wait...on a week-day?? (= empty slopes!)
Wait...down hill skiing....In Iowa??

And so we spent the night before our sojourn finding our long-johns, wool sweaters, ski pants, hats and gloves to get us through a day on the slope(s).  We packed our lunch and snacks and gave fair warning to the kids about no $5 hot chocolate splurges.  We counted our money carefully hoarded from Christmas and headed north to the adventure promising, adrenaline surging enticement of trying to stay upright while defying both speed and gravity.

And the day did not disappoint.  Nothing much in Iowa does.
Sure, it wasn't the elevation, trail length or snazzy lodge facilities of Sugarloaf.
Nor was it the posh, glamorous surroundings of Steamboat.

But it was close, friendly and perfect for my little family of beginners. 
Oh, and did I mention, Cheap???
The four of us were able to get lift tickets, rentals and lessons for less than the cost of one adult New England status symbol. 

I think I'm in love.

And I get a lift ticket to keep on my jacket.

'cause I didn't miss the class on that.  ;)

This is a personal, not paid, endorsement for Seven Oaks.

No comments:

Post a Comment