Over the weekend, we received the season schedule for my 9-year-old son’s recreational basketball league. His games will be played on Saturdays at 12:30 p.m.
That is, of course, in addition to the travel-league team he managed to make this winter, with games scheduled for Sunday afternoons. There’s also karate class twice a week, a host of classmate birthday parties scribbled in on the kitchen wall calendar, his younger brother’s own schedule of basketball games, and our 3-year-old daughter’s impending slate of swimming lessons every Saturday morning.
Skiing? Well, it’s in there. Somewhere.
These are the familiar challenges every skiing and riding family faces each winter in regard to our kids’ activity schedules. By the time basketball or hockey season is in full swing, New England ski resorts beckon with open trails, playing as a tease from afar while we’re occupied at the local gymnasium or rink, itching to also experience the fresh tracks in the hills.
Finding the time is an annual struggle.
While I’ve succumbed to the fact that we’re not going to approach the 30-plus days of skiing that had become the norm prior to their arrivals, and even in the infant stage of my oldest, it’s imperative at their ages that we find more time to enjoy the mountains together than a spare weekend in February and maybe one more in March. That takes planning with the knowledge that it will be difficult to wrangle ourselves away on any potential powder day.
The kids are all at different stages in their skiing ventures. The 9-year-old is ready to take on the next steps with his turns at an advanced level. The 6-year-old needs a lot more seasoning, never mind a healthy helping of the confidence his brother has developed over a half-decade of learning his father’s passion.
The girl may or may not experience ski school for the first time later this winter, but not before she pops into some bindings and learns the ways of the magic carpet and feel for sliding on snow with me first.
This year, we’ve taken preemptive steps to assure that they all develop further.
Their grandparents have committed to purchasing season rentals for the boys as a Christmas present (junior used ski packages start at $129.95 at Country Ski and Sport with locations in Quincy, Westwood, and Hanson), which will save the headache of the base area rental shop, which can be akin to your worst Black Friday shopping experience on any given weekend. Having their skis and boots beckoning from our back door will also serve as an impetus to making sure they get packed on the roof rack more often as well.
Additionally, the middle child is already enrolled in the Big Dogs program at Blue Hills Ski Area in Canton. This three-week program, featuring 75-minute group lessons, takes place over three weekends in either January or February and runs $109 for the duration, $169 with rentals included.
The five-week program (ages 7-15, seven days a week, $129-$359) for my oldest wouldn’t fit into his busy schedule, but there is the possibility we might be able to fit it in on one of the midweek days that he doesn’t have practice for something else after school.
Now that we have the schedule for everything else, it at least opens the door for him to get in tune with his skiing at a ski area close to home.
Hopefully that means new challenges for all of them later in the season and into spring. Of course, that’s when baseball begins.
It’s too early to start worrying about that just yet, though.