Monday, January 26, 2009

Ski bums

Last weekend we went on our annual 'Hasunuma Family Ski Trip'. There were 4 families this year, with a total of 7 kids ranging in age from 3 to 7. We chartered a bus, and left Hasunuma at 3 am on Saturday. Arriving at the Minami Ski Resort in Niigata at around 8 am, we were impressed to see the mountain covered in a good 10cm of new snow!

It took us a while to get everything organized and unloaded, and then to get everyone dressed and rent whatever equipment we needed... We were all on the slopes by 10, and ready for the fun to begin!

Taiga, for his skiing debut, started the day with a 90 minute lesson in the kiddies ski school. I'm not sure how much of a difference it made, but he seemed to enjoy it. They spent most of the time on just one ski, trying to get a sense of balance and stability. After about an hour in the cold snow, they took a break and had a sit-down in the nearby snack shack. We just happened to be taking our break in there as well. The ski school kids had a glass of cold water, and then the teacher handed out grape gummies to the kids. Everyone was happy to have a sweet treat, except Taiga, who generally doens't like gummies. The teacher, thinking he was just being shy, insisted that eating a gummy would help him ski better. So he grudgingly took the gummy and ate it, all the while sending envious looks toward Kai who was enjoying a cup of hot milk. Luckily, the kids went back outside before Taiga saw that Kai also got to eat one of his favorite snacks, tako-yaki.

After his lesson, Taiga hit the slopes with Daddy, while Kai and I battled the challenging upper runs. Kai was a little nervous on the steep sections, but didn't look it at all as he seemingly easily wound his way down. He has great control and never went faster than he was comfortable. Later in the day, Kai and Tagia discovered a small 'jump' run. Taken slowly, they were a series of gentle humps, but if one built up enough speed, a nice bit of air could be caught on the last hump. Kai did very well at this, and only missed his landing once, when a big skier wiped out directly in Kai's path. Taiga took the jump with Daddy, and really got some air!!

All in all, it was a wonderful 2 days of skiing. The snow and fog of the first morning cleared up shortly after noon, and from then on in, the weather was perfect! The hot bath in the hotel was a great way to end the day (and start the next as well), and of course having dinner with all our friends was wonderful as well!

We got stuck in traffic on the way home, due to an accident on the highway, but other than arriving home an hour later than planned, it was a fun ride. Kai and Taiga are eager to get back to the slopes again, so hopefully we'll be able to go at least once more this season. I'm considering packing their skis for our trip to Canada, but that just means sooooo much more luggage...

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