Winter Park is the place this family would rather be |

Winter Park is the place this family would rather be

To the Editor:

“Sugar mountains mommmeee!” This is a battle cry of sorts at our house and we wait each fall to look west and see what my son declared “powdered sugar on the hills” when he was 2 years old. When the mountains are totally frosted we know we can load up our skis and head west.

My third-grader brought home an assignment last week; an essay about his favorite place. I still retain official position as his spell checker and as I read his story I was delighted and relieved to see that he’d chosen Winter Park instead of the living room floor in front of the Play Station 2. I cannot claim that Trent is a Steinbeck yet but I had a college professor who was very big on being concise and straight to the point. He’d have been pleased with my son’s work who’s opening sentence was: “I love going to Winter Park because it is the most awesomest place to ski.”

In an ex-third grade teacher’s attempt to improve writing skills I asked him to explain why it is the “awesomest.” He listed a number of things: The ski runs are awesome, the ski instructors are fun, Mr.Bob, as the kids refer to the Ski School Director, was awesome, the pizza and root beer are awesome, the Alpine Slide and lifts are awesome, the bike trails … well, you get the picture. OK, I have to tell you that I introduced him to the use of the thesaurus for something besides awesome but it is evident that Winter Park is where he has had some of the best times of his entire 8 1/2 years.

I have to agree with my son ” if I could be anywhere, Winter Park is right up there on the list.

My daughters were 5 and 3 last year when they had their first experience on skis. We signed them up for Ski and Ride school and I don’t think I could have imagined a more positive first time experience on skis for them. Our two girls are always willing to try new things (except foreign food) and they are NEVER shy. My husband and I watched the girls from a distance and saw them falling in love with the sport that we both love. They both loved their instructor and were up and down the magic carpet in no time and when we found them in Marmont Flats in the afternoon, Emma was wondering why she couldn’t go to the “top” where her big brother was.

More than anything we were impressed with how much patience, energy and humor their instructor had. When 3 o’clock rolled around and we came to the Green Room to pick them up, Andy was singing silly songs to them, one girl per knee and they were mesmerized and giggling at the same time. As parents we were so pleased that they radiated happiness at the end of what had to be a physically exhausting day for their little legs. My son came in with an older herd of kids, snow covered and rosy cheeked, begging to go out again until the last chair up. He said he wanted to try a black diamond, his instructor and even higher authority mom said, “Blue squares, dude.”

I’ll admit I live a bit vicariously through my children when it comes to skiing. There is this little part of me that would have liked to become an expert skier, to have been young and working at a ski resort, closing down the slopes, living on a tight budget, but having the time of my life. The great thing is that as a parent, watching my children focus on training their muscles, making friends with kids and adults, reaching the bottom of a ski run and hearing a muffled, “That was awesome!” from behind their scarves ” I still experience their joy and mine.

So as soon as the clouds leave adequate snow, I can locate the waterproof mittens and the pressure on the tires is checked we will be heading up to Winter Park to drive two hours, be cold and risk breaking a limb … because as I tell my friend, and my son put it best … “It is awesome.”

Jennifer McKalko


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