As I finished up a 5-week class teaching 5 year-olds the joys of skiing at Winter Park Ski Resort, I reflected on the highs and lows of the season. Today is definitely one of the highs.
When I started with this group of two boys and two girls, they had never skied before. I have to admit I had my doubts on how it would go. What if they didn’t like skiing, what if they weren’t able to enjoy sliding down a mountain? What if they couldn’t figure out the vagaries of making turns?
All that would be for nought. Where six weeks ago, they didn’t even know how to put skis on, slide or stop, today they were whizzing around the mountain, making big loopy turns, laughing, smiling and excited to ski some more. Realizing how far they had come, I took us on a very special rite of passage for kids in ski school this afternoon — Dilly Dally Alley.
My first acquaintance with Dilly Dally Alley was a rather humorous one. Bryon and I were skiing at Winter Park for the first time about 8 years ago. While we were waiting in line to get on the lift, a ski instructor asked if I would ride with three kids from his class. Glad to help out, I happily responded that I would.
Having worked in the national parks with kids, I enjoy chatting with them. As we rode up the lift, I asked, “What’s your favorite trail?”
In perfect unison, they gleefully responded, “Dilly Dally Alley!”
Since they were 5 and 6 year olds, I figured, this Dilly Dally Alley must be a relatively easy beginner trail. Bryon, my husband was just learning how to ski, so thought that would be a good trail for him. How wrong I was…
We looked at the map and made our way over to Dilly Dally Alley. It started out innocently enough, not looking too steep as it zigged through the woods. But then the fun, or as Bryon would tell you, the sheer terror began.
These large “whoop-de-doos” were these monstrous ups and down of troughs and hills, some of them 2-3 feet high or higher. The trail itself is quite narrow, maybe 6-10 feet wide, so there is little margin for error. For a child, it’s great fun, sort of like skiing a roller coaster. But for an adult who is just learning skiing, it’s downright frightening, as you might be launched off the top of a bump at any moment, sending you flying headlong into a tree.
To make matters worse, as Bryon tried to survive this ordeal, a group of small children in back of him kept yelling, “Get out of the way!”
Bryon did survive that day, and we got a good chuckle out of it. Bryon of course, years later, is a great skier who can not only ski Dilly Dally Alley, but black diamond mogul trails. But to this day, I still tease him and take selfies in front of the trail sign, texting him that I skied his “favorite” trail today.
So skiing down Dilly Dally Alley today with my newbie group of 5-year old skiers felt that much more special today, as I heard them gush afterwards how fun it was.
The joys of Dilly Dally Alley and alpine skiing have now been passed on to a new generation of skiers…