Mom Review: Liberty Mountain

We are not a skiing family. My husband grew up in Lafayette, LA, and I grew up riding horses. In my early adulthood, I learned to ski, satisfied with being “pretty good.” My husband took a day-long lesson last year to catch up.

We both wanted to introduce our kids to the sport (well, two out of three of them). Although, many skiing families start their kids out younger than age 2, we opted to keep 21 month-old Kiefer in the hot chocolate section of the mountain. Lorelei, 5, and Ben, 4, were the lucky ones during this family adventure. 

We became a skiing family in two steps (we’re a plan-ahead type family). Step one: My husband took the day off work and drove up to Liberty Mountain in Carrol Valley, PA, with Lorelei on a weekday. They signed up for a “Ski With Me” lesson (cost: $125/hour), where the instructor did two things: First he focused on teaching her how to ski; second, he coached my husband on how to safely ski with a child. For this class, the parent must have “decent knowledge” of how to ski themselves. My husband qualified (barely).  

Step two: Two weeks later, on Presidents Day, our whole family returned to Liberty. We left our Great Falls, VA, home early, arriving at the mountain around 7 a.m. We snuck in before the crowds did, and were able to get up and down the mountain without waiting in line at the lift. By 10 a.m., the slopes filled up and the equipment rental area was a zoo.

This time, I took the “Ski With Me” class with Ben, and Lorelei took a private lesson with the same instructor she had before. My husband kindly volunteered to stay back in the warm lodge with Kiefer toddling around. (There is “playcare” available for approximately $17/hour.)

The “Ski With Me” lesson was fantastic. Just moments after meeting our instructor, David, Ben and I clumsily shuffled our way to the ski lifts. Our first lesson was safety on the ski lift. David showed me how to lift my son up a little to sit onto the chair lift, and then how to secure him with my ski pole while simultaneously pulling the bar over both of us. Once off the lift, David guided my son down the mountain by giving Ben one end of his ski pole. He instructed both of us. “You’ve got to keep talking to him the whole time,” he told me. “Get down low so the pole is his height—rest in a squat position.” And to Ben, he encouraged, “Good job, buddy!  Keep your arms out! Don’t let your skis kiss each other! You’re doing great!” I was pretty busy remembering how to ski, listening to David’s instruction, and watching my young son ski with boldness and confidence.

On our second run, Ben skied by himself a little. In between these stretches, he held on to my pole, and I practiced coaching him, guiding him, and trying to not cause him to fall! I did make him fall—but only once, and I fell, too. (It gave us both the opportunity to practice getting right back up!) We got in six runs in one hour, and Ben was grinning and laughing the whole time, clearly very proud of himself. Meanwhile, Lorelei skied alone with her instructor, Spike (cost: $102/hour). At one point, Ben, David and I were on the ski lift and Lorelei and Spike whizzed by beneath us. More cautious than Ben, Lorelei was clutching Spike’s right hand with both of her little hands, determined not to let him go and ski by herself. That’s Lorelei—brave, but cautious. She, too, had a successful day and skied independently by the end of the day.

There are other options to teach kids how to ski, including group lessons and ski camp. (Check out Liberty’s website to learn more at www.libertymountainresort.com). In case you’re wondering my husband’s fate, I relieved him of Kiefer duty and he got to ski. After warming up, he took our older kids, one at a time, on one run before we called it a day. They got to show off their new skills to him and he got to see the smiles I had seen earlier. In all, this was a big adventure for us—we took a big leap out of our normal routine and tried out a new sport as a family. Our kids had the opportunity to face a new challenge, and we were lucky enough to be beside them as they earned a hefty dose of self-confidence. They are already counting down the days until we return!

Kate Schwarz is a full-time mom and wife living in Great Falls, VA. In addition to reading to her three small children, Kate is a writer, distance runner, Crossfitter and blogger about raising kids with books at www.katesbookery.blogspot.com.

About WF Staff

Washington FAMILY Staff

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.