Burnt Pizza and Soggy French Fries

Mt. Bachelor

Leave the ski instructing to the ski instructor
By Taylor Thompson

Santa and snowmen, hot chocolate and snowball fights—there’s plenty to love about being a kid in wintertime. But for the adventurous youngster, it doesn’t get much more exciting than sliding down a snowy hill with sticks on your feet. And what better place to start skiing than right here in our own backyard?

Renowned for its epic (yes, I said it) snow quality, abundant terrain options and spectacular 360-degree views, Mt. Bachelor is delightfully close. But how and when to start your little snow bunny?

Foremost: Ski lessons.

Local mama Liz Harding didn’t even consider the option for her 4-year-old daughter Elliot, until her first do-it-yourself lesson failed miserably.

“I didn’t grow up on the slopes or even own a pair of skis,” Harding said, “But I knew the basic techniques and figured I could just teach Elliot myself.”

Unfortunately, Harding pushed things a little too soon.

“I overestimated her comfort level after giving her only a few short training tips: Wedge your skis like a pizza to slow down, and parallel them like French fries to glide faster.”

The result? “Basically, a yard sale,” recalled Harding.

But despite the ski-crossing wipeout (and all the tears and fears), Elliot eventually gave it another try—with a ski instructor, this time.

“These days,” Harding said, “when Elliot sees beginner skiers fail to position their skis properly, she whispers to me: ‘burnt pizza and soggy French fries,’ as if she’s recalling her own first experience.”

When it comes to parent vs. ski instructor, Nils Eriksson, alpine director at Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation (MBSEF) confirms that the latter is the better choice.

“If you’re new at teaching the sport, it can be easy to overlook some key factors that are absolutely critical for success,” he explains. “This can be detrimental to a skier’s development.”

According to Eriksson, these “key factors” include the right weather conditions, the right clothing and the right gear. Oh, and making it fun, of course!

“Kids identify with their first few experiences being fun,” he said. “If they start off skiing in bad weather with the wrong sized gear and clothing that isn’t warm enough, they’re not going to have fun.”

Eriksson also suggests group lessons for kids, and steadily moving them up in skill levels.

“Mt. Bachelor is the ultimate playground for kids,” Eriksson said. “And when they’re able to reach a skill level that takes them out on their own here, it gives them a sense of freedom and excitement, allowing them to really have fun with the sport.”

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