We naively assumed that Willie remembers everything he learned at Christmas at the Austrian ski school. Grossarltal has beautiful, snowy slopes, nothing but ski. It seemed to us at least.
‘We made a mistake!’ Magda looked at me reproachfully, to make it clear that the plural was used in this case only for pure courtesy.
‘Honey, but all the instructors…’
‘All the instructors have lied to us all the time! Look at these kids on the slopes. This one is probably the same age as Will. And this one is certainly younger. And what? They are skiing nice. And our son…’
Do you also have such a feeling that on the slope everyone has better equipment, nicer suits, and above all, they ski better from you?
We have that. But the most sensitive issue is the level of ski skills of our son. Magda wants him to be the smartest, the greatest, the bravest and the best in everything. If something goes wrong – for example, as now, when Will is on skis and for half an hour, he only says that he wants to go back to the hotel, go to the pool, then spend the evening watching cartoons on the tablet – her first thought is: we made a mistake because we did not start teaching the child to ski at the age of two. But all the instructors, in Poland, Slovakia and Austria, convinced us that the ideal time to put a child on skis for the first time is four years…
Spring in the Alps today revealed its cheerful face. There was wet snow yesterday and there was fog. The sun is shining today. At an altitude of two thousand meters, at the top of Kreuzkogel, there are eleven grades. There are no miracles – at this temperature, the snow will be wet, and although in the morning, after a well-worn “corduroy” it rides wonderfully, the conditions are more difficult with every hour. I would say that they resemble the slopes in the Tatra Mountains in May’s weekend, but even in the eighties, when there were still long winters, I never raced on snow that was two meters deep at this time of year. And that’s the snow cover on the routes in Grossarltal.
‘Austrian kids have been skiing since they stopped crawling and you can not compare our little dweller with them’, I tried to ease the situation. ‘And here, in Grossarltal, in a slightly less known part of the Ski amadé region, there are simply more locals than visitors. There are no Russian oligarchs or Swiss, for whom Austria is a haven of cheap prices and good food, but they do not want to go further than a few resorts near the border. That is why three-year-olds are flying around us, upsetting us with their skills.
Will finally managed to convince himself that it is worth going literally two hundred meters down a gentle slope to sit on the sun loungers next to the stylish wooden hut, or a shelter-restaurant.
Half an hour of fun in the snow improved the mood of a four-year-old. And we – grown-ups – were restored by the calm Eierlikör, which is a delicious eggnog served here with warm whipped cream and cinnamon. Yes, we definitely needed it to make the only sensible decision: Will goes back to school!
Or actually to the Ski school.
Will was the only non-German child, but there was no problem for him to understand the commands and have a great time. Two hours of learning later, he perfectly mastered two basic concepts used by instructors in ski schools for children:
‘Pommes!’ means ‘chips’ – set the skis in parallel, with the tops down the slope. Thanks to this we gain speed.
‘Pizza!’ – we direct the tops creating a triangle, similar to a piece of pizza. The more the triangle angle is open, the more efficiently we will slow down.
The Inter Sport Lackner ski school is located in the valley. Humour much better than at high altitudes.On the alpine, wide slopes of Grossarltal (meaning ‘valleys of great mountain meadows’), it is enough to take every blue route. A little bit, a dozen meters from point A (mama) to point B (dad). Chips, pizza, chips, pizza…
Of course, there will be puzzles. Sure, it will not do without small bribery. But a few times he will be able to ski on his own skis with a few easy, well-prepared slopes.
And downstairs, the Inter Sport store Willie will get the promised small snowcat, which looks like real and is produced by the same Kassbohrer company, who makes large snowcats preparing a route for another day of skiing.