Sunday I had to cut short my ride at The Dome. Just when everyone stopped riding around easy and chatting about random topics (we call this "warming up"), I had to pull off and leave. Not the most intense workout this week, but I had someplace to be. The plan was to do something on the trainer that night to make up for my extensive "warm up".
It was the first day of Alyeska Mighty Mites, so I had to roust my daughter out of bed and get her to the hill. After a quick turnaround, we were in the car for the 45 minute drive down Turnagain Arm, arriving with a few minutes to spare before the coaches' meeting.
The first few days are always the most hectic. Some kids hadn't skied yet this season. Others grew significantly and are still figuring out what to do with arms and limbs. The groups are unbalanced, with certain kids skiing with more skill than others. The general public that we share the hill with is in a similar state. Open terrain is limited by early season conditions, although it's vastly superior to what we dealt with last year.
My head is constantly on a swivel. Every novice snowboarder is a potential hazard to my little pack of liabilities. Instead of concentration on their current development level and how I can improve their skills, I'm mainly concerned with ensuring they don't die and I stay out of jail. The tension ebbs and flows throughout the day, but never goes away until the last run is over.
It's exhausting.
My daughter is in my group again this year, at least for the early part of the season. I worried that she would not listen to me as much as another coach or lean too heavily on me instead of her peers. I guess that's no longer an issue, because she spent the day happily chatting away with her friends and formed her own little mini group for the chairlift.
It's both great to see and a little sad. Sometimes I miss my little girl.
As always, we hit the Ice Cream Shop on the way home. I'm not sure which one of us it's a reward for, but the sugar rush helps me survive he drive home as she naps in the back seat. With the snow falling and the traffic on the Seward Highway, I always need the extra kick after a long day on the mountain. Plus, it's ice cream.
To be honest, I've never been as tired after a day skiing as I am post-Mighty Mites. It's a full-body workout. Maybe it's an negative reflection on my overall fitness that a bunch of 8 and 9 year old girls beat me up, but my sense of shame has been tempered over the years.
I'm hoping they're having fun. I'm hoping they're learning skills that will lead to an active life. I'm hoping none of them are maimed on my watch.
Eventually everything will calm down and we'll get to the fun part of the season.
I just hope I can last that long.


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