Category Archives: Camp

Schooled on skiing

So cute!

So cute!

I spent most of my childhood in a village nestled in a valley between two (smallish) mountains.  Each of these mountains was home to a (smallish) ski resort.  Despite the proximity of these places to experience skiing, I personally never availed myself of the opportunity.  Skiing was always a bit beyond the budget, a fact that I recognized and accepted without question.

My first real chance to ski was as a newlywed.  We were visiting with some friends in Vermont and the plan was to ski, with borrowed equipment, from the condo to the base of the hill where we would purchase our lift tickets and enjoy an afternoon of outdoor activity.  Sounds fine, right?  Skis over my shoulder, I joined the others for the walk through the parking lots of the condo complex.  We arrived at the place where we were to snap into our skis and I looked down that hill, the whole time thinking about my lack of health insurance, and just knew it wasn’t happening for me.  I happily went back to the condo and  read the afternoon away, relieved to have avoided the certainty of a broken leg.

Years later, I had a one hour private ski lesson at Bousquet Mountain in the Berkshires.  At that point I was a fairly accomplished cross-country skier and, other than the icy mound I had to face as I disembarked the chairlift, I was pretty comfortable negotiating my way down the hills after my lesson.  Skiing was a fun activity, but not something for which I felt a burning excitement.  I was content with the affordability of cross-country and I loved the fact that I could keep my equipment in my car and take advantage of the opportunity to ski at a moment’s notice.  Winters began to feel much shorter.

Other than a winter triathlon that I participated in (“competed” in being too strong of a word), I didn’t ski again until this year and, I want to tell you, something has changed.  Skiing suddenly seems like a lot of fun and I am very much looking forward to getting back on the slopes with the frequency allowed by my budget and calendar.  Maybe it’s all the running I’ve been doing, but I find downhill skiing to be easier than cross-country. The ability to turn as I glide down hill, as opposed to skiing down the hills at Albany Muni on long skis without real edges, makes controlling my speed much more manageable.  My legs are strong and although I expected to feel some residual soreness after my day at Belleayre, I didn’t have the slightest muscle tenderness to remind me of the fun I had enjoyed.

Speaking of enjoyment, Aloysius and I brought along our generation next boys and planted them in Kids Camp for the day.  It was an investment ($100 + lunch), but we enjoyed knowing they were getting some quality instruction (2 to 1 ratio with the instructor) while we were exploring the mountain.  We had a great view of their activities from the lodge, beers firmly in hand, and they seemed to be having a good time together.  As far as the little guys enjoying the whole skiing thing, the jury is out on that.  I can tell you they probably had more fun than their teacher who noted that although the boys might be the best of “vacation buddies,” they certainly weren’t the best “learning buddies.”  What can I say – they’re lively boys.  They’ve got years ahead of them to learn to love to ski.  Trust me.

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Filed under Aloysius, Boys, Camp, Exercise, family, friends, Recommendations, skiing, snow, upstate New York, winter

Camp

The word “camp” connotes many different things to people.  For me, “camp” reminds me of that place where my mother sent me for a week, the summer before 8th grade, because I was on the verge of getting out of control.  I remember a cool monkey bridge, early morning swims in a lake hidden by a fog of condensation, making new short term friends and getting my first kiss. Not an overall bad experience, despite it being the summer we lost Thurman Munson.  And, FYI,  it didn’t prevent me from my continuing spiral to the “dark side,” if you consider some typical teen aged rebellion to be worthy of panic and punishment. Perhaps things might have turned out differently, Mom, if we had both stayed home, huh?

I’ve heard “camp” used as slang for the “big house” or prison.  This usage is probably most on par with how our two older boys would describe camp.  They definitely resent the structure a week of camp inflicts upon them during a 10 week stretch of being primarily on their own time frame.  I think that the timing of their camp week is a pretty good check in the otherwise unstructured block of time known as summer.  We purposefully do not over schedule their summers with enrichment and lessons because they are kids and we want them to simply have a chance to experience their own rhythm for a few weeks.  But, a week’s worth of structure can only benefit all of us.  And it will provide me with an opportunity to prepare for our next getaway to the Wellfleet.

This is Liam’s third summer at camp, and Griffin and Liam’s second summer at their current camp in Rensselaer County. Liam’s first camp experience was at Camp Chingachgook, which was a beautiful spot, but outrageously expensive (in my opinion) when we considered sending two boys.  I mean, seriously, I could book an additional week on the Cape for the entire family for the price of sending 2 kids to Chingachgook for a “week.”  Week is in quotation marks because a “week” of camp is similar to an “hour” of therapy – not an accurate measurement of time, when week = Sunday through Friday.

When I picked up the boys from camp last year, they looked tired, their complexions were a bit darker (a combination of sun and dirt) and they seemed bigger, perhaps even slightly older.  They enthusiastically filled the car with their stories and experiences from the week and I got the impression that they had really enjoyed themselves.  I asked if they were already looking forward to next summer and they bombarded me with their lame criticisms of camp – the food, the lack of privacy, the being on a schedule… These are all valid complaints, but certainly issues which they will have to contend with for many, many years to come.  Why not learn some coping skills?  So, here we are, Summer 2010 and the big boys are at camp  (again) and Quinn is home with us for his own version of camp, or, as I like to call it, Boot Camp.  This little boy of ours needs some attention (or breaking, akin to a wild horse) before he heads off to the big K in September.

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Filed under Boys, Camp