Tremblant ski school
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Can Your Family Learn to Ski in Two Days?

Tremblant ski school
Can your family learn to ski in two days? My head appears freakishly round in that helmet. I can’t even look at it without cringing, but it’s all in good fun and fitness is important.The older I get the more daring I am in some ways. This year I have embraced a lot of activities I never ever would have even looked at in my 30s.

If you had told me even one month ago that I’d be learning to ski in the Upper Laurentians of Quebec, on Mont Tremblant, in my mid-40s I think I would have told you to stop drinking. I am a yoga girl, body flow, centergy, weights, planks – I am good at all of those. Swimming, I endure as a means of fitness, and because pools are mostly warm. But, skiing? Well, the thought never crossed my mind until last weekend when the opportunity presented itself and then I thought why doesn’t the entire family learn to ski together?

Tremblant-ski-school
Getting ready for Tremblant ski school

Last weekend we flew to Mont Tremblant, Quebec with Porter Airlines and my family went to ski school. Picture me, afraid of heights jumping with strange planks attached to my feet off a chairlift at the top of Mont Tremblant. I am not, as I have already established, a skier. Nor am I particularly fearless. But I find that in my 40s I do more than I ever did before. I choose to embrace new things with my family and together we sometimes enjoy brilliant new experiences through travel. I hoped this might be one of those occasions.

ski-school
Getting outfitted with skis and helmets and the rest of it.

Friday night:

Suiting up:

We arrived at Tremblant Friday just in time for dinner and were outfitted with all the ski gear we needed. For a family of four who never skied that was a big undertaking. But Mont Tremblant has all the gear you could possibly need. You can easily rent all of it for the weekend. We were even able to borrow four sets of ski jackets and pants for each of us. The service was friendly and fast and we took advantage of the ski valet for the night so we didn’t need to carry skis and poles back and forth after each lesson. Then we had a great dinner at Gypsy. Tapas was delicious and another first for us. But here’s where it gets  tricky. The wine during our dinner was flowing freely and I was happy to be in Tremblant, having fun, so we might have had a few glasses. Service at Gypsy was great and every time I looked my glass mysteriously was full again. We slept well in our spacious suite at Ermitage du Lac and woke early to hit the slopes. I didn’t really give much thought to the fact that wine maybe isn’t the best fuel for your body the night before your first ever ski lesson. Oops.

family ski school
family ski school

 Family Ski School Day One:

In the morning we met our guide in the lobby ready to go. The experience putting on ski boots for the first time was challenging for everyone female in my family. My husband, the athletic guy and brown belt martial artist, knew how they buckled up, so thankfully that helped. We walked to the cabriolet feeling like astronauts. Psst say cabriolet several times in a row. It feels like you are visiting Europe. I loved that. Ski boots are heavy and stiff and not extremely comfortable (at least until day two when my feet totally adjusted.) It was slippery out too so the ups and downs on the stairs were super challenging (mostly for me).

Bob, our ski instructor, met us at the overnight ski valet and we started our first family ski lesson ever. How to hoist your skis on your shoulder with poles and walk in ski boots. I was shocked how heavy skis were, especially when you carry them all the way to the lift or the hill. But we managed and found ourselves together on the learning hill. I was completely okay with that. In fact, I could have stayed there all weekend, but Bob had other plans. We started with the basics of how to get your skis on and Team Schuck was doing great until one of the kids randomly fell while walking in skis and started crying. The next one took a tumble shortly after that and got back up and then Jim took a fall and I assumed it was my turn but I stayed standing. Little did I realize I would reserve all my falling for Day 2 on the big mountain run.  The teary daughter stopped crying and we each managed to ski across the hill a few times. I wiped out once or twice and really needed to practice stopping, or snowplow as Bob dubbed it. The thing about falling on skis is that although you might be afraid of that at first, once you tumble a couple of times you realize you are landing in snow and typically it’s pretty forgiving, as is all the extra snowsuit padding.

“Remember snowplow,” Bob repeated to all of us.

If I didn’t seem to be getting that concept I’d hear: “Pizza!”

And the more tired I got, the more I heard “Chocolate cake.”  All of that by way of saying put your legs and feet in a triangular kind of position. Incidentally skiing makes you hungry because of all the food references and the extremely challenging physical nature of it all.

The instructor was extremely patient and we put him through his paces!

We learned how to put our skis on and take them off. We learned how to criss cross the learning area and we managed to stay standing most of the time. About half way into my first day of lessons I realized that the wine the night before was a big mistake and that the breakfast I eat every morning at home when I work at a desk in my home office is a fraction of the meal I needed to have before an entire morning of skiing. I was dead exhausted half way through, my legs felt like lead, and I was pretty much not absorbing any more learning. My kids kept at it and so did my husband and they were doing great. I peaked early, I guess. By the end of the morning my kids, who were both anxious earlier in the day, skied right past me and down a hill. I walked down the final hill because it looked steep to me. I learned one final lesson that morning and it was this: Don’t be a dipstick and walk down a ski hill because it’s 50 times harder than skiing down the hill. My one daughter learned this lesson the next morning.

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The hill at night

Family Ski School Day Two:

Day two. We were all excited to hit the slopes, err..maybe…bunny hills, the next morning. We were each able to put our skis on ourselves. The boots were still challenging to buckle up tight enough, but we managed. We adjusted to carrying the skis, and the gear was coming along. The boots didn’t feel as bad. In fact they felt much better than the first day, and I was able to actually ski a bit. I remembered some of what Bob taught us on day one and my confidence was growing. I skied down a different practice area and I was even able to maintain my balance on the magic carpet conveyer belt while wearing skis. That made me happy and gave me hope that I could do this. Bob taught us all to turn and to stop with a turn and we were each doing really well on the small hills with all the new information. Of course, that meant we were deemed ready to jump onto the chairlift with skis attached to our feet and suddenly head to a real mountain run. My fear of heights was peaking but YOLO as my kids like to say so why not?

Tremblant-family-ski-school
Tremblant family ski school

I managed to get on the chairlift and hold on for dear life all the while feeling the weight of the skis beneath me. Bob took the chair behind Jim and I, and he sat with the girls. I heard him reminding them to jump as the chairlift slowed at the top and then I spied both of them landing flat on their bottoms. But just a few seconds later as I was contemplating how on earth Bob thought I could manage this massive long run, I watched as Payton sped past me again. Then Jim whipped by. Ainsley hesitated, this time not knowing what to expect from the run made her a bit nervous, so I decided that was my opportunity and I skied past her.

Mont Tremblant
That’s me. Day 2 skiing on Mont Tremblant.

It felt great. I was doing it at the top of the run called La Passe and the scenery was stunning. So worth the trip. It was magical really and I could hardly believe how far I had come as I watched my kids sail past me again and then I realized I needed to turn and managed okay on the first turn, but wiped out majestically on the second turn. Bob helped me back to my feet. I sort of figured out how to stand again and then we were off. Each time there was a flat landing space or a new challenge, Bob stopped us to talk us through it and then we’d continue and do our best. Half way down we spied some seven, or eight-year-olds skiing up around us through the forested areas that are a bit off track and as I looked around I gained speed and totally forgot how to stop. We stopped to see the Tam Tam trail for a few minutes. Tam Tam is a new kid’s trail and it has all sorts of beautiful cravings along it and at the entry way.

At that point Ainsley took her skis off entirely, because her legs were hurting. She walked for about five minutes before she realized the same thing I realized the day before. Never walk down a mountain when you have skis, because it is way way harder to walk. At a few points my older daughter got nervous on the run, but if Bob saw she was having trouble he took the time to help Payton down and he skied with her holding on to his waist for a short section of the run. He was also really good at reminding us all we could do it and stepping back to give us space to try.

On the level passages I grew more confident and was doing better. Bob would remind me to pick up speed so I didn’t have to work so hard on the flat parts of the trail, but I didn’t mind slowing down at all and it gave me a moment to look around and appreciate the beauty of the space we were in. Two and a half hours over two days for all four of us and we were skiers. We had all the basics. That first day, I asked Bob if it was likely we could learn to ski in as little as two days and he told me that first day yes we could. It’s possible to learn to ski in two days. In fact your entire family can learn to ski like ours did in two days.

By the end of the second day we made it!! We knew how to ski. Oh, I wasn’t graceful, or anything, and I landed on my butt at least three times that last day. But I did it. We did it! Team Schuck learned how to ski in two days at Mont Tremblant. And on day two, I was a skier. I fell plenty of times, but I got back up. (Also a good lesson for my kids, age 10 and 13.) My entire family skied down one of the runs at Mont Tremblant on the Sunday just before we left for home. I know. I know. I could hardly believe it myself. I learned how to ski in my mid-40s and what’s more I actually really enjoyed it! Plus the fitness potential is spectacular! My body was screaming at me Monday morning, in a good way. I had worked muscles that I didn’t know I had in my thighs and my upper back. Even super sporty 10-year-old who runs and swims and rides horses, and skates and does martial arts told the teachers her hamstrings were sore after skiing. (I didn’t think she had any muscles left that weren’t activated daily in her fitness routine.)

Now here’s to hoping we all remember how to do this again next year. I enjoyed it that much and as Bob kept saying: “The family that skis together, stays together.”

I can see us returning next year for more and the year after that and so on…because, with 96 trails, Mont Tremblant awaits!!

We were guests of Mont Tremblant for a weekend recently. We received accommodations  flights and meals for free. I have been sharing our experiences here on my blog. We never ever skied before the weekend we travelled to Mont Tremblant. My opinion is my own.

There is still time to visit Mont Tremblant this season. I highly recommend it.

It’s Tuesday so it’s also time for my Travel Tuesday weekly feature. Don’t forget to link up. Leave a link to one of your travel posts. This link is perpetual so that means that people can see your gorgeous travel writing featured here every week. By the way I visit each and every post here and leave a comment. I encourage you to do the same.

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Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.

51 Comments

  • Randa @ TBK

    I haven’t skiied since Whistler – in 2011. Let’s just say I’m a slow skiier.

    Like Ainsley, my legs were so incredibly sore, I’m not used to working them like that. haha. It’s a great way to be active with the family.

  • Lori at frugaledmontonmama.com

    I love the fact that you were all able to learn, TOGETHER. In addition to having the skills to ski (go you guys!) you’re going to be able to look back on the memories, and the hilarious fall down, that happened when you learned together. Looks like there isn’t a better place to learn.

  • Aeryn Lynne

    Oh gosh, those photos of your fam and Mont Tremblant are just beautiful. I remember seeing your tweets of your trip while you were, and loved every one of them! 🙂 Last time I skied, I was very much a resident of the bunny hill, lol, but I’ve been wanting to visit Mont Tremblant for ages now. Maybe next winter will be the time to finally go! I’m LOLing over the food references. 😀 I’d probably “accidentally” make my way to the chalet after one more mention of pizza, ’cause that’s obviously what they were suggesting right? 😉

  • canadianmomeh.com

    What an amazing post Paula! I loved following your adventures on Twitter and Instagram. My family learnt to ski at Mont Tremblant as well last year, as part of their 75th Anniversary. Isn’t is simply incredible and breath-taking? Great review.

  • Pam

    I’ve never been skiing before. I would love to learn to ski with my family like you did. It sounds like so much fun.

  • Liz Mays

    This actually sound s great. I used to ski as a child but I’d have to relearn it now. It’s really nice that your instructor was patient. It takes a lot of practice!

  • April G

    I want to learn how to ski and snowboard. I think our family would do great in a couple of days. I’d be really nervous though. Looks like you were well taken care of.

  • Donna Ward

    Hi Paula, What fun that had to be – I learned to ski quickly years ago – but, my little guy at 7 yrs old, well the girls were more interested in helping him, so he never got into it! lol – I felt the same way on the chair lift as you did the first times – and was always nervous about getting off!

  • Cahley Tod-Tims

    What an amazing experience for you guys! My local mountain is Whistler but we went to Tremblant in the early 90’s for a vacation and I have great memories. Glad you enjoyed yourselves, it is so much fun when you are able to go all over the mountain.

  • kathryn estler

    i never learned to ski. my dad had polio as a baby so he couldn’t balance on skis. I never really thought of learning as an adult.

  • Linda Manns Linneman

    This sounds like a fun vacation. My only problem is I am afraid of heights. I really did enjoy your article. It amazes me how little ones can do this

  • Michele Ash

    Thanks so much for the Fantastic Review/Information on Can Your Family Learn to Ski in Two Days? #Tremblant #TravelTuesday Linky! Sounds like all of you had a wonderful time! I have never ever had a pair of ski’s on in my life! At my age, I honestly do not think I can do it! Plus being a disabled person, I believe this would be difficult for me to do! Skiing is one of those things which I never even gave a thought to wanting to do. I do understand that you had a personal “trainer”, however, even your kids were hurting after the 2 day trip! It looked very nice where you were and I love the fact that you are liking trying new things out to do! That’s Terrific! My kids never mention skiing either, however, I have heard mention snow boarding! In the situation which we are in, financially, it’s hard for us to go anywhere anymore! I even have to grocery shop for just the bare minimum of what we actually need and not what we want! I’ve tried to sneak in a treat or so for the kids, however, there are times that I have to put them back due to the amount of money which is rung up. Anyway, Your trip must have really been a terrific one for you and your family! I’m sure the kids enjoyed it immensely! It sounds like you and your husband had a terrific time as well! Congratulations to all of you for your perseverance and your will to learn! As well as conquering what you wanted to do! I truly envy you on trying new and exciting things! Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful pictures, and your delightful reading you provided all of us! Thanks for sharing! I honestly do appreciate it! Thanks again, Michele 🙂

  • Lisa Coomer Queen

    Beautiful pictures! It looks like ya’ll had an awesome time. I tried skiing when I was younger. Not sure I would try it again at 53 though~

  • Rita Corey

    It looks like you all had such a good time. I’ve never tried to ski since I hate the cold & live in Florida.

  • Jessica Snow

    You all look so cute in your outdoor apparel. I’m terrified of skiing as I watched too many shows on avalanches. I also have an extremely bad back with lots of nerve damage so I could never do it, but it truly does look like it would be a blast. It looks like the entire family had so much fun. =)

  • Sue M.

    I never have been skiing, don’t know how well I’d do since I’m a klutz just with regular walking! 🙂 Sounds like you had a fun time learning!

  • Kim

    I have always wanted to learn how to ski, but have been too scared to try. You are truly an inspiration.

  • yolanda davis

    It looks like fun, but now I’m older give me a beach to laze on, a cocktail & a good book over cold activity anyday.

  • Kelsi

    It looks like you all had a fun time. I can’t wait until my little family is able to experience snow and skiing. 🙂

  • Cheryl Grandy

    I’m not a fan of skiing (though it’s been many years since I’ve done it, so maybe I should try again – I might feel differently now). I’m glad you took the chance and tried it. It’s great that they rent equipment so people can try it out and see if they like skiing).

  • Penny Delgado

    It’s nice to read and see pictures from someone that’s just learning an doing something for first time. I would not be brave anough to even try 🙂

  • Dawn rader

    It’s great that you all learned how to ski and that you accomplished it together!!! I would love to learn one day lol, too bad for me I would probably end up face first. my youngest is 10 and he just went skiing for his first time with his class, said it was so much fun

    • Paula

      That’s what I thought would happen to me too!! But then we spent just last week on March break practicing like mad and now I feel confident at doing this. Love to ski and will probably buy the right gear next year for all of us.

  • Rosanne

    You have a great positive attitude about your experience skiing. Reading it brings back BAD memories of how much I absolutely hate skiing. Had to learn it because of my husband and his family until I accepted who I was and didn’t have to fit in with them.

  • Alberta Gentleman

    I wish I could learn to ski. I should have tried it at least once when I was younger. Everyone looks like they are having fun.

  • Julie Simpson

    Needing two new knees and having had joint disease all my life it just seems like one of those things I won’t be able to do. I live in Michigan so I used to go sledding but that was many years ago but you guys enjoy! And be careful!!