The blog of the adventures (or mis-adventures) of an active mountain woman.

Outsmarted by Skiing Seven-Year-Olds

Over the “rush” season at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, I once again returned to teaching 7-14 year-olds how to ski. This is a source of endless amusement and wonderment, especially in the private lesson sector. At a fantastic $600 a day for a full-day private less0n, these kids (and their parents) occupy a higher tax bracket than I knew as a child. This became glaringly apparent when I entered the gondola with two children and they began arguing whether the gondola box was bigger or smaller than the little girl’s closet. “Your closet is NOT this big”, scolded the big brother.

“Yes it is, yes it is. My closet at the Cape House is really big” she taunted back. “The Cape House.” Right. Some instructors turn this into a game. The level of bluntness depends on the age of the child, but a favorite question when I taught skiing at Beaver Creek was, “did the plane you took here have just your family or other people too?”.

While the younger children unquestioningly volunteer information, those persnickety tweens offer up unsolicited chatter like, “my dad drives a Porche-Audi-BMW. What do you drive?”, to which I responded (years ago) with, “a Sonoma. Does he have one of those?”. Confused, the child would usually drop the subject, and with this sort of child this is a good thing.

Last week I was skiing with a beautiful feisty Venezuelan girl who asked to see my phone while we were on a hot chocolate break. “How do you know I have one?” I questioned. Rolling her eyes, she let me know that her seven-years was far beyond that sort of naivety and said “I just want to see it.” Quickly locating my pictures, she asked, “Who’s that?” at a snapshot of my boyfriend cooking eggs. I answered honestly, which was my first mistake.

“Where does he live?”. When I responded “five hours away,” she asked where I stayed when I visited him. Uh-oh. And for that matter, why was he in pajamas? Did we sleep in the same bed? Realizing that I was in way, way over my head, I decided now would be the perfect time to change the conversation to English and speak with the other, more naive seven-year-old in my class. I can only hope that when I have kids, I’ll be smart enough to invent a fictitious older brother.

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