One of my parenting goals has always been to give my kids the
chance to try out as many sports and activities as possible. I also
truly believe that some things are best learned young - and on the
top of that list is skiing. So our family set off on a learning to
ski adventure to The Mountain
Top at Lake Geneva, Wis., determined to conquer the
slopes, or at least the bunny hill.
Located less than two hours from Chicago, Lake Geneva is a
favorite summer escape for many Chicago families. But even in the
winter, there is so much to see and do. The Mountain Top, located
at the Grand Geneva Resort, is the area's premier skiing
destination. With over 30 acres and 18 runs, three chairlifts and
two wonder carpets, this mini-ski resort proved to be the perfect
spot to hone our family's developing ski skills.
Even the youngest skiers are welcomed with open arms at The
Mountain Top and my four-year-old daughter really put her sassy and
sporty attitude to the test. She was overjoyed to try on a pair of
ski's, learn some basic skills at the base, hop on a magic carpet
for a ride up the bunny hill, and finally, take her first few runs
downhill in ski's. Her professional ski instructor, Emily, remarked
that she too learned at age four.
"Our resort is great for families because the Snowsports area
has terrain for all levels of skiers and snowboarders, yet is small
enough that families can easily get together to meet for lunch or
dinner," explained Hans Hauschild, the Snowsports Area Director of
"Additionally the Snowsports school is very kid friendly and has
instructors that have specialized training for teaching children.
Our Snowsports school can accommodate children from age four and up
in our teaching programs."
We opted for private ski lessons for my daughter but The
Mountain Top also offers a Snow Cubs program designed to introduce
children ages four to six to skiing in a group setting, too. Snow
Cubs classes are available Sat-Sun at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.,
lasting an hour and a half. Reservations can be made two weeks in
advance and single sessions are available.
Indeed the no-fear attitude of many preschoolers seems to make
the learning process easier. At age 40, I've got the fear of
falling and breaking a leg, literally, in my bones. I tried skiing
at age 15 and failed miserably. I had a terrible fall and injured
myself on my first attempt. I have been to some of the most
beautiful ski resorts in the world but I was always stuck watching
everyone else have fun on the slopes. Hence my vow to teach my kids
to ski early. That said, I promised myself that I'd give it one
more go too.
My ski instructor, Keith, was amazingly patient and explained
the skills in an easy-to-understand manner. Before I knew it, in
less than one hour, I was making my "pizza slice" to stop,
effectively turning left and right down the bunny hill, and making
my way down the hill . . . without falling flat on my behind.
My 12-year-old son enjoyed a ski lesson with Keith, too. Again
the one-on-one lesson was worthwhile in that my son was able to
focus and progress quickly and confidently. He graduated from the
beginner bunny hill and was able to ski down the more advanced
bunny hill without a hitch by the end of his lesson. Two or three
more lessons and he'll be ready to hop on a chair lift and ski
We spent the night at the Grand Geneva Resort and appreciated
coming back to our comfortable room with it's lovely view of the
snow-covered landscape. Of course the kids were thrilled to dip
into the indoor swimming pool while I relaxed in the hot tub.
The resort's fun, seasonal activities don't stop with skiing and
snowboarding. Sleds are available for rental and with so many
rolling hills on the property to choose from you'll find the
perfect sledding hill for your family. There is a skating rink,
too, with rental ice skates available and complimentary hot cocoa.
We also enjoyed taking an evening drive on the resort property to
see more than two million lights that illuminate cute holiday
scenes, including a jumping Gingerbread Man and a golfing Santa,
which were all a part of the Christmas in the Country
Amy Bizzarri is a writer, Chicago public school teacher and mom to two kids - a preschooler and a middle schooler - living in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago.
See more of Amy's stories here.
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