The weather was so unseasonably warm today that I spent the morning skiing in the rain. It was my first time to this particular ski slope – it's not the place we go to every Sunday, but a smaller ski center about twenty miles from my house. Instead of pine trees, the woods are mixed hardwoods, and on a misty day like this, the view of the bare branches against the sky was eerie and beautiful.
I spent the day with a bunch of fifth-graders from my son With-a-Why's class who were learning to snowboard for the first time. In the morning, they took a class from a snowboard instructor, and I was free to ski through the mist and rain. In the afternoon, though, I had to return to my duties as chaperone. Their teacher took charge of the six kids who were learning to ski, leaving me with the fifth-graders who were learning to snowboard on the other side of the bunny hill. And suddenly, I found myself in the position of snowboard instructor. Anyone who read my post about snowboarding from last weekend will see the irony in this situation.
The funny thing is that I did fine as an instructor. I remembered everything the instructor told me last week and I just kept repeating that stuff to the kids, saying things like, "Remember to bend your knees!" Mostly, I kept telling them how great they were doing as they fell again and again. Perhaps I should not admit this, but I was relieved to see that most of the kids were not any better at snowboarding than I was. Of course, the conditions were pretty awful – the rain made the slope solid ice, and then late in the afternoon the temperatures dropped about twenty degrees. But the kids seemed to have fun anyhow.
Tomorrow I return to the Pine Woods Ski Slope for my second snowboarding lesson. I'm hoping we get some snow tonight so that I won't be boarding on solid ice. At any rate, it will be a relief to be the student and not the instructor.