Here are some of the games we played on the slopes with Hilary and Rebecca before they actually took lessons. Their first ski boots were their own little hiking boots, and their skis were cheap plastic tie-ons:

Pull and catch: We helped the children get to the top of a small, easy slope. While Gail stood at the stop and pointed first one, then the other, downhill, I waited at the bottom to catch them as they coasted by.

Between the legs: This was far more complicated. The basic requirement was a gentle run that neither taxed our own ski skills nor made the children nervous. We found the Snowshed area at Killington, a %-mile-long slope as smooth as a tilted billiard table, ideal. Gail and I each took one child and rode the slow-moving chairlift to the top. Then we skied leisurely down, each holding a girl between our legs. With giggles of joy, the girls would try to “get down first,” challenging Mom or Dad to go faster, faster.

As the youngsters gained in confidence, we began letting them ski by themselves - almost. Instead of wedging them between our legs, we looped a piece of rope around them and, while holding it, let them ski a couple feet in front of us.

On occasion there were falls. Nothing that brushing off the snow wouldn’t cure. Minor accidents never curbed the girls’ exuberant feeling about skiing.

Follow me: While each girl held onto a ski pole, we pulled her quickly across the flat snows near the base lodge.

Making circles: In this game we encouraged the children to “ski in circles on their skis,” an introduction to maneuvering.

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