Our teen has talked about going on holiday skiing for years. Problem is he had only ever skied once when we visited the indoor snozone at Milton Keynes.
Although there’s instructors on these skiing holidays in my opinion learning from scratch and just being on the nursery slopes whilst there is just a waste of money. His younger two brothers have already learned to ski on our local dry ski slope as part of their home education and so when I saw that they had an after-school rate of just £60 for the term of beginner lessons it seemed ideal. I rang up and sure enough our son was able to do it. It said that the age went up to 16 and he is already 16, but it was decided that it was included.
First of all we needed to do some juggling. The lessons were from 4:30pm until 6pm. Trouble is our twelve year old also has swimming lessons which begin at 6pm – and the two venues are no-where near each other. I asked him if he wanted to quit swimming and ski (as he does love skiing) but actually he was really happy to carry on his lessons (which was good news after all that happened with swimming club). I had to go straight from school pick up – because again the school and ski slopes are not right next to each other. Originally the twelve year old was just going to stay at school for an hour until his dad picked him up, but on the first week we discovered that the school actually closes! Thankfully I knew somewhere I could send him to be safe whilst he waited for his dad. After this his dad changed his shifts to be able to pick him straight up from school.
Our youngest son hadn’t been keen on skiing, but I think it is because he did not pick it up as quickly as the twelve year old. I asked him if he wanted to just hang around with me for 90 minutes each week or ski – and he opted to ski. I had asked his previous instructor whether it was worth him redoing the beginners’ course for confidence but she said he would be bored. It turned out that he could ski recreationally with a coach for 2 hours a week (due to a misprint) for only £50 for the term, so it made sense to do this.
The first week went great, and our youngest seemed like a natural on the slopes. I think he enjoyed actually being better at something than his brothers. He would go down flossing, and always waving at his teenage brother like look at me. The teen seemed to be picking it up well and they were both enjoying themselves. That first week was really busy and after that it did get a bit quieter.
As the weeks went on though more children were on the ski slope and I think our youngest really struggled with the social interactions. Every other week we could leave school early so get there ready for the 4 o’clock which meant it was quieter. It meant it didn’t seem so bad if he came off earlier.
Then one week, about half way in, the teen crashed into a barrier. I explained that he wasn’t meant to turn that way but he said it was better than going into the net. Then another lad did crash into the net and got his helmet stuck. I thought then that they were perhaps rushing them through the course and taking them too high, too quickly. I also didn’t like that they were given them sticks, as the younger two had been told they didn’t need them.
There were some issues with other children with our youngest in terms of him not getting social cues (he thought he had made friends with a 15 year old, but the teen explained that our son was “bothering” him and the kid was just trying to be polite). Then our youngest was telling some boys that they were meant to use the ramp (as he had been told it was just for racing). Then on the final week some lad hit him on his helmet!
The final week happened to be Valentine’s Day and so their dad had booked the day off work so that we could go the beach. It meant that he had an opportunity to take the boys skiing and see how well they were doing. It was going but by 5:30pm our youngest wanted to come off. I messaged my husband and said that it was good because he had still managed 90 minutes.
It was cold and really wet and after standing outside all that time I would not have been surprised if my husband had gone in with the youngest. As luck would have it he didn’t. At 5:45pm the teen had an accident. According to the CCTV footage one ski got caught under another as he tried to turn. Our son remembers nothing until 8:30pm that night – in what followed a very scary time for us.
My husband called me and told me that our son had blacked out, his face was badly bruised but that a paramedic had given him the once over and cancelled the ambulance that had been called. I suggested him going to the hospital but he had been reassured that our son was fine to go home. They had also kindly given him a slushy (which he doesn’t remember) and said that he was welcome to have another lesson.
By the time I had spoken to my husband on the phone the twelve year old was already in his swimming lesson. As luck would have it he was about to finish his lesson when my husband rang again. Things had changed, and he was rushing our teen to the hospital. He had developed amnesia and kept asking the same things over and over again – mainly was it Friday?
When he got to our local hospital they told him to take him to the one further away (near the ski slope as a matter of fact!). My husband had asked me to come and collect the youngest from the local hospital and I took him and the twelve year old home (after giving the teen a hug, and answering that it was Friday).
It was a long wait and night but eventually we discovered that he has a cracked cheek bone and the CT scan showed his brain to be okay. The doctor had asked him to remember three words – but he just couldn’t do it. Now we are waiting for a call to say when he needs to go back for his fracture, and if he needs an operation.
Thankfully his memory seems to have returned to normal, apart from the missing time around the accident and until 8:30pm that evening. He seemed distressed when he explained this to us but I told him he probably never would and it is most likely the brain’s way of protecting him because it was traumatic.
I told him that they had offered him a skiing lesson and he is more than happy to take them up on it. He feels so lucky that he didn’t break his neck or anything and we are all so glad that he was wearing a helmet.