Monday, March 31, 2008

A little Vashon wherever you go

Today, I write about a wonderful weekend trip to Crystal Mountain with our dear friends Sue and Jim. Each year for the past 3 yrs we share a chalet and ski our hearts out. It snowed and snowed for our arrival Friday evening.

We stayed at Silver Skis (loved it!) this year. After a wonderful day (mine ending on the hill with a lovely migraine aura), David and the kids retreated to the pool where I straggled over to for a few minutes. Right there in the pool were two ladies sporting Vashon Aquatic Club caps. What are the odds?! They were from Vashon. At the top of Forest Queen in the lodge at lunch, what T-shirt do I see? ESCAPE to Vashon, a cross sound swim shirt from 2007.

It would seem we CANNOT escape Vashon, but that's okay.

What a great time we had, and the snow is fantastic. -h

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Vashon Ski School

Vashon Ski School is in its 60th year. I think the board does an amazing job of keeping this program together--and the kids organized!

Think about it: you've got about 5 different options of participation--lessons and bus only; bus only (if you're a season pass holder); lessons, bus, and season pass; gear rental with or without lessons, etc. Somehow, it all gets figured out between leaving the high school gym lot in school buses and getting to the Summit at Snoqualmie, where the school has operated for decades.

People who know I chaperone the trips have asked about it for their own kids. If you're googling VSS and you've stumbled on this blog for the same, I would tell you this:

-One private lesson can do the work of many group lessons for first-timers. If you're a pro, do it yourself. If not, look to the experts. This will save on costs and there are plenty of practice areas not involving the ski lift (rope tows, magic carpet) to start.

-In the first year, do a season rental at the Summit. This is a wonderful program in which the resort has your child's precision rental gear labeled and reserved for immediate pickup on the ski/board day. No waiting in that over-crowded hell that is rentals on the weekend. Plus kids grow out of gear so FAST. If the child isn't into it, you haven't spent a fortune. (just $99!)

-Get the ski helmet first. The local fire dept sells em cheap--dont even THINK of paying retail at a ski shop when you can get em at a fraction of the cost locally. Helmets are mandatory (even for chaperones!) so don't try to slip on the ski bus without one.

-If you have a child who is a free spirit and needs a lot of structure, and you're not sure they're going to be okay alone (translation: without YOU), it's important to give them a checklist of their gear (VSS has a HUGE lost and found due to forgetful chillins) and make it easy for them to get on and off the hill. If you've forgotten a glove or goggles, VSS has used spares for day use in its lost and found.

-MEALS: About half the kids bring their own, which they must retrieve from the ski bus in the lot OR from a pay locker they set up independently. Other parents load kids with cash to finance a $12 meal of a burger, fries and soda. For season pass holders, one can load money to an account online through the resort and it scans at the concessions, debiting the account.

-If you buy a pass, unless your child is an expert skiier or plans to ski nights, I suggest the purchase of an L-T-D pass, which limits the holder to Summit only, daytime only and excludes Alpental. The pass is a savings compared to day lift costs if you aggregate it over the amount of times you go up with VSS. The least you'll spend is a season pass and bus rides (219+110 for under 13), if you have your own gear and bring lunch.

-BEHAVIOR! Many of our hormonally unstable adolescents take the ski trips as Carte Blanche to exercise a bit of obnoxious behavior--girls and boys! Many are the kids of our town's business leaders from good families. Such outbursts make chaperones like me wonder if some of these soon-to-be-adults are systematically ignored and undisciplined by default. That said, there are many sweet kids or laid back, who help keep the others in check.

-Buses are age-separated, depending on participants: this year (08)had a grades 2-6 bus; a middle school bus; and a high school age bus. It went pretty well!

-Buddy System: if you can collaborate for your child to have a buddy, you're golden! It is strongly recommended for not just companionship, but also safety.

Good luck and happy skiing (and snowboarding)!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Expo West 2008

I am missing a few winks of sleep, but back with no regrets after attending Natural Foods Expo West in Anaheim to support a client of our firm--I worked the booth, introduced press to the founders, and went out and discovered what's new in natural and organic foods.

The turnout was an absolute mob scene (maybe 60,000 perusers on the first day alone). We had great booth neighbors, Steaz, who played reggae in the background and very positive feedback and interest from retailers on my client's products. Organically farmed shrimp is still a very new concept; one thing I learned is that some people refuse to eat it based on the traditional, infamous farming practices -- which the client does not employ. There are clean farming practices in aquaculture now and I'm happy to tell that story.

So...the crowning event was our client co-sponsored a concert, to my surprise, in which Pato Banton (Jamaican Dancehall Icon!) was headlining. Needless to say I danced til my feet couldn't take it anymore after having carved out my corner of the dancefloor. Three hours of sleep on my arrival home has me feeling sluggish.

I go now!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Going Coastal, Grayland

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

It's Snowtime

It was a great day for skiing on Sunday. Can't complain at all! The boys are really good. I don't worry like I used to because of their competencies. yay!

Here's the video link.