Living in the upper peninsula of Michigan in the midst of snow (and more snow) has some really nice advantages. For instance, we get to enjoy ice skating, cross country skiing (my personal favorite), snowshoeing, and downhill skiing. Some of these activities are free, except for finding the special equipment, and usually you can find those at a secondhand store, or at garage sales. Equipment is also available for rent at the ski hills.
When planning a skiing field trip it helps to call around to see what special the different ski hills are offering to homeschool groups or other groups. It was amazing to discover the price differences in our own small area. We found a ski hill that would work with us as long as we had a group of fifteen or more people. This particular ski hill charges $12.00 per child, and this included ski rentals, lift ticket, lunch, and a lesson!
It certainly wasn’t hard to find a group of fifteen people willing to spend a day skiing for $12.00! The word was spread and we ended up with a group of about 130 people! Did we know all these people? No, not at all. They came from many different areas. One group of homeschoolers contacted another group that lived 45 minutes away, and they contacted another group. I think the furthest a group traveled was an hour and thirty minutes, which isn’t too bad for an inexpensive day of so much fun.
The ski hill certainly did a great job of organizing and directing the groups to make all the activities go smoothly. There was a class for very beginners. It consisted of many really young ones, but also included slightly older children such as my nine-year-old son who had not ever skied. The instructors took all morning to teach the very basics, such as how to stop and how to curve. It took some children longer to learn than others, but the ski instructors were very patient with them. As a child be came proficient, he was able to move on to more difficult hills.
The older children who had previously skied were given a test to make sure they were proficient before they were given their lift tickets. That way no one made it to the top of the hill without knowing how to get back down! There was even an instructor who was working with a group of adults who weren’t really comfortable out on the slopes. There was also a group of really brave kids who wanted to try snowboarding. My oldest daughter gave this a try; she fell a lot, and I mean a lot, but kept at it. She really enjoyed it but the next day her poor knees paid the price, but, of course, she wants to do it again!
When the kids were hungry they went inside the lodge, gave their name, and were given their food and drink. I would say that they stayed in there to warm up, but the majority of them just wolfed down their food and headed right back out as fast as they could. They didn’t want to waste a minute. Needless to say, they had an amazing time! It was certainly worth taking the time to call around to see what the different places would offer to us in regards to the different rates, and to invite others to form a larger group.
If you would like your children to acquire new skills, look around your community to find what might be available. Perhaps it might be skiing, or fishing, or water skiing, or wilderness camping, or . . . Please share with Keepers what you have found and/or tried. Others love to read about such things, and it provides an idea springboard!