A Successful Ski Day!

A Successful Ski Day!

Today Henry, Nola Mae and I hit the cross-country ski trails at Iola Winter Sports Club for the first time this winter.

When we started out I was thinking it was going to be the worst day of skiing.

Then I reminded myself of a few facts:

  • We are on the trails for the first time this winter,
  • I am trying to ski with a 3.5 year old and a 6.5 year old,
  • It is normal for a 3.5 year old child to flop on the ground screaming after  only 10 minutes on skis,
  • I ski with kids to teach them a life sport,
  • We just had a snack and it is almost lunch time,
  • It could be nap time for Nola Mae,
  • It is 24 degrees and the wind feels cold, and
  • Once I get Nola Mae in the sled I can actually get my workout in, so BE PATIENT!


ski hill first 10 minutes

Not far on skis for the first time before the body flopping began.

ski hill first 10 minutes fall

Things started looking better:

with a little bribe of a snack once she got into the sled,

ski hill first 10 minutes snack

a boy who wanted to do all the black trails,

ski hill going on the black

a boy insisting on going down Nose Dive.  My kind of boy!

ski hill blue hill

A napping girl!

ski hill sled nap

A bit of sunshine on the trails!

ski hill blue trail

A real workout!

ski hill pulling sled

Henry and I skied on the blue and black trails for an hour.

We went in the chalet for lunch and ended the day with Nola Mae skiing almost one mile, giggling on the downhills and she was loving it.   I had to beg her to go home.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the camera with me for our second time out.  There is always tomorrow!


Cross-Country Skiing with Kids

Jack and I moved to Iola in the spring of 1998.   We discovered Iola’s hidden treasure that following winter – Iola Winter Sports Club!  I spent many hours enjoying the cross-country trails over the years and in 2008 decided to give back to the community and share my love of skiing.

I started leading Iola Winter Sports Club’s Youth Ski Program in 2008.  The kids love coming out on Saturday mornings and learning the basics of cross-country skiing and then using those new learned skills on the trails.   It is my love of skiing that comes through in my lessons with the kids.  I hope to share that love as I encourage them to keep practicing cross-country skiing skills and have fun while enjoying the outdoors.

I fell in love with skiing when I had cross-country skiing in 7th grade Physical Ed. class.  My first pair of skis was a birthday present from my Grandma Nola, and I still ski on them 30+ years later.  Ever since learning to cross-country ski, I think about snow and skiing all year-long!

Our family has grown over the last few years.  We have three sons and one daughter.  Each of our children put on skis the first winter they could walk.

Robbie at 17 months old.

skis Robbie 1st time

Charlie at 17 months.

Skis Charlie 1st time

Henry at 20 months.

skis Henry 1st time

Nola Mae at 20 months.

skis Nola Mae 1st time

Henry and Nola Mae have gotten the most skiing in their first few years, in-utero, on my back, in a sled behind me and on their own skis.

2011 spring skiing w Henry

skiing w Lynn

I have shared my love of skiing with our children and it brings great pleasure to me when I see that love and joy of skiing in other children and adults.  There are times when our children don’t appreciate the beautiful trails we have access to or the quality family time we are spending on the trails.  We often have ski-derby, snowball fights, tackling and lots of complaining during our family skiing.

skiing Charlie snowball

2011 spring skiing brothers

In the end we have children who exercised, who are worn out and wonderful memories that will last my lifetime and hopefully theirs.

  Skiing four kids

Skiing with Friends

Skiing with Friends

Our Christmas break has ended and the boys are back in school today.  One of our biggest highlights was skiing with friends.  My dream is to make this happen every Christmas break.   Three out of the five friends never skied before, by the end of the day they were skiing like they were born to ski!

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Winter of Skiing (2013)

Winter of Skiing 2013

This winter was one of the best winters for cross-country skiing.  Maybe because  last year’s winter stunk for a number of reasons – we had very little snow and I had a baby in my belly.  The baby in the belly shouldn’t really be an excuse.  The winter of 2008-2009 I was pregnant with Henry and I skied almost every day we had snow on the ground.

One of the reasons for my wonderful winters of skiing is because I live seven miles from Iola Winter Sports Club.

Iola Winter Sport Club Sign  IWSC Trails

There are over 20K of trails, over 7K of lit trails for night skiing and one of the best groomers in the midwest.

pistenbully small

A portion of the Ice Age Trail runs through the property.

 IWSC stick hiker

skiing green

IWSC snowy trail


Iola Winter Sports Club has a youth ski program which has been going on for many years.  This year I had 48 children signed up for our program.   Every Saturday there was about 20-25 kids that came.

Ski class 2013

skiing to shelter

skis at shelter

Birkie ski

I had a great skiing partner this year while the two bigger boys were in school.

skiing Henry

There were weekends I was able to ski with all of our kids.  And twice with our whole family.

Skiing family day

I was fortunate to have this sled available to me to use when Henry was a baby.  I eventually purchased it and have gotten a lot of good use out of it.

Skiing Jan 25th  ski sled w snow

The days I would ski with Henry we would start out skiing together.  When he would get tired I would pack him and his skis in the sled with Nola Mae.

Nola Mae Jenny  Henry Vater

skiing sled

The two of them would nap and I could ski as long as they slept.  Most of the time I would get an hour and a half nap out of them.  One morning I had them sleeping nicely in the sled and took a chance that they would keep sleeping for a longer than normal loop.  I turned off onto a freshly groomed trail that I haven’t skied on in a couple of years to get in an extra loop.  I was on that trail going down hill for one minute, really one minute, and they both woke up screaming.  At the bottom of the hill we had a snack and I had to pull them up the hill to head back.  The rest of the winter I didn’t take any more chances on a longer loop.

skiing sled (2)

I have many highlights from this season with one amazing ski day with my friend Mary, her eight year old daughter and I met a new person that day who joined us.  We skied all of the trails in one day.  Another time Jack’s Aunt Mary and her friend Donna (they were a couple of my skiing partners before I had kids) spent the night one weekend Jack took the boys away.  We had a wonderful ski on a very cold day.  Aunt Mary pulled the sled for me while I skied really fast in the tracks.  It was one out of two days I skied this winter without pulling the sled.   Another memoriable ski was during the full moon in March when I met a friend on the trails for a night ski.

The kids had spring break the week before Easter.  With Phil and Mary we planned an egg hunt on the trails.  It pays to be friends with the groomer and to make plans to ski with his wife.  He will groom in the early morning hours when he knows you have plans to ski and he plants Easter eggs for his and my kids.

egg hunt on skis

Grandma Hanna (Helen) was visiting us when we had the egg hunt.

skiing with grandma

Springtime skiing is the best.  I don’t know why, maybe because I know it is ending soon and I appreciate every day there is skiable snow.  I love skiing without gloves.  The sun on my face feels wonderful (getting a little tan on my face).

Springtime skiing is very exciting too.   There are times when going down hills the brakes get put on.  That happens in places where there is shade on the trail from the trees and spots where the sun is shining on the snow.  The sun is slowly melting the snow and warming it up.  You are going really fast down hill in the shade and as soon as your skis hit the sunny spot your skis slow down.  It is so fun trying to prepare for when your skis hit the sunny spots.  If you have ever skied with me in the spring time I do a lot of screaming, laughing and swearing.

Henry and I skied for the last time on April 3rd.  We could have skied longer into April because my friend Phil skied with his family on April 20th.

The rest of these photos are from our last day of skiing.  Henry was crabby and low on energy that day.  He needed to be pulled a few times, bribed a little and then we just ended up turning around before finishing the blue loop.  He insisted that he could do the whole thing, but I just knew he didn’t have it in him that day.

ski pulling

The other exciting part of springtime skiing is dodging the dirt and mud.  I forgot to tell Henry what to do when the track runs out and there are bare spots.

last ski wipe out

At this point in our ski we were almost back to the chalet.  My treats were gone, Henry was really crabby and my patience was gone.  I was behind Henry when he went down this little hill and hit the mud.  I was laughing and taking pictures and that made him very mad!  I don’t remember exactly what he said, something about him hating skiing, hating mud,  that he was done skiing forever and would never go skiing with me again.

last ski wipe out tears

I know…not a good way to end the winter.  I am counting on him forgetting this day.  I need him to be my skiing partner next winter on the days that he isn’t in 4 Year old Kindergarten.