Slip sliding away at Canada Olympic Park
Bennett Ford, age five, returns to COP for another private lesson and learns his “pizza” – a.k.a. how to stop – in Part 2 of our series
CALGARY, AB – It’s our second morning at Canada Olympic Park for a private ski lesson and I’m not sure whether my five-year-old son Bennett is excited about stepping into skis again or the prospect of more french fries after his lesson. He enjoyed his time on the hill the previous week, but frigid weather made for a less pleasant experience.
“Today we’re going to keep working on that pizza stance,” instructor Eric Gerstenbuhler tells Bennett when we meet him on the bunny hill. In ski parlance, “pizza stance” is code for the wedge that a beginner’s skis need to make for him to be able to stop. “Are you ready to go skiing Bennett?”
“I’m ready to ski,” Bennett replies. That’s my cue to leave and let Gerstenbuhler work his ski magic with my autistic son.
I return to the hill for the final 30 minutes of Bennett’s lesson to gauge his progress and capture video footage. I watch in awe as Bennett exits the magic carpet alone and follows Gerstenbuhler down the gently-graded run, managing to stay upright and direct himself beneath three coloured arches spaced at intervals along the slope. At the end he stops by himself and his skis are making a – wait for it – pizza! His progress from the previous week is remarkable.
Check out this video of Bennett learning how to ski at COP, courtesy of Tyler Meckelborg.