The nugget. (Sisters, Or.) 1994-current, January 25, 2017, Page 6, Image 6

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017 The Nugget Newspaper, Sisters, Oregon
Teaching snow sports takes patience, persistence SPRD to
host hula
classes in
By Mark Morical
The Bend Bulletin
(AP) — Mason needed a
nudge, so I did what par-
ents often do and resorted to
“Mason, if you come ski
Cloudchaser with me, I’ll
buy you a root beer float at
Cascade Lakes after,” I told
“Fine,” was the stubborn
response from my 8-year-old
So we skied over to the
new Cloudchaser chairlift on
our outing to Mt. Bachelor ski
area last month. Mason was
all smiles as we explored the
new terrain, and he declared
the area his new favorite part
of the mountain.
This, after refusing all
morning to try something
Confidence is a significant
part of what helps kids prog-
ress with activities like ski-
ing and snowboarding. But I
wondered as a parent how I
could keep my son improving
his skills on the hill after his
five lessons last season.
When he was really young,
maybe 4, I took him to the
Carrousel chairlift, a small
lift for beginners near the
Sunrise Lodge at Bachelor.
But he refused to let go of
me as I held him between my
legs while turning down the
hill, and thus it seemed he did
not learn much.
I knew he needed to learn
from somebody else.
So last year, when Mason
was 7, my wife and I reg-
istered him for Bachelor’s
“Ski or Ride in 5” program
for beginner skiers and
His progression amazed
me. By the spring, he was
skiing off the Summit chair-
lift with me.
“We hear a lot that, ‘My
kids won’t listen to me but
they’ll listen to somebody
else,’” says Jason Montoya,
director of activities at Mt.
Bachelor. “That gives them
the chance to learn from
somebody that has the knowl-
edge and skills to allow them
to learn that foundation from
the bottom up.”
Instructors also try to
promote independence, so
parents hanging on to their
kids as they slide down the
mountain might not really be
in the child’s best interest,
Montoya says. Instructors
want to ensure that skiers
and boarders have the skills
necessary to ride new terrain
“Just having them build
that foundation and working
toward that next step,” the
director says.
“It’s a balance, but we
won’t take them to the
next chair (in skill level)
until they’re able to do it
Montoya explains that
instructors evaluate young-
sters’ skiing by how they are
skiing and not by the terrain
they have skied or the chair-
lifts they have ridden.
So me bragging about
my son’s skiing in the areas
of Cloudchaser and Summit
does not mean much if he is
not skiing technically sound.
And this season it has been
a challenge to get him out of
his wedge — “make a pizza”
is what we call it — and
straighten out his skis as he
turns down the slopes.
Montoya notes that is a
common problem with young
skiers after their first season
of lessons.
“That’s one of the bigger
challenges that we encounter,
because that’s where they’re
comfortable and what they
know,” he says. “Work on it
on terrain they they’re com-
fortable with. There’s a vari-
ety of different drills we use.”
Traversing along the runs
— moving straight across
the runs back and forth —
on easier terrain can help,
according to Montoya. Also,
a practice called “thumper”
— thumping the uphill ski
while skiing across the run
— will force skiers to balance
on their downhill ski and thus
straighten out their skis.
I plan to employ these
drills next time on the moun-
tain with Mason, with a mini-
mal amount of bribery.
Prepare your children for a lifetime love of skiing with patient training.
Montoya says that skiing
and snowboarding students,
like most any students, will
learn in different ways. Some
just need to be told what to
do. Others need to see how to
do it.
“We try to tell them, show
them, and have them practice
it,” Montoya says. “Having
them watch you might be
more effective than telling
He adds that it is probably
time for more lessons when
they want to feel more com-
fortable on more advanced
terrain or learn a new skill —
for example, learning how to
ski powder off of a groomed
“But getting out there and
just skiing is just as impor-
tant as instruction,” Montoya
Another question I posed
to Montoya is how to know
when your child is ready to
ride the mountain with friends
without parental supervision.
This is obviously a per-
sonal choice for every parent,
and I start to sweat when I
think about it.
Along with possessing
the skiing or snowboarding
skills necessary to venture
off without an adult come
other issues, including lift
riding and safety awareness.
Will your child know what to
do if someone gets injured or
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they get separated from their
“Educate them and know
they’re independent in
navigating the mountain,”
Montoya suggests. “Tell
them to ski on the runs, stay
with friends, and make sure
they stop regularly to ensure
their friend is still with
them. But even at 13 years
old, it really bugs me when
my son doesn’t answer his
I don’t have to worry
about that just yet.
This season my 6-year-old
daughter is in the Ski or Ride
in 5 program. Before I know
it, she and her brother will be
off skiing without me.
I might as well enjoy this
time while it lasts. But I also
want to make sure I am teach-
ing them the right skills and
giving them the best advice
for a lifetime of skiing.
Sisters Park & Recreation
District will once again offer
hula classes to the Sisters
Shannon Mokuahi
Rackowski is adult/senior
programs coordinator and
the hula teacher (Kumu) for
“I have been teaching
hula at SPRD for three years,
and there are a core group of
ladies that want to dance and
learn the beautiful art of hula
dancing,” she said. “Every
year some of the ladies dance
at SPRD’s annual luau, and
this always seems to spark
interest for wanting to learn
how to hula.
This year Mokuahi-
Rackowski will offer a begin-
ners class from 10 to 11 a.m.,
right after her advanced class,
which starts February 4, 8:45
to 9:45 a.m.
Mokuahi-Rackowski has
been dancing hula for over 50
“My kumu (teacher)
passed away last year, which
brought great sadness to my
heart, for I have only had one
kumu in my life, but I was
told she was proud of me for
carrying on the Aloha Spirit
in the Mainland,” Mokuahi-
Rackowski said.
For more information
call SPRD, 541-549-2091 or
email Mokuahi-Rackowski at
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Starting at
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Nightly dining until 10 p.m. (21 & over)
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