Rockstar's need for a ski fix is older than his baby sister, ever since he had his first lesson on a whim couple years ago. I've often bemoaned that of all the sports he has to take a shine to, why does it have to be skiing?? But he has faithfully declared skiing the holiday of choice for 2 years now.
And so I planned for Rockstar to have a personal instructor session before joining a class at Perisher because we'd like him to mix with as many kids from different places as possible and thought it would be great for him to talk to some local kids.
(Btw we tried Thredbo couple years back, no complaints, just thought to try this next, but after his first class Rockstar requests we just stick with Perisher).
Rockstar ends up liking his instructor so much he requests a second personal session before joining a class called Ski Discovery on his third day while I stay at home blissfully not going nuts trying to feed the baby and pack her other meals in time for the circus to spend the whole day out. The Mens get Rockstar checked in to the 3-5 class.
At pickup, they strongly recommend he be moved to the older class of 5-7s and spend virtually the whole 9am-3.00pm day out on the slopes, aside from lunch. He's 5.5 and hadn't seen snow in a couple years, we were unsure how he would handle the skiing now. To us-of-the-biased-opinion, Rockstar seems to still take to the snow very comfortably. (Wow how do any teachers ever keep from The Eyeroll when "everyone" just always has super talented children?? :D)
We're watching proudly as Rockstar continues to go up and down the slopes after class when an Asian boy several inches taller than him swerves almost full speed into the net cordoning the area near the conveyer belt with a grin. People around him frown and look around, but don't see his parents. I notice no one says anything to him, which I'm guessing is because they're not sure he'd understand them anyway. He looks Chinese to me - and I also suspect if he wanted to, he could speak pretty good English. (Maybe partly because he's holidaying here, as a very general observation... We've watched Putonghua-speaking parents have the kids practice their (strong command of) English with airport staff while traveling in English-speaking countries before - even if the parents don't speak English the kids often do...)
Just an aside, in HK our pastor who is Caucasian refers to this jokingly as "Gwailo Grace" - newly in Hong Kong when he unwittingly committed a pretty minor traffic offense, the officer let him off in part because he did not want to trouble with the English (an English speaker also attracts more attempts at being fleeced in markets or by taxi drivers so technically it kinda "evens out". So anyway I was thinking Speed-skiing Asian Boy just received "Asian Grace" - and I wouldn't be surprised if some kids milk it, pretending not to understand English 😛
I mean, it's just not easy to tell - even back home Rockstar's very local music class mates have startled me before, when they chipped into our English conversations, their mums having never spoken English to me, their kids attending "very local" schools in Cantonese... What was that Youtube where it said the number of Chinese children who speak English fluently vastly outnumbers the number of Native English-speaking children who can speak Chinese?)
"Haven't seen a ride like that here." Oh, we bought the stroller on a whim near our home when the baby came a little early. The blonde mum I'm talking to tells me her husband has business in Northasia too. She's not the first "local" here to tell us that. We're a little surprised just how small the world is getting...
For the next few days Rockstar starts ski class at 9am. That's HK 7am, we didn't switch to Aussie time (because Little Miss is already an early bird HK time - bringing back an early bird baby on Aussie time didn't sound like fun). It's a 40 min drive to the ski resort, you do the math. Rockstar is a natural late bird - it's a struggle for him to be up by 7.30 on a regular school day. To ski, however.......
Still, after (according to him) winning some little race among his class ("<new friend> was winning, but then he didn't see a hole and fell into it. So I took the lead") Kings tells me he's gone up to Level 3 (whatever that means :P). When I pick him up after his first day on Level 3 however, his instructor asks, "Is he just turned 5, or...?" No, he's really 5.5. "He's really tiny to be doing all this, it can be quite challenging for him."
Also, we were thinking of taking a half day break tomorrow.... Rockstar's instructor gently explains he's just about there at his current level, and if he doesn't do a full day tomorrow he'll struggle to keep up. (Btw I just don't mention the other instructors by name because I didn't ask permission, his instructors for the classes were different each day I think). Rockstar, who's heard the entire exchange, certainly looks tired.
And so I say we'll leave it up to him - it has to be fun for him - in the first place he's the one who kinda dragged us all up here. (Me, I'd be happy to resume wake-boarding in Repulse Bay, even with the "allergy to HK sea water" which means I tote a large bottle of tap water on the boat.) Rockstar and his instructor exchange a grin. But Rockstar still looks very tired. She tells us her class has been skiing in the cold rain and sure enough his jacket is soaked through in many places, and for a second day his skis and gloves are all wet, even though he insists he was taught to shake the snow out of them.
The next day we finally take it slow and enjoy Castle, all 4 of us. At lunchtime Rockstar worriedly asks if he has at least a half day ski class today. I worriedly look for signs he's put off the sport he was so enthusiastic about before. (Enthusiastic about some extra activities - even if we have to swing a long haul flight for it - is still better than enthusiastic about no extra activities. Unless you're talking Xbox, of course.) But by the end of the day The Rockstar has concluded it's been a great season - and we'll be ready to come back next year.
And so we set off to the souvenir shops.
ps: After which we learn there might be ski simulation in Shatin. Gotta check it out after recovering from this holiday...
pps: Will eventually update with more pics/ vids