“I was good at ice skating. Maybe I’ll just be good at all winter sports.”
Build child’s confidence. Check!
He’s not wrong, necessarily. He was surprisingly good at ice skating on his first try a few weeks ago.
But this was certainly taking “winter sports” to a whole new level.
I’d heard rumblings of a ski slope just north of Kansas City so we decided to take advantage of our free weekends between basketball season and baseball season — and go for it. Snow Creek, here we come!
If you’re in Northwest Arkansas, or otherwise within a few hours of Kansas City, this could be a fun, active weekend for you, too. Here’s a quick rundown of things to keep in mind if you’re headed to Snow Creek.
First things first. Where??
Believe it or not, this place is tucked away about 45 miles north of Kansas City. From where we live in Northwest Arkansas, that’s a quick 3ish-hour drive to Kansas City and a 45-minute drive out of the city. We piled in the car with our buddies Charles and Susan and left Fayetteville after school on a Friday, stayed in Overland Park for the night, then drove up Saturday morning for a full day. The drive to Snow Creek will make you feel like you’re driving out into the middle of nowhere, but just when you think you might have taken a wrong turn — you’re there!
The kids were genuine first-timers and neither Susan nor I had been skiing in YEARS so we all took lessons to start things off. We did a group lesson, but they also offer private lessons if you’re looking for more one-on-one time. As far as equipment, we had our own jackets, pants, goggles and gloves — but rented skis and helmets (for the kids) from the rental shop. They had skis and snowboards for all sizes, and helped us get everybody geared up before we headed out. I didn’t see a place to buy or rent pants or gloves so be sure you bring your own!
Check out this post by NWAMotherlode for more nitty-gritty first-timer info like pricing and snack bar menu.
The weather could be mild, but layer up.
We were there on a pretty warm day so we were good with minimal layers, and I would say being waterproof is far more important than being bundled up. Remember, you’re in Weston, Missouri — not Breckenridge. Waterproof pants – yes. Jacket – yes. Ski parka – maybe not. Colt wore a light jacket over long sleeves and was comfortable all day. I barely wore gloves because it just wasn’t cold enough to mess with them. We covered our ears and that was plenty of warmth on our heads. Layers are the way to go — and grab a locker in the clubhouse so you can shed what you don’t need.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
We learned this one the hard way… After a few hours of the easy slopes, the kids got ambitious and insisted they were ready for the next level. So we got in line for the next lift over.
Wouldn’t you know it, but the hill looks a liiiiiittle steeper from the TOP than it does from the bottom. We got up there and both kids were a big NOPE. From the top the slope looked like a cliff — a drop off. And they weren’t having it. After close to 20 minutes of conferencing at the top of the hill, we all took off our skis and executed Plan B. Slide down on your butt! We each took off down the hill on our backsides until the slope evened out and we came to a stop. Colt looked at me and said, “I think I can ski from here!” So we did. We all put our skis back on and met back at the bottom of the hill — having learned an important lesson.
Later, I looked at the map and picked my jaw up off the floor. That pink circle. That’s where we were. We were about to take our kids — who learned to ski 2 hours before — down a BLACK DIAMOND. What in the world is that run doing hidden in the middle of all those blues?! Well, lesson learned. And back to the blues and greens for these goobers.
Bring a camera, but have the right expectations.
You know better than to think we’d be out for the day without a camera, right? But my advice to you, if you’re also a clumsy first-time skier, is to leave the DSLR at home and stick an iPhone or GoPro in a pocket instead. You will need your hands — to ski, to wrangle ski poles on and off the lift, to help kids up when they fall, and more. There’s no way I was comfortable enough on skis to take video while skiing and even while we were standing, a camera is one more thing to juggle — literally. So be realistic about photography. Grab a few shots to capture the day or strap on a GoPro and forget it — but this may not be the day to get your perfect Christmas card shot.
Last piece of advice – GO.
If you’ve got active kids who like to try new stuff and can still have fun even if they fall down a lot and have to take off 17 layers to go to the bathroom — this is your next winter weekend adventure.