It's official: the boys know how to ski. It's amazing how quickly they picked it up. They can now get down the mountain without incident, as long as they stick to the beginner slopes. (I mean, they still take an occasional tumble, but there's no drama; they're pretty good about getting up and moving on.)
It was our second trip this weekend, and this time we went to Naspa Ski Garden, which is in the mountains of Yuzawa Town, Niigata Prefecture, only 80 minutes by bullet train from Tokyo station (like Penn Station) and so only about two hours door to door. The place is geared toward families with young children, with lots of bunny trails and no snowboarders (!). The boys had lessons with Mickey, a 20-year-old from New Zealand who's been skiing since he was three. The boys loved him. Here he is, the guy in the goggles. We caught up with them when it was time to break for lunch.
Mickey told the boys to "punch the way you want to turn!" and so they would throw a slow right or left hook to steer themselves this way and that. Mickey also told the boys to lean on the outside leg, which also helped. He showed them how to straighten themselves out and get up after a fall, and how to "skate" to get moving on flat terrain. They can get on and off a chairlift, do little jumps, and spray snow on your skis as they come to a stop next to you. Here are a couple more clips I shot (somewhat awkwardly) with my camera phone (it's no steady-cam, I'm afraid. In fact it's a miracle I didn't ski into a tree while doing this...). D, who turns six in a couple of months, is the one in the orange jacket. C, who's about 7 and a half now, is in blue with red snow pants.