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Frumpy Middle-Aged Mom: Kids sliding downhill fast today

My friend Scott just came by and picked up my kids to take them up to Snow Valley resort this morning, since their school is closed today.

Cheetah Boy likes to snowboard and actually stayed vertical for entire minutes at a time during his previous three lessons.

I still find it amazing that he wants to strap what is essentially a large tongue depressor onto his feet and try to slide down an icy mountain on it, without even a pair of poles to try to break his fall.

Curly Girl, however is demonstrating her own brand of courage, by actually learning the old-fashioned sport of skiing.

As you may know, kids today do not learn how to ski. They snowboard instead, because all juveniles travel in packs and are legally prevented from doing anything that's not exactly what their friends are doing.

For some reason, though, Curly Girl rebelliously wants to ski, like the old codgers up on the slopes, which means that she stays upright most of the time on her short learner skis. It also means that she is likely to be the only kid in the group "learn to ski" class, so I essentially get a private lesson for the price of a group. I like that part.

Of course my friend Scott is the courageous one, hauling four kids ages 7 to 12 up the mountain by himself for the day, his kids plus my two.

We'll see if his hair has turned white by the time he gets home, and I don't mean with snow.

I've actually never been to Snow Valley, so we'll see if the resort can survive the onslaught of our families. If you hear that it was closed unexpectedly today, let me know.

A couple of years ago, I really struggled with the decision to introduce them to this sport, which is darned expensive if you live in Southern California, especially if you're only heading up there once or twice a year.

Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, i.e. when I was at the University of Utah, all my college roommates were on the university ski team. (Snowboarding was only a gleam in its father's eye back then.) Skiing was cheap for them, because they would get a free season pass for helping groom the slopes at one of the many resorts near Salt Lake City.

And, of course, they didn't need to rent any gear or take lessons.

Usually, due to my limited funds, my kids only get a lesson at Sundance ski resort once a year when we visit my brother who lives nearby in Utah.

This winter we're not going, so I promised them a day this season where they could fall down repeatedly on California slopes, instead of Utah ones.

I figured they might as well learn now while they're still fearless and relatively low on the ground, instead of waiting until they're adults when the knowledge of potential death or dismemberment might actually become real.

Personally, the only snow play I do is to throw the occasional snowball, or shove some snow down my offsprings' backs.

Hopefully everyone will come home with bones and toes intact.

By the way, if you want to take your kids up to Snow Valley, they have a "family fun pack" weekdays of two adult and two kids lift tickets for $115. Weekday "Learn to ski" lesson-lift-rental packages are $65.

Marla Jo Fisher was a workaholic before she adopted two foster kids several years ago. Now she juggles work and single parenting, while being exhorted from everywhere to be thinner, smarter, sexier, healthier, more frugal, a better mom, better dressed and a tidier housekeeper. Contact her at Read her blog at rla-jo-fisher/.

(c) 2010, The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.). Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.