WHO: Globe arts reporter Geoff Edgers and his daughter, Lila, 5
WHAT: Downhill skiing
WHERE: King Pine Ski Area, East Madison, N.H.
One of the best things about living in New England is the abundance of things to do with kids, whether it’s 10 degrees and howling outside or 70 and glorious or 95 and steaming. If you can’t think of a creative, affordable, and fun idea to get out of the house before the frustrated screaming commences, well, you either aren’t trying hard enough or you haven't been following this column. The idea behind “Bring the Family,” which was started on Saturday, April 5, 2008, is that our writers, just like you, are constantly on the lookout for family-friendly entertainment. After we’d written enough of these columns, we produced a terrific “Bring the Family” e-book, a compilation of the best of the column. If you have a smartphone or a tablet or an e-reader, or just a laptop computer, go to bostonglobe.com/insiders/ebook, where you’ll find not only our “Bring the Family” e-book, but also e-books on our favorite cookie recipes, Sunday Supper recipes, Sebastian Smee’s award-winning “Frame by Frame” column, legendary sportswriter Bob Ryan’s greatest pieces, and more. Download them to your phone, tablet, or computer. They are free if you are a Boston Globe subscriber, and you can also find them in iTunes and on Amazon.com.
As a tribute to a long-running popular column, and to coincide with the cover story in today’s G section, here is the very first “Bring the Family” we ran almost five years ago (prices below are 2008 rates), by staff writer Geoff Edgers. Now get out there.
Even in the good old days, downhill skiing was not an activity for those on a tight budget. A single-day lift ticket at Attitash, for example, can run you $65, and that’s if you’ve got your own equipment. So why did I head to the slopes on a recent Saturday? To give my daughter a chance to try skiing before lift-ticket prices kick in. (Most places don’t charge for kids until they turn 6.)
King Pine, about 2½ hours from Boston, is a small hill, with just 17 trails and — more important — pretty reasonable prices ($39 for a full-day lift ticket). Not only that, the ski area is just a few minutes from the house my parents built in the mid-’80s. Get it? Free lodging. I signed Lila up for the Knee-Hi lessons, a 90-minute session for kids between 4 and 7 ($26).
My expectations were low. I expected her to fall a bunch of times and spend most of her lesson on the “bear rug,” a conveyor belt that pulls you up a slope that’s only slightly steeper than the hood of a Ford Fairlane. But within a half hour, Lila’s instructor, a ski-rat named Molly, had her snowplowing, turning, and stopping. Molly brought her to the chairlift, and Lila did a series of controlled buzzes down one of the main slopes.
And me? I wanted to take advantage of a little alone time. For most of the lesson, I sat outside on a bench, sipping coffee, reading, and waiting to spot a tiny figure in a puffy black coat make her way down the hill.
King Pine Ski Area, 1251 Eaton Road, Route 153, East Madison, N.H., www.kingpine.com, 603-367-8896