We had the opportunity to visit Liberty Mountain Resort and Conference Center over President's Day Weekend for a day of skiing with our three year old daughter. I have never been skiing before and neither has our daughter, Lily. We were each going to take a lesson - I was going to take a beginner group lesson and Lily would take a "Ski with Me" private lesson with my husband.
Liberty Mountain is located in Carroll Valley, PA - which is just a short (15 minute) drive outside the historic town of Gettysburg, PA. Located on a small mountainside, you will find skiing for beginners as well as several runs that offer more of a challenge to the experienced skier. Snowboarding and tubing also have dedicated spots/runs at Liberty.
We arrived during a super popular weekend - though I have to say the crowds were not overwhelming. Lines for rentals and lift passes were only a few people deep by 10 am on a Saturday in February. The lodge offers several dining options when you're in need of food and drink. (We grabbed some pizza and sodas after our time on the slopes - it was tasty and filling.)
As previously stated, I took a group beginner lesson with several other first-time skiers. Let me get one fact perfectly clear - I have never ever ever in my entire life EVER been on skis. I was a true beginner in every sense of the word! I was a bit nervous to give it a try, but my instructor Maria really eased us into the process. During our 1.5 hour lesson we practiced simple moves including turning and stopping. By the time the lesson was over, I managed to make my way down a short slope and turn at the bottom - without wiping out a band of wayward snowboarders. I saw that as a big success for my first time on skis!
My husband reviewed his "Ski with Me" lesson experience:
I taught myself how to ski many years ago with friends, and have managed to leave without major injuries since. But this weekend was something completely new. I haven't been on skis for about 10 years and now I was taking my wife and daughter for their first lessons. I didn't want to be the reason either one of them got hurt, so rather than risk showing them all of my bad habits, we decided that they should get lessons from people that know how to teach skiing.
Liberty Mountain is a smaller mountain resort, but that is a great thing, not a bad thing. Though it was a busy President's Day Weekend, there were plenty of staff to be found everywhere. I found them to be enthusiastic and eager to help us find our way here and there.
Before you visit, be sure to check out the Liberty Mountain Website, where they offer some great advice to assist you in knowing what to bring and where to go when you arrive.
I had the opportunity to take a "Ski with Me" private lesson with Lily. (It is highly recommended that the "with me" part of the group can actually ski, as the focus is on teaching the children to ski, and teaching the adult how to assist them and help them learn).
We were greeted by Tim, who quickly made friends with Lily. We did a couple of short exercises and then got her right onto the lift. Tim did all of the work on the first run, but quickly integrated me into the lesson as we progressed. He showed me how to properly help her down the slope, as well as taught me some lessons on how to safely assist such a little skier on and off of the lifts. He showed me the simple things that I would not have picked up on my own. By the completion of our hour long lesson, Lily was skiing on her own with very little assistance. (Thank you, Tim!)
As mentioned on the website, and known by most parents, three year olds have very short attention spans and tire out very quickly. Be prepared for them to be bushed by the end of the lesson. Lily was no exception (nor was my wife!), so they took a break while I tested my ski legs for a few runs. I couldn't help but notice all of the parents attempting to teach their kids how to ski. It looked like a mix between wrestling and rugby - kids being strung up by their hoods, parents faceplanting in the snow and no forward progress visible in the near future. (Mental Note: Lessons are totally worth it. We all had fun, learned a lot in a short period of time and got to enjoy our day!) I finished up my runs and we went into the lodge and enjoyed a great hot lunch. It was a great day, we all had loads of fun and we built the groundwork that will lead to a family of happy skiers from here on out.
Thank you so much to Liberty Mountain for inviting our family to their resort. Lessons and accommodations were provided to our family at no charge in exchange for an honest review of their ski lesson experiences.