Skate Camp Minnesota - June 29, 2001

So, there it was, Memorial Day morning. I had just driven home from an exhausting weekend spent camping and dancing outdoors in the rain. I stopped by my house to unpack the car, chase a squirrel out of the house, and then off to my friend Dale's to get my cat, JT.

As I sat sprawled at her kitchen table, relaxing at being inside while the rain poured outside, she said, "I'm taking the kids rollerblading this afternoon. Come and keep me company. You can rent skates at the rink" Visions of the last (and only) time on ice skates as an adult danced through my head - dragging ankles and all. Ok, why not, sure, I'll go. A fateful decision.

I had a blast. I was looking for something physical to do for my vacation, so I thought, why not find a skate camp where I could really learn how to do this right. I'd been to different whitewater clinics, surely they would have something similar for inline skating. I logged into my trusty computer and, lo and behold, there was Zephyr. A camp for beginners was starting in month. I called up just to find out more information. "Oh, yes, there's still room. In fact, I'm making the hotel reservations today. Would you like to come?" Oh, no, decision time. yes/no yes/no YES! I'll do it.

I fly out to the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport where I'm to meet the instructors at baggage claim number 5. Unfortunately, the baggage claim area is labeled A, B, C, D, E. Ah, but wait, there's the Number 5 on the main door. That's it, yeah, yeah, that must be it. I sit down in the hot sun outside to wait. I notice that the airport doesn't seem to be too busy. I wander back inside. Maybe there is more than one terminal building. I check the directory and maps. No mention of any other terminals. I ask around, no one else seems to know of another terminal. I look again at the directory map and the entire ticketing area. Wait a minute. Where is Northwest? This is a Northwest hub and I don't see any NW signs. I ask again and this time am directed to walk a couple blocks through the construction where I can find a shuttle to the Lindbergh terminal. Half an hour later I arrive at the main terminal and find baggage claim number 5 and everyone there except me.

There are seven students and our two instructors, Mike and Liz. We'll be meeting 2 more students once we get to Lanesboro. We pile into the van and spend the 2 hour drive to Lanesboro getting to know each other.

There's Nancy, an economist from Boston and her fellow economist, Claudia, who is originally from Chili, but is now working in Washington, DC. Also from DC is Patti, our resident princess. Cyd is a principal from Chicago. Tom is our one local participant and Carole, who lives half and half in London and Paris, comes from the farthest away. And, of course, everyone's favorites, the sisters, Carolyn and Andrea, guidance counselor and teacher, from Texas and New Hampshire. And your humble author, Andy, from Western Massachusetts.

We get to the hotel, change and go down to the parking lot that is to be our home away from home for the next few days.

Liz and Mike go over some basics (like, everyone's favorite: how to stop) and we all get up and wobble around.

(Carolyn demonstrates stopping)

For the next 3 mornings we have a clinic in parking lot, learning new techniques, then spend the afternoon reinforcing those techniques either on the trail or with additional help in the parking lot.

The best day had the Skate for Pie in the afternoon. We skated 5 miles out to Whalen, (Andrea)  (Andy)  (Carole)  (Carolyn)  (Nancy)  (Patti and the Sisters)  

collapsed on the grass, (Patti)  

tended our blisters, (Nancy)  

then got reenergized eating our pie slices selected from two dozen types of pies. We took over the basketball court and danced to Mike's boom box while a few of us had massages. Then the skate back to Lanesboro to finish off the afternoon.

(Andrea)   (Carolyn)   (Liz)         (Nancy)   (Patti)  

The last evening we had a Wine and Cheese Tasting Party with Rotating Your Wheels, a Hands on Tutorial.

(Mike expounds)

(Liz explains further)

(Claudia gets to try it herself)

This was followed by the Awards Dinner where the instructors showed they had talents above and beyond their skating and teaching abilities. To pay them back for the hysterics they induced during the dinner, we all plotted that night to give them their own awards.

(Mike and Liz get theirs)  

The last morning was spent inside at a rink. It was amazing how the smooth surface made everything so much easier. (er, ok, so I still never quite got that transition). And even our party-pooper crowd got into the limbo!(Carole)  (Mike cheats)  

Group Shot

  

Top row: Andy, Nancy, Tom, Liz, Carolyn, Andrea.

Bottom row: Cyd, Carole, Claudia, Patti

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Copyright 2002 by Zephyr Adventures P.O. Box 16, Red Lodge, MT  59068 406-446-0275 or 1-888-758-8687 info@SkateTour.com