The young boy stared intently at his instructor as he started skiing down the small hill.
“Let me see the pizza!” the instructor hollered as the 5-year-old headed her way.
Lucas pinched the front of his skis together and slid to a stop. Learning to stop on the snow is one of the things he’s learning at Snow Valley Mountain Resort.
Lulu Cheng brought Lucas and his sister Ella to the Big Bear area for lessons that were partly inspired by the Winter Olympics taking place more than 6,000 miles away.
“We love the Winter Olympics,” said Lulu as she waved toward her 7-year-old daughter, who was headed up the ski lift with her instructor.
“They see how cool it is, and they want to do the tricks,” said Lulu.
Lulu wouldn’t mind her children becoming Olympians. Te Pasadena woman said, however, that she would support any of their passions.
“There’s always that hope, right?” Lulu said with a smile from behind a face mask. “That they love something so much that they get inspired, and they want to empower themselves and they want to do better?”
“Lot of first-timers,” Mike Lee said with a wave as he stared up the hill, which is the closest ski resort to San Diego County.
Lee is Snow Valley’s marketing coordinator. He said the ski resort regularly gets a bump in visitors every four years when the Winter Games are on NBC. Lee said that most San Diego-area Olympians likely put on their first skis or clicked into their first snowboard as children in the Big Bear area. He said it wouldn’t surprise him if the next Olympian was in Snow Valley during the 2022 games.
Maybe it will be Lucas, who has now mastered "pizza" at slow speeds.
“One season and they’ll be ready to rock & roll by themselves up here on the mountain,” said a smiling Lee.