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Why we teach our kids to ski

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 
Yesterday our family went skiing together for the first time in several years. My daughters are 20 and 17, began skiing as toddlers, did the race thing for several years, and only skied sporadically after they entered high school. It was such a pleasure for their old lady to ski with them again and admire how good they are at it. I feel one of the greatest gifts their father and I gave them was skiing.

My 20 year old told me I'd burned her out all those years I dragged her out of bed Saturday and Sunday mornings to ski, but she's glad now that I did. I offer this as encouragement to parents who are having to plead and cajole their younger kids to ski instead of play video games and watch The Real World (ha!) on the couch.

Teenage girls are notoriously hard to raise. They say the odds of getting a divorce are higher for couples with teenage girls than boys. But yesterday, for just one day, our family relationship was strengthened by skiing together for six hours--affirming that we can enjoy each other's company if the context is right.
post #2 of 52
Nolo, sounds like you are good Mom and happy with the results.

My parents always opened doors for me to try various experiences. Sometimes I ran through them sometimes I got thrown through them. Back in 7th grade my Mom was talking to a friend's Mom. Long story short, skiing was one of those doors I got thrown through kicking and screaming.: Once I figured it out, I found a sport I liked. In high school I was the first kid out of the ski bus and on the slopes of Big Tupper. I was the last kid on the bus to go home no matter how cold it was.

I got away from skiing for many years in the Navy and came back to it after moving to New Hampster. Now I teach and try to bring the pleasure and joy I find in the sport to others.

Thanks, Mom!
post #3 of 52
Originally Posted by nolo
I feel one of the greatest gifts their father and I gave them was skiing.
Why not consider that to be the same you have given yourselves?
post #4 of 52
Any activity where you can get kids involved with you is very rewarding. My son is only 2 1/2 and he hurts more than helps me with projects, but I let him do it so that he knows that he can always do things with his dad.

If you don't mind my asking, how old were your kids when they started skiing? I know people will say on how developed they are, emotionally stable etc, but in general 3, 4, 5 ..what's a good age to get them started in your experience?
post #5 of 52
Being the mother of a teenage daughter also, I can definitely agree with you about getting thru those hard years. She was often times unbearable during the 14-16 year range. (I hate you...I'm going to live by my friend's house, blah, blah, blah). Now that she's going on 19 we really enjoy each other's company. She laughs about what a pain in the butt she was and has even said she wouldn't have been able to stand living with someone like her then.
I didn't get back into skiing until she was in middle school. I wish we'd have started sooner, but at that age I never had to push her to go. She was always ready and willing.
I'm sure that alot of us on here have more money to spend on family recreational outings and vacations then our parents did. I suppose, with my daughter, I'm making up for what I may or may not have missed out when I was younger.
I wanted to take piano lessons so badly when I was a kid. After the first two years I wanted to quit, but my mother kept telling my the story of how she had to stop because her parents couldn't afford the 0.50 lessons. She guilted my into taking them for 5 years. I have thanked her for that many times in the years since. I enjoy it much more now than I did when I was younger. I use that to talk my daughter into trying new things that she doesn't want to try.
I figure that if we expose them to something that they can enjoy all their lives that's great. If they never want to do it again after we drag them along then at least they can say they gave it a try and they won't have to wonder if they're missing out on something.
post #6 of 52
I bring my 9 year old daughter to Mad River and she loves it. The most amazing thing I saw skiing there yesterday was me and my buddy went down Paradise. It was pretty hardcore, real thin, decent snow, not much room for mistakes though, and that trail will make you pay. Anyhow we are skiing this trail and blasting down it just juiced on adrenaline from the challenge and fun and a family comes skiing down it. Mom and 3 kids, not one of em over 10 happily skiing down paradise, I could not believe it. I heard mom say "lets try over this way", a kids response, "is there another Ice Waterfall over there?" The funny thing was they looked like any family would, kind of all over the place, mom mildly annoyed, kids with feindish grins. If those kids can shred that trail at that age get ready to see them in a ski movie in 10 years or so is all I can say.

post #7 of 52

Good age to start kids

It really does depend on the childs development. Our daughter started at 2. I got her a big ol' leash and the little skis and boots. We dressed her up in a puffy fart bag (one piece snowsuit), helmet and goggles, and off we went. She looked like a watermelon wearing skis and goggles. But, she had a blast. She could last about an hour then she needed an hour rest. Then back at it for a total of maybe 4 hours.

But my son was not ready till he was about 5. Go figure.

Some thoughts. Nice days, uncrowded slopes, the leash all were important. We chose a ski area that was all two seat fixed grip lifts. That made loading and unloading, ummmmm interesting to say the least. But it also has a very nice on mountain warming hut and the staff was willing to watch the kids while the wife and I took some runs (we would dash in every hour or so to pick-up or check-in on the kids). The area is small and quiet, perfect for the first year. But I would have liked to have the much easier to load "highspeed" lifts. Oh well, it was just almost perfect.

Once the kids were old enough to hit ski school, we enrolled them in all day lessons. We got to ski and they got to have fun, eat a pretty good lunch and learn something about skiing. For the past two years our 10 year old boy has skied with us, all runs, all conditions. Our 4 year old daughter has about one or maybe two years before she is at that level but I suspect she will be skiing with us most of the time by the end of this year. We shall see!!!

post #8 of 52
Thread Starter 
My situation was incredibly favorable to skiing with the kids when they were very young. The ski area I worked at had free daycare, so I would drop them off in the a.m. and take them out for an hour here and there, using these neat little skis with a strip of moleskin on the base under the boot to make climbing easier. We always quit while they were still enjoying themselves. I started daughter #1 at age 2 and daughter #2 at 21 months, just because that's how old each was the winter after they could walk.
post #9 of 52
i remember skiing with my dad for the first time when i was 6. It was night skiing at Alpental (all you Seattle people know what i am talking about). the first night all my dad did was take me up on the rope tow and push me down to the ground. He would then make me get back up by myself with justa little help from him. That whole first day he taughtme to get back up from a fall, put my skis back on, side step up a hill, it was horrible i didnt even go on the chairlift. i wanted to quit that night, but my dad wouldnt let me. he said that if i ever started something that i had to finish it.
im only 21 now but after playing college football for 3 seasons, and not being able to really ski at all, save the family ski trip to Baker, Crytsal or Whistler, I am now getting into it really bad. for all you parents out there, make your kids ski. The best memories i have growing up is skiing at night with my dad and brothers, freezing my butts off on the chair lift, losing skiis in the snow, even hitting a tree while fighting for a jump with my brother. but all of those memories will last forever. even though im not even thinking about getting married right now or having kids, i cant wait to teach my kids to ski. its something that no other sport can come close to imitating. Its a sport that lasts a lifetime and brings families together. So for all you parents out there that force your kids to ski, God bless you - you may have changed your kids life forever.
post #10 of 52
I was dragged against my will to the hill on many occasions as a kid. By the time I was about 12 I was keen to go at every opportunity. I raced for a few years then ski bummed for a few. In the last 15 years my days at the hill have dropped as my intrest in touring increased. Now I have 3 kids who I have begun dragging to the hill. At home they say they don't want to go but when I get them there they are keen. I think I'll keep dragging them up aginst thier will.
Unitl the divorce (I've got 3 girls).
post #11 of 52
One of the best things about skiing as a family is taking vacations together. Admittedly this is a hit on the pocketbook but it is one which I think is well worth it. Its alot of quality time together, not just on the hill, but also going out for dinner (even if its just pizza) and back in the lodge/condo playing cards or board games and not slack-jawed in front of the TV. Watching the kids get better is a joy, even if you have to suck it up when they get better than you. And the shared conquest of a steep face or deep powder is something you will treasure.

Plus going to cool places (i.e., wherever there are mountains) instead of Disneyworld is not a bad thing, especially if you can afford to travel throughout the beautiful American West, Canada, or Europe. Its an eye-opener for the kids and they learn that doing fun things often requires a little extra hassle and responsibility.

Plus you will otherwise just blow the $$ on their college tuition.
post #12 of 52
Very cool thread. And for you aunt and uncles out there, it was my uncle, and not parents, who took me to ski for the first time...
post #13 of 52
Originally Posted by afrobuckolas
its something that no other sport can come close to imitating. Its a sport that lasts a lifetime and brings families together.
So true!!! Why do non-skiers have such a hard time believing that? And, what can we as parents (or of the adult sort) do to better promote that idea and this great family sport?
post #14 of 52
I got my daughter out on the slopes on skis, but 2 years later, she begged for a snowboard. Now she's "one of them". She's in college and can't afford to ski, but I think she will go once she's making some money again.

You should see the little kids rip at Bousquet! They scare the hell out of me! They're out on Monday nights, no parents, ages 8 and up, jumping, hucking, racing, having a blast, and making me jealous. It's unreal what these 10 year olds on twin tips are doing!
post #15 of 52
My parents met on a ski trip - they took me on my first at seven months, and put me on skis at two years old . . . . .

However, I live in the UK - so skiing is limited to trips abroad. Puts a big damper on the amount of time I can spend skiing.

I'm now a 20 year old University student - took a year out between school and Uni, and spent a season in Canada.
Running a pair of Atomic SX11's, going back to Vail at Easter, and I'm looking at a second pair of skis for powder and park skiing.

I'm extremely thankful that my parents got me into skiing when they did. I can just drop in on Uni ski trips and so on without worrying about ski school or equipment hire . . . . just turn up and ski my socks off.

However, the expense is a downside - and the kind of skiing I now want to do is beyond the level of my family and most of my Uni buddies.
It's getting to be an addiction now. A frustrating addiction - I''m forever wanting to go places that either aren't there, or the guys I'm skiing with can't deal with : .

Oh well - the search for the perfect ski buddy continues.

Interestingly, my brother switched to the Dark Side at the age of about thirteen. Technically he can snowboard quite well - but I guess he wants to chill out more than he wants to snowboard. C'est la vie, I guess.

I don't really know why they got us started. Obviously skiing was quite a big deal for them, and I've certainly picked up on it. Great scenery, cold air, snow, and an absolute blast.
The family trips have been great fun - but it's been the case for a while that me and my brother want to do things at entirely different levels to our parents. We might do a few runs together early in the day, but after that we usually split up and go our own ways.
post #16 of 52
Great thread.

I have a 3 year old daughter. Her first "ski trip" was at 6 months. We stayed at a place that was ski-in ski-out, and after close, I would walk up the hill with her a little, and "fly" her down the hill. Then, at 2 years we put her on skis for the first time. She lasted all of one 20' straight run (but it was a nice straight run ). This year, at 3 1/2, she's been out a total of 5 days. The last three of those, I had to drag her off the hill!

This last time (this past Sunday), she started holding a solid wedge all the way down, every time. She can even make the skis go where she wants, but the problem is, she doesn't yet understand where she wants to go. If a double fall line pulls her to the right, she will look at the right side of the trail, and just keep going that way. Kind of funny, but because she's on a harness, she knows she can't get hurt. On one run this weekend, I dropped the harness to pick up a pole someone dropped. I passed my daughter, then went back behind her to pick up the reigns. She was so excited that she "did it by herself"!! What she doesn't realize, is that I rarely have any tension on the harness (only going over rolls in the hill so that she doesn't accellerate too quickly).

One big advantage to taking kids these days, as opposed to 15-20 years ago, is the lift tickets that are # of hours, not "open-5pm". That way, I don't have to drag her out of bed in the morning. We get there when we get there and ski for a few hours. At 3 1/2 my daughter will go 2 hrs on skis, a 1 hr break for lunch, then 2 more hours of skiing, then I make her leave before she gets too tired. She's usually asleep in the car within 10 minutes.
post #17 of 52
Nolo-You guys were definitely good parents for your kids.

This is a little different twist, but I wonder how many people here followed their kids into the sport, like I did.

My wife's family lives near a small ski resort and when the kids were about 3 and 5 we took them up to go snow tubing. The tubing hill is right near the beginner slopes and both my kids were real interested in watching the people there coming down the slopes. Needless to say, they wanted to give it a try so we signed them up for a day of lessons. They enjoyed it so much that we signed them up for 4 more days that week. We took them there for lessons on and off for the next 4 years. Two years ago my kids finally talked me into giving it a whirl and I was hooked. Last year we finally got the wife on skis and now we ski as a family. We've learned that skiing is a great family sport and we owe this discovery to our boys. Go figure!!
post #18 of 52

Fathers and Daughters

I have always had a close relationship with my daughter since I took care of her when she was in pre school while I was going to grad school and my wife was working. But lately at age 15 she seems to travel more in her own orbit, which is cool since they do need to grow up sometime.

I myself started skiing at age 3 with my dad, so I have a life long thing for snow. I started my daughter skiing at age 6 when we lived in Washington State, but then we moved to New Jersey for five years of bad snow and kind of got out of practice. She started again last year at age 14 at our local area followed by several trips to the front range in CO and Steamboat. Skiing seems to be one of the few things we all agree that we like to do as a family.

I used to teach a little and have been working with her to improve, she is tenacious to say the least. On our last trip to Alta, she was doing linked parallel GS style turns on the toughest terrain and mostly keeping up with me on the groomers, and I like to ski at 25 mph or better. On the last day she managed High Rustler at a speed that would not give others cause to gripe were they stuck behind her (unless they were on downhill race skis and wearing serious crash protection). This is after maybe 15 days on skis since we picked things up again.

Needless to say this has been a great bonding experience and I am immensely proud of her. (My wife, who mostly sticks to the groomers has been awestruck at her progress and more than a little jealous.) As a reward and further incentive, I just went out and bought the daughter her first pair of powder boards and we can't wait to give them a try.

I think learning to ski well is one of the greatest gifts you can give your kids. Pass it on.
post #19 of 52
My daughter is 17 now and disappointingly really has no desire to ski. I've skied at the same area now for 25 years and I've seen a lot of kids grow up over the years, remembering them when they were little. I think skiing is an exceptional family activity. I think the reasons it didn't generate a high level of enthusiasm for my daughter was her good friends didn't ski. When she went with me , we'd leave early on Sat. and Sunday and she really didn't care to get up that early. My wife owns a retail store and Sat . is a big day there and on her day off Sunday she doesn't care to get up and go skiing .

They both would lament that a typical ski day where we ski is cold, gloomy, and typically icy. All three are probably accurate. Everybody has different interests and my passion for skiing apparently wasn't passed through with my genes. Just so everybody is happy is the key thing I guess. My ski buddy on the other hand has two boys and two girls and all four greatly enjoy the sport. He takes the girls on a trip West every year and takes the boys on a separate trip West as well. I am very fortunate as I have always been invited to go too.

All of you Bears that are skiing as a family , I think that's fantastic. I have noticed over the years there is less and less families skiing compard to earlier years. Certainly expenses involved with skiing have had an effect.
post #20 of 52
Thread Starter 
There's just something very satisfying about passing on the skiing legacy, perhaps because my parents passed it to me first. I was late to skiing (age 3), and I vividly remember staying home as a toddler with a sitter when the folks went skiing, and being so anxious for them to come home with their rosy faces and tousled hair to tell us what a great day they had. I wanted to go skiing so badly that when I was told the only thing keeping me back was not being toilet trained, I said in toddlerese, Oh you should've told me sooner!
post #21 of 52
My son is 10 and my daughter is almost 7. I echo the others who say that skiing as a family activity is the greatest. Luckily, our experiences have been almost all good, so far. No major injuries, collisions, horrible weather, or the like. We have been fortunate, because I think that helped us get off on a positive start.

Since we live in Colorado, we don't have to (get to?) do major travel, although we're all going to Whistler in Feb. That will be a test, I'm sure. But we spend so much time and money renting places in Summit County that we are in the market for a second house. How's that for affecting one's lifestyle? Oh well...

A tangent: not only my kids, but my husband too caught the bug. He is a Colorado native but didn't ski very often while growing up. Luckily when he did ski he was with buddies who were hotshot skiers, so he at least had developed the ability to keep up. The first time we skied together, I thought, "I can't believe I'm falling in love with a crap skier." (Not that that matters, but as a youngun' I never imagined marrying someone who didn't ski well.)

After we moved back to Colorado 5 years ago, though, he really got into it, and he has become a very fine skier.
post #22 of 52
Thread Starter 
Oh well - the search for the perfect ski buddy continues.
If you find the perfect ski buddy and she's a girl, marry her. When I chose a husband, I chose the guy I wanted to ski with the rest of my life. Mutual love of skiing was a major consideration for me, and I have to credit that match made in heaven with the number of heliskiing trips we've taken over the years. If I married a nonskier or a lukewarm one, I'd never have experienced the rush of skiing a sea of mountains in one day.
post #23 of 52
Originally Posted by Coach13
This is a little different twist, but I wonder how many people here followed their kids into the sport, like I did.
Hey, you just beat me to that question!!! :

Actually, I've been skiing for over 20 years but never really took a special liking to it nor did I ever care to be proficient in it (stuck at easy blue). It was merely a social thing for me, nothing more.

My love for the sport started when we put our first in ski camp (at Smuggs if anyone cares) about 9 years ago. He took an interest in and got good at skiing immediately. It didn't take me long to realize I should take advantage of that opportunity to bond. As it turned out, it worked. Successively, the two younger sisters then followed his foot steps and started skiing when they are 3-4yo. The girls are now 5 and 8 and are skiing regularly. (each is now one of the best at our local resort -- and elsewhere --for her age.) Last year, I took a part time job to teach at the ski school to make it more affordable for me to ski with them more often. Afterall, mom doesn't (want to) ski, so my ski days with my girls are my sole bonding time with them. Seriously though, if it wasn't for this sport (and school work), I really think they would not want to have anything to do with me. I hope to keep skiing with them for a long time to come.
post #24 of 52
My own family's skiing legacy was amply demonstrated this weekend.

First, I got a call from my oldest daughter saying she'd have a week off from school and work in February. She knew exactly what she wanted to do: get together with Dad and any available sisters (four out of five) for some skiing. I agreed wholeheartedly.

Saturday I was able to ski with my youngest daughter Katie, age 8. The day was a brilliant blue and white. We giggled on the narrow rollers Katie loves ski in her special "trails" through the trees. We marveled at the "horsetail" cirrus clouds speeding over the ridgeline. After I sang my special version of "Blue Skies" in the liftline, Katie smiled, hit me with her ski pole, and informed me that I embarrass her "ten times a day." We ate corndogs for lunch and sang Beatles' songs on the way home.

On Monday, I got to ski with my 77 year old dad at Snowbird while we celebrated his second son's birthday. My birthday brother was there with part of his family. We all cruised Mineral Basin in the morning, forcing Dad to push his limits a bit since the corduroy had long been used up. His knees were done by lunchtime, but the legacy he gave to his six children and many grandchildren will live on for eternity.
post #25 of 52
[quote=Coach13]....This is a little different twist, but I wonder how many people here followed their kids into the sport, like I did. ....

Right now I have two multi lesson groups of never ever adults, 7 students. Over half of them are taking the lessons so they can try to keep up with their kids. As if they will ever keep up once those kids learn to fly.: Most of the kids are around 5 to 8.

I think that we actually have quite a few people enter the sport to keep up with their kids. As stated before, this is a lifetime sport. (Or as I tell people. Skiing is a legal drug. Once your hooked its for life. I'm just a high class pusher.):
post #26 of 52
Originally Posted by Bill Emmett
... Katie smiled, hit me with her ski pole, and informed me that I embarrass her "ten times a day." ....
Bill, isn't that a father's job?:
post #27 of 52
all these tails of skiing with Family have brought tears to my eyes. Bill your story of skiing with your kids and your dad is pretty special 3 genarations enjoying the outdoors. does it get any better then that? that would make a nice story to submit to one of the ski mags.
post #28 of 52
Originally Posted by nolo
If you find the perfect ski buddy and she's a girl, marry her.
Best match-making advice I have ever heard. Worked for me.
post #29 of 52
Originally Posted by Utah49
...3 genarations enjoying the outdoors. does it get any better then that? ...
Does anyone have a tale of four generations at once? (Not trying to step on Bill's story; just curious.)
post #30 of 52
Originally Posted by nolo
If you find the perfect ski buddy and she's a girl, marry her.
Heh, it's on the list
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