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Parents Please!!!

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
I'd like to share a little incident of parent "responsibility" I saw today at Copper that left me shaken.

While taking an adult group of advanced skiers down a black diamond trail (Trail 20/CDL) with realitively firm snow a little 9 year old girl went straight lining by me an a screaming death wedge, hit a work road that flipped her backwards about 4 feet in the air and disappeared out of sight heading right for the trees. Taking off after her while simultaneously reaching for my cell phone to call patrol I was relieved to see she came to a stop just short of the trees about 50 yards down from where she launched off the road. Luckily she was not hurt but clearly terrified. Before her parents could reach her she kept saying she didn't want to ski this trail but "mommy and daddy made me". If she had been 10 feet to the right on that trail she would have gone into the trees at high speed.

Wedge turning children should not be on black diamond trails!!!

These parents are Darwin Award candidates. Dad's explanation was he was "training" her. Biting my tongue hard enough to draw blood I told dad this was not the terrain she should be on and to walk her down on the side to the bottom where I would leave her skis. She was not going to ski down anymore of this trail.

Please, please use common sense when choosing terrain for your children. Pick terrain well within their ability not terrain that is ego based.
post #2 of 27
OMG!! : Was it Britney? That was completely irreponsible. Not to mention they might have just comletely lost their daughter's desire to ski for a long, long time.

I'm glad you were there to put the kybosh on their plan.
post #3 of 27
Shoulda slapped the idiots!
post #4 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikewil View Post
[snip]

Please, please use common sense when choosing terrain for your children. Pick terrain well within their ability not terrain that is ego based.
Given the facts that Mikewil is stating, the parents (likely primarily Dad) do sound like complete idiots and jerks in this case. However, as a dad who's dealt with the inherent variability of a 5-6 and now 7 year old, terrain well within their ability can also be a tough judgment. I've had the kid get completely gripped and have to sideslip down something, get "bad dad" glares from others and patrol, then get to the lift and say they wanted to try again.

Not taking a kid in a braking wedge down a firm run that mom & dad probably couldn't ski too well themselves is an easy case though.
post #5 of 27
You want to smack him with your ski and when he asks why just reply... "I was training you".
post #6 of 27
same goes for weather. parents, please don't put your kids in school when the temp's 25 - 30 below with windchill, and act surprised when the group spends more time inside having hot cocoa than they do outside skiing. (and, all the while, many parents are sitting inside some building watching the class from heated comfort.)
post #7 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikewil View Post
...Taking off after her while simultaneously reaching for my cell phone to call patrol I was relieved to see ...
Keep up the good work and keep posting this stuff, it helps all of us.
post #8 of 27
Yeah! They breed and they probably vote too. :

Last time I caught that action, I figured I was going to loose my job. I had them all take off their skis and walk the side of the trail. Pappa was swearing at me in Spanish .... at least it sounded like swearing ...
post #9 of 27
I agree that a kid who can only wedge should not be on black terrain.

I disagree that the insinuation that the kid didn't want to go on the trail meant it was an open and closed issue.
post #10 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post
Given the facts that Mikewil is stating, the parents (likely primarily Dad) do sound like complete idiots and jerks in this case. However, as a dad who's dealt with the inherent variability of a 5-6 and now 7 year old, terrain well within their ability can also be a tough judgment. I've had the kid get completely gripped and have to sideslip down something, get "bad dad" glares from others and patrol, then get to the lift and say they wanted to try again. ...
Yeah ... the line is fuzzy. We were at Copper, too, a week and a half ago, and I took my daughter (8) down the Drainpipe/Sawtooth area. It's a pretty steep pitch at the top, but we wanted to ski the rest of Resolution, which is well within her ability.

She was nervous about the steepness at the top, though, and froze up in the middle of the run. I knew she could do it, but she sideslipped it after standing there crying and freaking out. I'm sure everyone on the lift thought I was an idiot. I certainly felt like one, although I KNEW she was capable.

The next day she decides she wants to try again, and finishes it in eight or nine slow but beautiful linked turns. Next time she just bombs the thing, and decides Drainpipe is her favorite run. She also conquered the entry to the West Ridge of Copper Bowl, every run off of S lift, on and on, and all because I made her do what she didn't want to.

Of course, she isn't wedging, either, but sometimes you have to push a kid to do what they can do but don't think they can. And sometimes you might be wrong ... but it doesn't necessarily make you a total idiot.
post #11 of 27
Wow that is crazy i am not a parent but i take my little sister who is 3 skiing fairly often and we only go when its good weather and on the runs were i can control her speed i cant imagine a parent letting their kid loose like that i'm 16 and have more common sense.
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpinedad View Post
I agree that a kid who can only wedge should not be on black terrain.

I disagree that the insinuation that the kid didn't want to go on the trail meant it was an open and closed issue.
Agreed.
Now, I never had to push my son onto harder runs... Rather to restrain him. He wanted to straigthline 'La Face' at 6... And did actualy ski it.
(yes, the link is rather ridiculous, but that's all I found)
post #13 of 27
I agree that sometimes one has to push a kid (or yourself) a bit. But I also think that there is a right way and a wrong way of doing it.

Two years ago this past weekend we signed our then 8 year old for skiing lessons. He had never alpine skied before (dad, and mom had never skied b4). We had gone xc skiing the year before and my son hated it. He thought alpine skiing was going to be the same and didn't want to take the lessons, but we signed him up for the 6 week program at Eldora Trek.

Eldora Trek program has 5 level, I think. From beginner to advance: Pink, Yellow, Green, Blue, Black. He started in Pink. After the second lesson of the first session, he said: "signed me up for the next 6 weeks". The next 6 weeks he was in the Blue class. The following year we signed him up for another 6 weeks and he was in the Black class. This year he is in the Junior racing team. Not once, he nor I, ever felt that he was over terrained. The professional instructors know very well what they are doing. And that has given my son a love for the sport that will probably last a life time.

Oh, and I took lessons too and now I can ski with him pretty much every where. Well... I have to take a bumps lesson this year to get better at that. But b/c I did it with professional lessons, I have a love for the sport that will last the rest of my life. BTW, I had to push myself to ski too. Even when I was a teenager and my then girlfriend used to go skiing I would pass and stay home for fear. Two years ago I pushed myself, but I did it the right way, for me and my son, by taking professional lessons.
post #14 of 27

From the less fortunate...

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikewil View Post
I'd like to share a little incident of parent "responsibility" I saw today at Copper that left me shaken.

While taking an adult group of advanced skiers down a black diamond trail (Trail 20/CDL) with realitively firm snow a little 9 year old girl went straight lining by me an a screaming death wedge, hit a work road that flipped her backwards about 4 feet in the air and disappeared out of sight heading right for the trees. Taking off after her while simultaneously reaching for my cell phone to call patrol I was relieved to see she came to a stop just short of the trees about 50 yards down from where she launched off the road. Luckily she was not hurt but clearly terrified. Before her parents could reach her she kept saying she didn't want to ski this trail but "mommy and daddy made me". If she had been 10 feet to the right on that trail she would have gone into the trees at high speed.

Wedge turning children should not be on black diamond trails!!!

These parents are Darwin Award candidates. Dad's explanation was he was "training" her. Biting my tongue hard enough to draw blood I told dad this was not the terrain she should be on and to walk her down on the side to the bottom where I would leave her skis. She was not going to ski down anymore of this trail.

Please, please use common sense when choosing terrain for your children. Pick terrain well within their ability not terrain that is ego based.
Here in the East, we are less fortunate and have to travel by plane to get to the good skiing out west. When our kids were young and first starting, I reserved that kind of travel for later. We started them in private lessons for an hour each day, for a few days at a very small local hill, Mount Cascade.

Once they had the basic idea, could get down an easy hill and could go on a chair lift, we skied with them on the same easy hill a few days. For the next three years we took week trips to Smuggler's Notch in Vermont, which is advertised as having America's #1 rated ski school.

We put the kids in all day lessons, with groups of kids their own age. We dropped them off at the ski school just after 9:00AM and picked them up again at around 3:30PM. They were provided lunch, hot chocolate breaks, and entertainment.

While they were in ski school, we were free to ski wherever we wanted.

The last day of each trip we took them out of ski school and they skied with us, but only on runs they could handle. At the end of the three years, they were hell on skis. Then we took them out West.

It seems to me, that if you want to ski the expert runs, and you want to take your beginner kids skiing, that you should put them in ski school, ski your expert runs, while you have a chance, and then ski runs suitable for your children, when you have them with you.

There will be plenty of time to take them on expert runs later, if you don't kill them first.

Worked for us.

oh chute
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by oh_chute View Post
....
It seems to me, that if you want to ski the expert runs, and you want to take your beginner kids skiing, that you should put them in ski school, ski your expert runs, while you have a chance, and then ski runs suitable for your children, when you have them with you.....
Yep, that's exactly what we did. Now I'm trying to figure out a way to slow them down.

There is a transition point for most kids where things are gray ... and I admit to wanting to get my daughter off the blues, which are way more dangerous than the blacks, imo. Yes, they can get out of control like the original post ... but they are at a far lower risk of being hit. My daughter was hit 2 years ago, and it really retarded her progress because she worried too much about what was going on behind her.

Obviously they'll never learn to ski properly if they hit the expert slopes before they are ready and have to power wedge the whole time. But my main consideration for getting the kids out of the blues wasn't so much because I want to ski the blacks as it is just a safer place to be these days.
post #16 of 27

I hear ya!

Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post
Yep, that's exactly what we did. Now I'm trying to figure out a way to slow them down.
Yup. At first they would make small excursions into the trees on the sides of trails. They would look for all the little hits and woop-dee-doos along the trail edge.

That's how it starts.

After clammering uphill a few times to help with a yard sale, I got into the habit of playing sweeper. I would let everyone go first and follow up behind to assist as needed.

With age they began to ski more and more on their own.

Eventually, I found myself struggling to keep up in the bumps. They got better and I got older. I would stop to catch my breath and they would be gone.

I would still follow them occasionally, if we met and it seemed they were about to do something more sketchy. I can't tell you the number of times that I stood at the top looking over the lip of some crazy terrain, said to myself, "If I take this, I'm going to die," then shrugged, and jumped in behind them anyway. The power of parental obligation. I would rather risk my own life, than imagine my kid laying injured on some obscure part of the mountain, with no one to help.

I'm not dead yet. In fact, I am grateful to them for leading me into some of the gnarliest, most fun skiing I have ever done. Much of it, I don't think I would have done, if I had not been dutifully following behind sweeping. I am now a better, more confident skier, for having followed them.

So, for the times that I skied easy runs because they were not ready for the hard stuff, they eventually paid me back with interest, pushing me to do crazy things that in the end have been some of the best highlights of my skiing experiences.

Now that I am approaching retirement, and thinking about having to eventually get more cautious, I expect that one day, they will being skiing some easier runs to accomodate me.

oh chute
post #17 of 27

cycle of life...

I am now at the point where I can no longer keep up with my (young adult)daughters unless they let me, which fortunately, they do. Like oh chute, I have had my kids take me down stuff that I would now be reluctant to go on by myself, and I am glad they do, because I have always enjoyed it. The best days of sking I have had have been chasing my kids and their friends around. I just hope I can do this for a number of years to come.

At the other end of the spectrum, however, my parents are coming to the end of their skiing careers. Last year I took my mother (in her late 70's) into the Catherines area at Alta, something she has enjoyed for years, and felt a bit like the parent who took his child on a trail that was over her head. I stated worrying whether this was such a good idea. She made it down OK, but there were a few nervous moments. I think she really appreciated it, though, so it was worth it.

Enjoy every minute of it and if you wind up taking a kid into an area that is a bit over their head, do whatever you can to ease their fears and make it fun. The shoe may be on the other foot some day....
post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikewil View Post
I'd like to share a little incident of parent "responsibility" I saw today at Copper that left me shaken.

If she had been 10 feet to the right on that trail she would have gone into the trees at high speed.

Wedge turning children should not be on black diamond trails!!!

.
1. I have no problem with the kid running into a tree. The problem arises when the kid runs into me or someone in my family or someone else.

2. Parents who think that their kids are benefitting from this prob can't ski themslves
post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by oh_chute View Post
...

Now that I am approaching retirement, and thinking about having to eventually get more cautious, I expect that one day, they will being skiing some easier runs to accomodate me....
And then, as the cycle continues, they'll be changing our diapers and mashing up our food so we can eat it without teeth!
post #20 of 27
Oh Chute's message really hit home for me. Just got back from Utah 5 days ago. I also played sweeper. However, my kids also pushed me to go places I never would have on my own, but did to keep them interested and to make sure they don't die. However, sometimes I had to say no. My 11 year old hasn't seen the slope he doesn't think he can do, so luckily I'm there to make that judgement call. Of course they think I'm a wuss, but better that than bring them back to Mom broken.
post #21 of 27
Unfortunately many parents just don’t grasp common sense and certainly will stiffen to anyone passing judgment on how they deal with their kids.

Certainly we have all witnessed shocking conduct of parents even outside of a skiing circumstance that causes us to question how some can be so ignorant to fundamental norms. Be that as it is I’m glad that nothing serious happened to that little girl and hope that mikewil’s comments hit home with the Dad…

…but something tells me it fell on deaf ears.
post #22 of 27
Everybody will grow at there own pace. No child should or adult should be pushed down a mountain to learn faster. As we find and learn our lines, edges and happiness the mountain will grow on them and us.

When you learn, you will learn faster with a grin on your face and determination in your eyes then with frozen streams on your cheeks and a clouded view of the world.

The more your child enjoys the day, the more often they will want to go back. Repetition will be one of the fastest ways to learn.

Don't let your children grow up too fast.

This is for all of you to smile at and enjoy. There smiles at the end of the day will be what fills your heart in the future.
post #23 of 27
I sort of ended up in this dilemma last year, skiing with my (then) 4 year old daughter. She skis well, can turn and stop on a dime, on any trail she has been on. So last year, on a good, warm, slushy and slow spring day, I took her up to the advanced beginner / low intermediate hill. She looked frightened, but made beautiful 180 degree turns down the steepest top section of the trail. When we got about 100 yards into it, she just stopped and cried, totally freaked out because she could now see how far away the bottom of the hill was, and how far down she had to go. I actually tried to convince her to that she knew how to ski it and just keep doing what she had been doing, but to no avail. I carried her the rest of the way down and we went back to the little beginner hills. She hasn't tried that other run again, and I wonder how long it will take her to want to do it. I'm hoping it doesn't take too long because she can handle it easily. But at the same time, after the near-death incident I had on that other trail with a class last weekend, I'm thinking maybe I don't want her anywhere near that other run.
post #24 of 27
My girls started at two- but that's mostly for bragging rights as they get older. Many times we did two or three runs and called it a day.More than once I picked them up in my arms and skied them down after they got scared, or tired or even just bored and needy. The whole thing is about them and keeping them comfortable and happy and positive. Throw "vert" and terrain out the window. Somedays, when I lived in SLC, we'd spend an hour getting ready, forty minutes to Alta, a half hour skiing (when the sold single lift rides) hot cocoa, then home. It was a blast. Never on a powder day, of course. Now the kids are in a ski school set up just as Oh Chute described and are doing great. We pick them up at three and drink cocoa in the lodge with lots of marshmellows.

As for the idiot parents, my Dad used to say "People are stupid". Later he changed it to "People are crazy- and frequently drunk before noon" I always thought he was too harsh, but I'm beginning to see what he meant...
post #25 of 27
A few random thoughts:

- It's not the ability to do a parallel (or stem, or whatever) turn that's key to skiing a steeper run, it's just the ability to turn. Combined with a few other things, like understanding how to traverse, and the right mental attitude. A kid who does wedge turns (reasonably sharp ones) can ski down black diamond runs. But they do have to be turns. Wedging straight down the fall-line is going to be a disaster (unless the kid is really, really strong, or you've got some wimpy black diamond runs at your area).

- Mental attitude, as others have mentioned in various ways, is as important as physical skills. Many really small kids, even if they could physically ski a steeper run, don't have the psychological equipment to do it. It's very easy to get scared. The way to overcome it for the kid just to do one turn at a time, and pay attention to what's immediately before him. Of course, getting the kid to do that might be easier said than done! And discovering he can't do it when you're at the top of a long run is not an ideal situation to be in.
post #26 of 27
I remember ripping down Enchanted Forest in 2 feet of powder with my youngest Son Eric who was 9 at the time. I also remember a few people who were struggeling about the top saying, holy crap, look at that little kid. I said, ya, not bad for a 9 year old huh? Of course he'd been skiing and boarding since age 3. Both my Boys learned to ski in Ski School in a wonderful program at HV. Kids excell so much quicker when skiing with kids their size instead of being intimidated by adults/parents. Most parents can't ski well enough or know how to teach their kids proper learning technique. Let someone else who knows how do it. You'll enjoy your later years together. It's a great feeling to know you can go to a place like Copper and know your children can ski anything and anywhere in the Resort. Get them lessons.
post #27 of 27
mikewil - interesting thread you started. I am just thankful the little girl did not get hurt. I have seen some weird stuff over the years. I have seen one father throwing his son down an expert run like a sack of potatoes over and over. From below I went up the hill as fast as I could. Huffing and puffing I say ah we can't allow you to do that here. His response was well how the hell am I suppose to get my lazy kid down the mountain. I told him I will call for a toboggan. When I got to the first aid room the kid was fast to sleep in the toboggan. Check the kid out, wrote a real long report, and boy leaves first aid room to go out skiing with his potato sack throwing father some more. Go figure. They agree no more black expert runs.
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