In an effort to make sure our kids are improving their skills we always ski in a line - the kids behind mom playing follow the leader (this ensures practicing linking turns, getting skis parallel, controlling speed and SAFETY). Dad follows behind to pick up the pieces when one of them falls, shouts encouragement and of course watches their technique.
Unfortunately my role (Dad) seems to be spent more on safety of our group unless the run we are on is near deserted. When skiing in a line we often are spaced apart at least 5-10 ft so the "train" of 3 people runs a good 15-20+ ft criss crossing back and forth across the mountain. I do not want or expect my wife or kids to constantly be looking uphill and so my role has become that of a blocker and lookout. I typically stay uphill of my family by 10-15 ft and ski just ahead and uphill of the kids so that anyone coming downhill sees me and is forced to avoid the "train" moving across the hill just below me. Absent my doing this, faster skiiers will routintely cut through "train," scare the crap out of the kids and from time to time cut them off and/or hit them. While 80% of the time my presence uphill of the kids ensure that folks either stop or cross behind my kids, there are times when I have been forced to "aggressively" position myself so an uphill skier who either cannot stop or chooses not to stop stays clear - uphill skiers have been forced off the slope in some cases and I have had uphill skiers hit me (actually they tend to get speared by my outstretched pole). Most are apologetic as they should be but a few have decide to argue the point with me on the slope....To be clear, we almost always stay on greens with the kids, we always look uphill before starting the train after stopping and we always try to keep as close as we can without running into one another. that said 3 people skiing bakc and forth across the hill stretches a good 10-20+ ft most of the time. Oh, and we yield to faster moving skiiers/groups whenever possible.
So...is there a better way to protect my family? am I "wrong" for staying uphill and forcing people to ski around us? any other thoughts/comments?
Skiing with my kids the past 2 winters has certainly made me a far more courteous skiier..I know I give beginners and slower moving folks a much wider berth. And I give families all the time and space they need.
Based on our experience last year, I would not return to Keystone with young kids. The snowboarders on green runs in particular were a nightmare. One crashed into me and another I saw coming off a "jump" towards my kids ended up getting speared and body checked to the ground - I saw him he didnt see me or my kids. And I regret that one out of control beginning skiier who would have crashed into one of my children had to be pushed to the ground by me as gently as possible - I apologized and explained that she would have hit my child otherwise....she was fairly understanding.
In contrast, Breck and BC were great with young kids. Skiers were much much more courteous and far less "buzzing of" and cutting off downhill skiers. and of course far fewer snowboards...
Anyway headed to Breck 12/26 for a week and I thought I would get some input before I go. Constructive criticism is welcome....I want to be a courteous skier but not at the risk of my family getting injured....