Skiing with kids. Why we do it.

Two winters ago my husband, Robert, and I chased our three kids, then 5, 9 and 12,  down Upper Lakeview, one of the easier black diamond runs at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe (our local hill).  When we all gathered at the bottom, he looked at me and said, “Thanks for doing that.”

I almost burst into tears.

You see, I was the one who had schlepped the kids up the hill to Mt. Rose just about every weekend, for years. Rob would come along occasionally, but he snowboards and is much pickier about the conditions than I am. Read: It must be sunny. It must be 35 degrees out (at least). There must be at least 6 inches of fresh snow. And he doesn’t like Saturdays because it’s too crowded.

Bottom line: the kids and I ski at least 25 days a season and he’s lucky to get 5.

(This is a photo we took just after our big run.)

As any ski-parent knows, the early years of skiing are FILLED with tears. And the tears are not only the kids’.

There have been many, many days when I’ve thought: Why in God’s name am I doing this? Skiing is expensive. It can be dangerous (more on that later). It can be very, very cold. In short, it can be a huge, huge hassle.

The kids sometimes seem like they could care less. But the fact is, they  love it  as much as I do. Maybe not every-weekend-love-it, but they do love it.

I wanted to make sure that my kids learned how to ski, properly, early. I’m self taught, but they’ve had enough lessons that their bad habits will not stick with them the way that mine have stayed with me.

A few weeks ago I read this essay about the family ski trip by the astute David Carr, the media reporter for the New York Times, that summed it all up. He does a great job of capturing the drama that is family skiing.

When my kids complain about our ski outings, which they do less and less often, I tell them that someday if they need psychotherapy they can say it’s because I forced them to learn to ski (and golf). And then I say: Get some perspective, people.
What life lessons have you learned from skiing with your family. Are you glad you stuck with it?

3 responses

  1. pam

    I did not stick with family skiing, gave up skiing altogether actually, but my son and husband love the time they have together snowboarding every weekend. I look on it as a time they can hang out together alone, doing their thing that they both love. One of these days Sam will be leaving the old man behind on the slopes, but at this stage they go down together and keep an eye on each other. The hour ride up and back also gives them time to hang out and talk and I know this will be huge when the boy is a teenager and the time they spend together will be less and less and his speaking in general will be less and less!
    I do admit to a feeling of anxiety pretty constant throughout the day while they are up there, and I find myself saying goodbye to them like I will never see them again, which is a whole other story.

    March 2, 2012 at 11:31 am

    • Dana Sullivan Kilroy

      Thanks for sharing that! I feel like I have some new insight to my good friend.

      March 2, 2012 at 1:08 pm

  2. Cj_cal

    I try not to remember the tears, the whining, the falls. Now that we’re finally out of those woods, I try not to look back!!! The joy they get now is such a treat to witness. And I will have my revenge and their appreciation when they teach their own kids. It makes me think back to when my poor Aunt tried to help me down my first blue run and I took off my skis and pouted and walked down the hill!

    March 2, 2012 at 8:46 pm

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