Hard Truth #1: No matter how intelligent, fit and talented you are, there is always someone more intelligent, fit and talented. Usually your teen.
Hard Truth #2: No matter how well you ski, or snowboard, there is always someone who skis, or snowboards, better than you. Usually your teen.
If you’re the parent of a teenager (or two, or three), you’ve already figured out that they rule the world. Or at least they think they do.
As they grow into their bodies and brains, each day brings them more muscle and more brain connections. While you’re struggling to remember what to buy at the grocery store, they’re mastering advanced chemistry. While you’re stopping to catch your breath part way through a long mogul run, they’re impatiently waiting at the bottom for you wondering why you’re SO SLOW.
Skiing with, not to mention living with, teenagers can be demoralizing, but it can also be infinitely rewarding.
Here’s the Good News.
Chairlift Time Can Be Quality Time.
Recently, my 14-year-old and I were skiing together, without anyone else.
On the chairlift, shivering under a weak sun, we had an intense and valuable conversation. I don’t know how it started, but soon, my son was tearing down his teenage defenses and sharing with me all the things my husband and I do that drive him crazy. And while that might sound annoying, it was incredible. He opened up and told me things I needed to hear. He alone had my attention and he ran with it.
It was a conversation we would never have had at home.
Not every chairlift conversation has to be intense. Some are just fun. But either way, take advantage of your time together on lifts. Turn off the music, stash the phone and share the moment together.
It’s Your Turn to Be Schooled.
Off the chairlift, I deal daily with the fact that my two teenage skiers can really rip. It seems like only weeks ago, I was praying for them to get off the bunny slope. Then we were pushing them to get off the groomers. Now, they are the ones pushing me.
Without my teenage sons, I would never have jumped into so many chutes, launched onto such steep faces or bounced along so many traverses. It would have been easier to stick to my favorite terrain, and rest content on the single blacks.
Not with these guys.
If there’s extreme terrain to be found, they’ll find it. And while I sometimes demure, especially in tight trees, some of my best days have been when they’ve challenged me to extend my skills.
No matter what your ability, take some chances with your teens. What skills do you want to improve? Ask them to help you. Ask them to choose terrain that they think you’d like.
You’ll be surprised how far you’ll go.
Your Teens Will Keep You Up to Date.
Wondering who the latest freeskiing superstars are? Looking for beta on the best new ski movies? Trying to figure out which coat looks least “gaper-ish”? Or what they real events are the Olympics are? Let your teens tell you.
Natively equipped with built-in barometers that measure “cool” and “uncool” on a continual basis, my sons are encyclopedias of skiing (and lots of other) knowledge. They know what’s in, what’s out and the latest in ski design technology. While I’m content wearing my old goggles, they know all the reasons why I shouldn’t. And so much more.
I don’t always take their advice, but I do appreciate how much they know and their passion for learning is exciting. And while I will never be hip, or up-to-date in their eyes, at least I can keep up on the conversation.
Yes, they are more intelligent, more fit, and more talented than me. They ski much better than me.
And they are better-looking.
What more could a mom ask for?
- Parenting Teens: Off the Couch and Into the Outdoors, July 8, 2013.
- No Regret Parenting, September 9, 2013.
- When Your Kids Don’t Share Your Passion, August 12, 2013.
- Kids Speak Out: What Makes a Good Ski Day, January 13, 2014.
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