Reflections on Burn Out, Family Skiing and Giving Thanks

pow day breck april 2014.

A pow day shot (especially in April) is worth more than 1000 words!

brave ski mom logoI am often not at a loss for words.

But last week, when I sat down to write about family skiing, in particular, to share a wonderful experience I had moderating a family skiing workshop at the 2014 Mountain Travel Symposium, the words wouldn’t come.

As I struggled to find some way to express what I’d learned, I realized that more than anything, I was feeling burnt out.


Not a good feeling, but certainly something we’ve all felt from time-to-time.

brave ski mom breckenridgeI remember this feeling after working as an art volunteer in my kids’ elementary school for several (let’s call it 7 years).

Suddenly, I’d had it with washing tempera paint out of stubby brushes.

I’d had it with objectively picking one student, from the forest of raised hands to advance the slides during our weekly slide show (yes, our district was still using slide projectors).

I’d had it with pretending to care about the history of Artist X and trying to find a unique and kid-friendly way to share his or her formative experience (most of which weren’t kid-friendly).

So here I am again, burnt out at the end of what was arguably the best skiing and writing season of my life. Truly I should have no complaints. Everything went well, every experience was incredible, no one was injured and, remarkably, we still have plenty of skiing ahead of us this spring and into summer (Wahoo!).

Why Do We Ski?

Last week, as our family skiing session was introduced, Alex Allen from (the session’s corporate sponsor) shared this remarkable quote about family skiing.

So, why do we do it (ski)?

Because, like generations of skiers before us, we will eventually push-off, leaving behind not just all that schlepping, but the weight of Newton’s laws as well. Gravity becomes our friend. The sullen teenager lights up, the 8-year-old stops whining, and your spouse is no longer a parent, but a fellow skier. We will each take our own route, but we will go down the hill together.

Darn that’s good. I wish I’d written it.

But I didn’t. It was written by David Carr in a December 2011 essay on family skiing published in the New York Times.

Reading it again today, I feel less burnt out.

family skiing at breckenridge


I’m no longer a stressed-out mom, trying to balance the springtime craziness which marks a school year nearing its end. I’m no longer trying to decide if its guilt or desire that makes me feel I should spend all day “spring cleaning” our closets.

I realize I have no need to whine, and that my temporary sullen demeanor is “unbecoming” (as my husband might say).

Just reading about family skiing (especially today, in someone else’s words) is lighting me up.

I’m still burnt out. And I still need a break.

I think I need to go skiing…just skiing.

Silently, with no words.

pretty pow day breck colorado

Thank You…

While I didn’t write what I set out to write, public thanks are still due my co-conspirators in planning and presenting the family skiing session at the 2014 Mountain Travel Symposium in Breckenridge, Colorado.

Mountain travel symposium 2014

So big thanks to:

Mara Gorman, my co-moderator and new-found friend. Mara is an accomplished family travel writer and expert. She is the founder of The Mother Of All Trips and Back to Ski.

Anne Haight, Sales and Marketing Director at Silver Star Mountain Resort. I met Anne in December when I visited Silver Star, one of my new favorite resorts. Anne is not only a ski industry pro, but a kind person and a worthy friend on a powder day.

anne haight at breck

Anne Haight stops for a photo, after the pow is tracked out. There was NO stopping before !

Jodie Silva, Vice President, Marketing and Sales, at Winter Park Resort. Jodie is a marketing genius who led Winter Park’s Season of the Seven rebrand this winter. She’s also adjusting to life at 9,000 feet quite nicely thank you very much. And she’s proud to share that Winter Park is one of CNN’s Top 15 U.S. Spots for Kids!

okemo best family resort on the snow

Brian Halligan with 2014 Honors.

Brian Halligan, Director of Sales at Okemo Mountain Resort. I’ve not yet skied Okemo, but I hope to, someday soon. Brian is a ski industry veteran who’s skied all over the world. He’s also quite proud that Okemo is’s 2014 Family Resort of the Year.

Additional thanks to John McColly from Mountain High Resort, who couldn’t make it to Breck, but helped us anyway, Bruce Rosard the powerhouse behind the entire symposium, Amy Zelinsky who handled the logistics, the good folks at GoBreck and Breckenridge Ski Resort Ski who got us on mountain and mother nature…for all that incredible spring snow!

Interested in our presentation? You can view the slides here


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