“Mom, you’ve got to stop answering for me.”
My younger son was angry. Ten years old, intelligent, and perfectly fluent in English (his only language), he was sick and tired of me butting in and “helping” him answer questions.
It was a bad habit I’d developed. Having two young, small sons and being a mom who is always in a hurry, I’d taken to rushing conversations and speaking for the boys.
After my son corrected me, I stopped. I slowed down and I let them listen and answer.
And, I was amazed. Who knew they were so smart?
Kids Speak Out
Having learned from this experience, I thought it would be fun to ask some skiing and snowboarding questions, not only of my boys, but of lots of kids!
So I started with a simple question: What Makes a Good Ski Day?
I asked kids ranging in age from 5 to 17.
I asked kids who ride, kids who ski, and kids who would rather not do either (“the best part of a ski day is when it’s over”).
These are kids from across the United States from New England to Oregon, some of whom live in ski towns and some who only ski a few times each year.
Here are their answers.
Twenty-first century ski kids are discriminating and two things are very clear: they don’t like ice. They love powder.
Other likes and dislikes?
They don’t like crowds. They hate lift lines.
They think moguls are the bomb, while opinions divided on tree skiing. For some there’s nothing better.
For others, being above the trees is preferable.
As this 2nd grader put it, “The best ski day is when I can ski steep, wide open hills with a little bit of powder on them for going fast!”
Challenging terrain also gets these kids going. Several mentioned skiing “double black diamond” runs, while others were all about big cliffs and good jumps.
Of course, there were also some diehards who just love to ski, regardless of the conditions, the temperature and the terrain.
“Skiing is always good,” explained one 14-year-old boy. “Even when the snow could be better, I always have fun.”
Friends Make A Good Day Better
According to these kids, who you ski or ride with is just as important as the conditions.
As one teen put it, “I have fun, even when the snow is bad, as long as I’m with good people – not necessarily my family – but good people.”
Ouch! Sorry, mom and dad.
Another girl mentioned “laughing with friends” as the best part of her day.
Sweet Fuel or Bribery?
A constant in my not-at-all-scientific survey was sugar.
Most parents are familiar with tempting their kids with food to get them to do something. Skiing parents know this routine only too well and have promised hot chocolate to balky young skiers for as long as skiing and hot chocolate have existed.
It seems the kids are onto us, especially the younger ones.
Hot chocolate remains a favorite, but other tasty rewards include Gatorade at lunch after an especially good run and the promise of ice cream on the way home.
For one five year-old girl, “choosing a big candy bar at the end of the day” keeps her motivated.
Fuel? Bribery? Or simply après ski?
Perhaps our kids are not so very different from their parents?
What do your kids say makes a good ski day?
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