Parents of teenagers, my husband and I are used to having our shortcomings pointed out to us loudly and immediately.
As you’ve probably found out if your kids are over 11 years old, parents are generally not very cool, and rather embarrassingly foolish.
We get it. We were teens once, too.
Today’s post was written with the help of our sons. The idea came to our younger son in December when we were skiing at Snowmass and he witnessed Mistake #1.
Driving home that afternoon, the boys got on a roll and our list of mistakes grew quickly.
We offer it up today, in a spirit of helpfulness and suggestion, not criticism.
Mistake #1: Leaving Your Ski Boots Outside
Yep, we actually saw this.
While you’re supposed to park your skis and poles on an exterior rack when you go in for lunch, we cannot imagine what possessed this skier to leave his boots behind. Not only was it a very cold day, but the sky was bombing snow, a blessing for skiers, but not so good for dudes going barefoot.
These boots were going to be both stiff and wet when their owner returned.
Actually, it’s a big mistake to leave ski boots out in the cold at anytime.
The plastic stiffens making them hard to put on and uncomfortable to wear.
We keep ski boots in our bedroom closets, packed and ready to go in our boot bags. A heated garage would work just as well. And remember, bring them in at night when traveling. Don’t leave them in the car. And, always dry them after a ski day.
Mistake #2: Skiing in Jeans
While this sartorial error was more common during my childhood, we still sometimes see folks skiing in Levis. For that, all I’ve got is “brrrr.” Made of heavy cotton denim, jeans get wet quickly, freeze in the cold and offer little or no insulation.
Actually, skiing in anything cotton is a mistake. Don’t be tempted to dress your kids in cotton PJ’s, hoping that they’ll double as inexpensive baselayers (been there, done that), cotton sweaters or cotton socks. Better choices are breathable, insulating layers made of wool or polypropylene.
The one possible exception? My guys love their hoodies and flannel shirts.
Mistake #3: Wearing Long Long Underwear
Continuing the discussion of baselayers, both of my sons are sold on 3/4 length long underwear. They like how the baselayer stops where the ski socks start, with no overlap. This means less bulk in the ski boot. According to my oldest, too many layers in the boots lead to tight boots, which leads to poor circulation and cold feet.
I don’t dispute this, but I’m not sold. I like my long johns long. Proving once again, that in the eyes of my offspring, I’m a rookie.
Mistake #4: Cradling Your Skis Like a Baby
Skis are heavy and poles are awkward to carry. But carrying them horizontally in your arms and hugging them to your chest is an especially bad idea.
Because, suddenly, rather than being one person wide, you’re 170cm (or so) wide. You become a walking wrecking crew, putting everyone near you, especially little kids, in danger of being hit with ski tips or tails whenever you turn.
And while I don’t necessarily think you have to carry your skis on your shoulder, front tips forward, that’s what all the cool kids do. While it makes my family crazy when I hoist my boards onto my shoulder tails forward, this is what works best for me (and it makes it simple to tip them forward into the rack).
Clearly, given the variety of possible carrying techniques and then number of products available to make carrying skis and poles easier, there is no right answer as this video shows.
Mistake #5: Waiting at the Front of the Lift Line
This one, I’ve never understood. If you ski into the maze and then wait for your friends and family, you slow down progress for everyone by blocking the line. Plus, the wait time is the same, whether you’re inside or outside the maze.
I know this is probably a losing battle, but we suggest regrouping with your posse before you get in line and then entering the maze together.
On a related topic, check your speed before you get in the maze. Don’t rear end the skiers in front of you or ski onto their boards. Nobody likes that.
Mistake #6: Dropping your Poles Off the Lift
This seems to be a kid mistake. Both of our boys did it when they were young (whether intentionally or unintentionally, we could never tell) and its a bummer for everyone. First, the falling pole could hit someone. Second, the pole inevitably falls onto an inaccessible rocky ledge or into closed terrain.
While I’ve never dropped a pole off a lift, I have released cameras, one phone and several gloves off the chairlift. No matter what’s falling, it’s a bummer.
Mistake #7: Skiing With Too Much Stoke
My dear, dear sons dedicate this “rookie mistake” to me, citing my early morning fall and injury at Lake Louise last March.
They’re right. I was flying, high on caffeine, adrenaline and joy. I was checking out the view, while hauling ass on an icy World Cup downhill run. While I don’t accept that I got what I deserved, I do own that my accident was caused by operator error.
So I accept their suggestions to ratchet back the stoke and ski according to my ability, and appropriate to the conditions, on any given day.
While it’s oh-so-fun to let the stoke take over, the stoke doesn’t have my back.
It turns out, however, that my sons do.
More From Teens:
- Skiing Purgatory With Teens (Or Toddlers), December 16, 2015.
- Skiing Snowmass With Teens, March 2, 2015.
- Hard Truths About Skiing with Teens. And Some Good News, Too. March 12, 2014.
- Parenting Teens: Off the Couch and Into the Outdoors, July 8, 2013.
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