It doesn’t matter whether you and your kids have skied together forever, or you’re just getting started, skiing – and snowboarding – can sometimes seem overwhelming.
While everyone can agree that skiing is fun, the logistics of getting everyone (and everything) organized, out the door and onto the chairlift can tax even the most patient parents.
While skiing can seem to require the organizational abilities of a general and the patience of a saint, it doesn’t have to.
It’s all a matter of organization and attitude.
Organize to Simplify
When our oldest son was six, he started ski racing and we joined a ski carpool.
On day one, a harried father returned our son to our door, carrying an unzipped duffel bag filled to bursting in one hand and two sweaty junior ski boots in the other. Our son was behind him dragging his skis and poles.
“Hey, I don’t mean to criticize, but do you think that you could maybe get a bag that will hold all of his stuff for next week?”
BEST. ADVICE. EVER.
Now we each have a dedicated ski bag. Everything we need for skiing (except, of course, skis and poles) fits into this bag, boots and helmet included. We repack these bags after every outing and store our gear in them.
Because we can “grab and go,” no one ever shows up without ski pants or sunscreen and we avoid countless family arguments.
What Families Want
I think that most families want three things out of a ski day or vacation.
Kids have schedules, parents have schedules and at home it can be hard to find a moment of peace when no one is busy.
Skiing provides families with something unique: a full day of togetherness, on the lift, on the slopes and at lunchtime. Even the commute to and from the resort can be turned into shared, quality time.
What you don’t want during a ski day is endless haggling, fighting, whining or crying.
With two strong-willed boys, we’ve found that it is sometimes better to divide and conquer.
Although we all want to be together, there are days when our energy, skills and desires don’t match up. So we pair up and make a plan to reunite after a couple of runs or at lunch.
Sometimes a little separation makes for better togetherness.
Time to Relax
Family time should be a break in the routine, a time separate and sacred, for hanging out, reconnecting and learning more about each other.
Ideally, every ski day should be as stress free as possible. So plan to make it that way.
Buy your lift passes in advance and pick up your rentals the night before, so that you don’t have to brave long morning lines when everyone is excited to ski.
Prepare your kids for lessons before you arrive at the resort. Talk about where they will be and what they’ll be doing. Visit the children’s center before the first lesson. Look in, say hi, and get your child oriented.
Take some time to research the non-skiing fun at the resort. While you don’t have to plan everything out, it’s good to know what’s available so that no one is disappointed.
Stories to Share
Stories are our family memories and touchstones. They’re what keep us connected when we’re back to driving that darn carpool and fixing dinner on the fly.
These stories may be as simple as laughing about launching big in the park, racing through the gates, or sharing hot chocolate at the end of a snowy day.
Or maybe some stories come from the spaces between skiing: playing princess in a snow castle and ruling from an icy throne, or the uncontrolled joy of a speeding inner tube.
No matter where your family stories take root, taking the time to pack ahead and plan ahead will simplify family skiing and make it more fun and more memorable.
- Hard Truths About Skiing With Teens. And Some Good News, Too. March, 12, 2014.
- No Regret Parenting, September 9, 2013.
- When Your Kids Don’t Share Your Passion, August 12, 2013.
- Parenting Teens: Off the Couch and Into the Outdoors, July 8, 2013.
- Our Child Doesn’t Want to Ski. What Should We Try? February 27, 2013.
- How A Ski Accident Changed Our Lives, January 21, 2013.
© 2014 – 2017, braveskimom. All rights reserved. Any use or publication of content, including photos, requires express permission.