The December issue of SKI magazine features an article by former US Ski Team member and two-time Olympian Edie Thys Morgan called “How to Raise a Skier.” Edie writes about the family skiing “Ahhh Moment”: That moment when suddenly the exhaustion and frustration of trying to get kids skiing, turns into a realization that the kids are, in fact, skiing! It is the moment for which we brave ski moms and dads live. The moment when we realize that we are skiing as a family and everyone is having fun. Too bad I can’t remember it.
I tried to remember it. I really did. When did we realize that our dream of skiing as a family had become the reality of skiing as a family? Was there a definitive instance when it all clicked? Short of making up some sort of vignette in my mind just so I can claim an “Ahhh Moment”, I was coming up blank.
What I did begin remembering where the “Uh-Oh Moments”, as in “Uh-Oh, I have the three-year-old with me on this run, but where did the five-year-old go?” (That “Uh-Oh Moment” was resolved after 20 minutes of me calling said five-year-old’s name, skiing slowing down the slope, following every rabbit trail in and out of the trees, only to find him happily waiting at the lift line having “skied the trees” all the way down. Finding him that day was a “Whew! Moment.”)
A few years later the “Uh-Oh Moment” changed from one of “I have lost the children” or “That boy is going too fast…watch out!” to “Uh Oh, I am having a hard time keeping up with these kids, when did they get so good?” I had two definitive “Uh-Oh Moments” in this vein last year.
The first came at Snowmass. We were making laps on Hanging Valley Wall, and yes, I will admit it, I was getting tired. After the third or fourth run, one of our boys turned to me and said, “Will you guys quit following me? I don’t want to lead, because I am tired of waiting for you at the bottom.” We had to gently tell him, while trying to preserve our parental dignity that we were not following him, but desperately trying to keep up with him. While that should have made him happy, I am pretty sure he just shook his head in disgusted wonder (wonder as in “I wonder why my parents are so lame?”)
The second “Uh-Oh Moment” came at the end of the season when my husband proudly told me that his skiing had improved tremendously because he was purposefully following our son’s line turn-for-turn. And I had thought that he following behind because he was worn-out, just like me. Double Uh-Oh.
This season, we are having a completely new sort of “Uh-Oh Moment.” For the first time ever, both of our boys want to take up a winter sport that interferes with our skiing schedule. In the past, the boys played hockey, but the schedule was such that they could play during the week and ski on weekends. This year, basketball is in vogue with one boy having a Saturday game and one boy having a Sunday game. For eight weeks, my husband and I will be tag-teaming, with one parent attending basketball one day and the other parent skiing with one boy that same day. Switch days. Switch boys. Repeat.
This will be an adjustment for me, for I really love family ski days. Those are truly my “Ahhh Moments.” Those days when we are all together, in our zone, skiing, laughing, getting irritated on the chairlift (for I would be lying if I said that didn’t happen) and sharing stories on the ride home. Ahhh.
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