Like most people, I have multiple roles in life. I’m a mom, a wife, a daughter, a writer and many, many other things.
But from the time the first snow flies to the time the last snows melt, my priorities change.
I’m a skier.
Why I Ski
Pure Joy. Last season, one of my sons asked me why I smile when I ski. It’s easy: I smile because skiing gives me joy. I love the freedom, the speed, and the rush of linking giant turns on corduroy. I also love the feeling of finally mastering a mogul run that’s bedeviled me. I like everything about skiing, really, I do.
Challenge. I also love the mental and physical challenge of skiing. Skiing is both cerebral and mindless. While you have to think about what you’re doing in order to improve, the turns come best when the mind is off. It’s a subtle balance; thinking, but not over thinking as I push myself on new terrain.
Physically, skiing is good for me: my heart, my lungs and my legs. For me, whether I’m on alpine or nordic gear, it’s the most enjoyable way to get exercise during the winter.
Family Time. Before we had kids, my husband and I did a lot of talking on chairlifts. We planned, we dreamed, and sometimes we just sat quietly with the sun warming our faces.
We still do those things, but now, instead of a duo, we’re a high speed quad. Riding the lifts with our children gives us an insight into their worlds and their minds.
Friend Time. Skiing can be highly social. It’s a perfect way to spend time with friends. We don’t have to all ski or ride at the same level, but for a good girls’ day out, we do need to be ready to chat, to laugh and to enjoy a good lunch.
Skiing takes us away from our responsibilities and, even better, from our cell phones. It’s the perfect six-hour escape.
Nature’s Beauty. Do you ever stand at the top of a ski resort and feel like you’ll never see anything so beautiful again? I do.
And no matter how many times, I’ve seen the same view, it’s never the same. The light on the mountains, the drifting clouds, the depth of color that changes as the season progresses, I can’t get enough of mountain views and mountain air.
Skiing is Good For My Family, Too
For all of the reasons skiing is good for me, I think it’s also good for my family. We started our kids young, and we started them in lessons, so that none of us would have to carry extra emotional baggage.
I know myself. I’m not that patient when there’s snow to be skied.
Luckily, the boys took to skiing like they took to breathing air. And while I appreciate the exercise they’re getting, the unplugged time in the outdoors and the time they spend with their friends ripping and hucking, I also love that they enjoy being with us.
Skiing is where we’ve made lots of memories. Photos from ski days, ski races and ski vacations fill our photo albums and flash drives.
And these memories bond us together.
Keeping the Ski Passion Alive
You don’t have to be a lifelong skier to enjoy snowsports. And even life long skiers can get burned out. So how do I keep my passion for all things snow alive?
Add to the Challenge. No matter what level you ski or ride, take a lesson. Purposefully learn some new skills, whether it’s how to ski intermediate moguls or how to race giant slalom gates. If you’ve always alpine skied, try tele or snowboard this winter. Or learn how to ride rails or jump in the park.
Find New Friends. Skiing is always more fun with friends and family. But sometimes they can’t get away for a ski day. Most resorts have women’s days and clinics. These are perfect places to find like-minded and like-skilled friends. Try one.
No Excuses. There are a lot of reasons I’ve heard explaining why friends have given up snowsports. Each one can be easily solved, if you want to solve it.
“I don’t like the cold.” Dress appropriately and warmly. Layer up with wool baselayers and don’t forget the handwarmers. Plus, don’t be a hero. If you’re cold, go inside and warm up!
“I don’t want to get hurt.” Be in shape before ski season starts. The stronger you are, the less your body will ache after days one, two and three. Be smart. Wear a helmet. Don’t ski too fast or beyond your ability. Be aware of where you are on the mountain and don’t stop in blind spots.
“It’s too expensive.” This one is a bit more tricky, because skiing is expensive. But you can find deals.
Choose smaller, less well-known resorts for your day trips and vacations. Buy a season pass that lets you ski at other mountains. If your kids are in 5th or 6th grade, look into the many programs that offer them free skiing. Check for discount tickets at the gas station and supermarket.
“It’s too much work.” Usually, this means the preparation and logistics of skiing are too much work, not the skiing itself. Plan ahead, pack ahead and develop a consistent routine. I promise, with practice and time, it gets so much easier!
Why do you love to ski? How does it benefit you and your family? How do you keep your enthusiasm going year after year?
- Empowerment 101: No One Cares That I Tele — Except Me, September 7, 2010.
- Kids Speak Out: What Makes a Good Ski Day, January 13, 2014.
- Overcoming the Enemies of Fun Family Skiing, November 20, 2013.
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