Outdoor Dad’s brother, Brian, and his family came for a visit from upstate New York last weekend, and I observed with interest the new stage of life they are entering into with a sweet 11 year-old daughter. They confided that there was some question as to how enthusiastic their daughter would be in doing anything with her parents, let alone skiing. But if Anya was reluctant to spend time on the slopes with her parents, I never saw it. She was often one of the first ones to don her ski gear in the morning and was game for any trail we suggested.
Although we always have fun together as a family, this year’s ski trip visit seemed to fall into place so much more easily than other years, and I think it is because of the new stages in life the kids are at. Our young ones now have the ability and stamina to spend an entire day at the resort, without the need for naps or short attention spans. We did take some runs on the bunny hill to warm up, but everyone was eager to explore new terrain on the upper mountain this year.
We giggled as we explored Granny’s Grit while heavy wet snow covered our tracks behind us. We cheered each other on as we rolled over the soft bumps for their first-ever glade run on Black Forest. We glided down Two Miles Home to the Telegraph T-Bar and enjoyed the fire at the Stickney Cabin.
Anya’s mother was genuinely grateful when she told me, “It was so great to have all of us out on the slopes together.”
With a five and seven year-old, I can see that we’re entering a golden age now where the kids love to spend time with Mom and Dad, and although there are certainly squabbles about which trail we choose or who gets to sit next to whom on the chairlift, the kids are happy to be together and haven’t gotten to the stage where it’s not cool to hang with the parents. It was reassuring this weekend to see that something like skiing could bring together different ages and abilities.
Skiing can certainly be a solitary sport, but friends and family make it a communal experience. Depending on the stage of life a family is experiencing, that communal experience can morph – from those baby cave days, to mom and dad are my super hero days, to not wanting anything to do with parents, and back hopefully, full-circle, to cherishing those moments riding a chairlift together or stopping at the bottom of a run to recap our falls and foibles, our cheers and triumphs.