The winter after my daughter was born, memories of pre-baby days on the slopes still fresh in my mind, I actually bought a season pass, thinking I could zip off to the ski area with ease. Not a chance. Little did I know that I’d spend my days driving the nap mobile and nights in a nursing rocker, delirious with sleep deprivation. I emerged from the baby cave to go skiing only a handful of times that first winter, and I recall getting a phone call from the mountain nursery about 30 minutes into my first taste of temporary freedom to retrieve my screaming bundle of joy.
Despite feeling that babyhood would last forever, I now know that days turn into years without notice. Entrenched in the routine of parenthood, work and school deadlines loom. We need to make it to soccer practice, finish that math assignment, and get to bed on time. It would be easy to let the daily tasks of taking care of a family consume calendar page after calendar page, but the memories of floating through shin-deep powder or hearing my skis zip over perfectly groomed lines of white corduroy lingered in my consciousness. They made me realize I want my kids to know the thrill and camaraderie of sharing a day on the slopes, the anticipation of new fallen snow that blankets the world white, the exhilaration of perfect turns on skis.
Sharing that anticipation with the kids has ensured that they want to make the ski day happen just as much as we do. After giving our son a trail map and a highlighter to mark the trails he’s been on, he made it his personal mission to make it down every run on the mountain before the end of the year.
Opportunities for trips to Trader Joe’s and scrubbing crayon off the bathroom walls will still present themselves, but as the kids fly through their grade school years, the chances to giggle on the chairlift about our last escapade through the Stickney Glades won’t always be there. In making family time at the mountain a priority, sometimes we have to decline an invitation to a sugar-filled birthday party at the local playplace. That's OK because the pride in my son’s voice after conquering the bumps on Agassiz is a much sweeter reward. The pile of clean laundry can also wait. The glow on my daughter’s face after a race down Deception Bowl leaves us with meaningful memories that trump neatly folded clothes any day.