Getting to the ski resorts as a family isn’t always a picnic. After all, there’s gear to gather and pack, snacks and water to stockpile in numerous backpacks, and kids to wrangle. And that’s all by the crack of dawn.
So why endure the hassle of ski season with kiddos?
Because, as many Colorado parents will tell you, it’s about so much more than skiing or boarding; it’s also about spending time as a family. With busy day-to-day lives of jobs, homework and technology, there’s often little time for family bonding.
“The early years, when we were hauling kids’ ski gear and diaper bags to the ski resort, were challenging,” says Megan Williams, mom to two daughters, 9 and 12. “But the pay-off was so worth it. We now spend virtually all of our ski days together from the first run through the last.”
For our family, skiing together helps avoid cabin fever while also getting the Vitamin D we’re often lacking during winter months. I also know that if my two boys are tired from skiing, they may also be too tired to fight with each other. (They still manage.)
Here are a few other reasons local families say they cherish experiencing ski season with their children.
A day outdoors is a day without technology. “What other activity do we do as a family, that has us together and doing the same thing for the entire day—all without electronics?” Williams says. “Most of the time, when we are skiing together as a family, we love this! We are all engaged with one another and not with a screen.”
Ski weekends can feel like a mini-vacation. “We go up for several weekends with our good friends whose son is a year younger than ours, and all of us look forward to these weekends of skiing, swimming/hot tub, games and fun,” says mom Jennifer Anton (whose son is 10). She and her husband work stressful, full-time jobs, she says, so heading to the slopes with friends is a welcome respite throughout winter. “Overall the key is that we spend many fun weekends in the mountains. Every winter, I look forward to riding the lift with my son and hearing him say, ‘I love skiing with you, Mommy.’”
Travel time is still together time. There’s no getting around the fact that driving to the slopes can be tedious. Many parents simply see that as more time to bond with their kids. “Lots of interesting discussions, family jokes, and even hours of just looking out the window at the beautiful mountains happen while we are in the car on the way to the ski slopes,” Williams says.
Ski season can cultivate family traditions. Every Saturday her family doesn’t have a birthday party or nasty weather, she is heading to the slopes with her husband and 10-year-old daughter, says another Colorado mom. “We have a tradition of stopping at the Starbucks in Boulder for breakfast, and then we head for the mountains sipping on hot cocoa and coffee, and munching on pumpkin bread or a muffin,” she says. She and her daughter always meet up with Dad for lunch—he boards while they ski—and then it’s back home by Saturday evening. “We love it,” she says of the winter routine. “We end up with eight solid hours of good family time every Saturday possible in the winter.”
Even the worst ski day is still a good day. “Not every day is a great day on the slopes,” Williams says. “There are days that are too cold, too crowded, difficult conditions, or when one of us doesn’t feel 100 percent. Even in those days, we still are together and learn that it’s OK to have a day that isn’t perfect, and still find something to delight in and enjoy. It’s a good life lesson.”
Freelance writer Heather Mundt is a Colorado native from Longmont who didn’t learn to ski until her late 20s. Now she spends ski season barely keeping up with her husband and two boys. Read more about her family’s travel adventures at www.momfari.com or read more of Heather’s skiing stories here.