While packing for our first family ski trip this season, I pondered, "Why did we introduce our kids to such a gear-intensive, expensive, and weather-dependent, sport?" Hauling the family out of bed before dawn, lugging skis and heavy boot bags, bundling up for frigid temps; it's a ton of work. Sleeping in on weekends would be far easier.
But we taught our kids to ski at a young age, as our parents did us, and the ski fever was epidemic. And when I am tripping over ski bags in the hallways, I am reminded of all the heavenly ski trips our family has shared. Skiing is not just a sport, a mere winter activity, skiing is a state of mind. Standing atop a snow-covered mountaintop together is one of life's last escapes from electronic assault. We are carving turns in our own time continuum, skiing in formation away from Facebook and trivial texts. I rarely feel as connected to my kids as I do when we disconnect and just ski. We all have our favorite trails - the kids prefer terrain parks over my perfect groomer or my husband's off-piste path - but we are having parallel experiences (pardon the turn of phrase). We are active, engaged, and the endorphins are pumping throughout the family blood stream.
Teaching the kids to make pizza pies and eventual French fries was trying at times, but now they rip, and the rigors on the bunny slope are mere memory. What remains etched in our image banks are snowy runs on Stowe's Starr, spotting Amos the Moose at Sugarloaf, and carving early morning cord at Sunday River. I wouldn't trade all the white sand beaches in the Caribbean for our ski days -even those that were lean on powder - more hard pack and frost bite.
Besides, my kids think I am pretty cool on winter weekends, much more fun than Monday thru Friday Mom. Grab your gear, and your kids, and go find some snow.
Eric Wilbur is a lifelong recreational skier who spends most of his winter and spring in the mountains of New England. He does not ski in jeans. You can read more of Eric's work here.
Heather Burke is an award winning ski journalist with over a decade of ski news coverage. As a former ski instructor and a ski parent, she knows the ski biz from the inside out. She and her family visit New England ski resorts, as well as the West and Canada, to report on the latest trends and their best family finds. Her husband Greg takes all the accompanying photos, and their work can be seen at www.familyskitrips.com and www.luxuryskitrips.com.