Carving out time for Christmas


Families that ski find themselves juggling holiday gift-giving and stuffing stockings while making their Christmas ski plans. The kids expect to do the Santa stuff, but parents are eager to hit the road and head for the snow-covered hills.

Growing up by the slopes of Smugglers’ Notch in Vermont, we kept things simple. Our annual gift was our season pass and on Christmas morning we skied. My brothers and I knew Mom would want first tracks – no slackers, no extended unwrapping sessions in our pajamas. As I look back, I think that was a fantastic tradition; there were few skiers on the slopes on Christmas day which made it all the more special.


Raising our own kids, we didn’t live mountainside, so we made our own traditions, which often included skiing before and during Christmas Day, and beating the holiday hustle to the hills that occurs from Dec. 26 through New Year’s. We have found that Santa would find us wherever we skied. His magical stockings made their way to our condo filled with hand warmers and hot cocoa packets, chocolate bars and chapstick. The elves were admittedly organized, and they must have shared our travel schedule with Cupid and the Easter Bunny who also found us slopeside with Valentine candies and Peeps later in the season.

So as you’re packing the SUV on Christmas Eve, and are perhaps light on presents, remember that the best gift is the time you carve out for your family. Your kids won?t remember ripping open another video game years from now, but they will remember ripping turns on fresh snow with you on Christmas morn.

Photo by Greg Burke For more of Heather’s family ski tips go to

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