I heard a story from my mom the other day that I’d never heard before, and it connected a lot of dots for me in terms of how I came to love skiing. Turns out, my mom planted the seed that made our family’s love of skiing blossom.
The story went like this…When my parents were very first married, it was my mom who decided she and my dad would learn to ski, having both grown up in Ohio, skiing was not nearly as accessible as it is today for my kids growing up in Colorado.
So, as the story went, my mom said she went out and bought some really expensive boots for my dad, a really expensive jacket, really expensive pants, and really expensive bindings, and for skis, she bought some El cheepos out of a barrel of random mismatched skis, because she had been told to invest in boots and everything else, but don’t invest in skis until you know you’ll like the sport.
And sure enough, my dad took to skiing like a fish to water. He picked it up quick, mastered the skills, and actually skied on those old mismatched sticks for years. My mom, on the other hand, took to skiing like a cat to water, timid, sketchy, jumpy, but yet she looked every bit the part, which to her was mission accomplished. (With every sport my mom has picked up, she dove in with both feet and amassed the current and essential gear and clothing, necessary (or unnecessary) accessories, and importantly, lessons.)
Upon hearing this story, it occurred to me that if it wasn’t for my mom, my parents probably wouldn’t have learned to ski. And if my parent’s never learned to ski, my brother and I likely wouldn’t have ever learned to ski.
Arguably, more than any other sport, skiing and snowboarding are largely introduced to kids by their parents. Parents taking the time to get their kids into skiing is what is keeping our industry going.
My parents left Ohio and moved to Minnesota. Living in Minnesota, skiing was only slightly more accessible than when they lived in Ohio. But in Minnesota, skiing became a centerpiece of activity to do with friends, unlike in Ohio where it was the source for much confusion among acquaintances. You did what? With your kids? Really? Why would you want to do that? Wasn’t it cold? And what’s the point again?
I don’t know what came first, the friends or the ski trips, but my parents became part of this group we now refer to as the Minnesota Crowd. Probably 8-10 couples, who each year would organize a ski trip somewhere. Now this was in the 70s mind you, so skiing was booming, especially out west in places like Colorado, and my parents were right there riding the wave all the way in the mid-west.
They would go to Wisconsin, New York, Michigan, and eventually, started going out west for their ski trips. The first place my parents skied out west was Winter Park, where they stopped for an afternoon on their way to Snowmass. After they came to Colorado once, it was hard to go anywhere else. They kept coming back.
Thanks to my mom, my parent’s were skiers, and thanks to my parents, I became a skier, and as a parent, I have introduced our kids to skiing. Once in a while, we’ll have a ski weekend like my parent’s used to with the Minnesota Crowd, but mostly we ski as a family.
Travel experts agree that in most households, the mother makes the travel plans. It’s certainly true in our house, at least with skiing. I’m the one who mostly instigates our outings, plans our day trips, and coordinates our ski weekends.
A couple years ago, my parent’s came with us on a ski trip to Crested Butte. On the slopes one day I realized we had three generations of female skiers together.
All thanks to mom. Happy Mother’s Day mom! Thanks for giving me the love of skiing.