By James Lummis
Not surprisingly, my teenage sons have become better skiers than me.
For twelve years, we’ve been skiing as a family of four. During this time, we conquered the bunny slopes, Buddy Werner ski league and USSA training and race days. During this time, I learned how to tune skis, slip racecourses and be a race starter. I also learned how to find great lodging deals, convenient parking spots at different resorts, and the best ways to feed a family of four (check out the Butcher’s Block in Aspen).
I also witnessed advancement. I watched as my sons went from Edgy-Wedgy assisted pizza turns to the hula-hoop assisted break method. We moved onto french fry bombs minus edgy-wedgy and piles of snow, skis and poles. Then it was free skiing with groups of 6 year olds, Sunday afternoon GS races and USSA races with hundreds of boys and girls waiting in the start house atop International at Crested Butte to launch down icy hard pack looking for a Junior Olympic spot.
During this progress and the endless march of ski seasons, the boys’ skis got longer, and I quickly realized I’d have to push harder to stay ahead. I could see what was coming: bigger and stronger sons, faster and steeper pitches, double blacks and extremes. The boys would and did get better, launching past me in speed, skill and technique. The boys became better skiers than their dad.
My best days now are when I ski behind the boys and try to pick up some of their technique. I’m inspired by the excellent line choices my oldest son makes, trained by watching the big mountain ski films he consumes like I consume cookies. I’m inspired by the quick and effortless speed checks my younger son makes in bumps. It’s like having a ski instruction DVD to follow on every run. It is my joy to say that my boys are better skiers than me. I am a proud parent, sharing my ski days with friends, who are also my family.
Even when we’re not skiing together, I love seeing them from the lift, as they crush a slope below the chair. When I ski with my kids, I smile, noting that thanks to them, I’m a better skier than I might have been, even if I’m not as good as them.
Yes, I am good with my sons being better skiers than me. And no matter how well you ski, your day will come, too. And that’s just how it should be.