There are many things my children have done which I have never felt compelled to participate in. First, there was ballet. And well, tutus never flattered me anyway. Then they tried gymnastics and I had already been there, done that, had the groin pulls to prove it. Cheerleading? Negative. Although I have seen “parent cheer teams,” I think this is one sport best left to the young (and fast-healing).
For the most part I have been a happy spectator for their extra-curricular pursuits, cheering enthusiastically from the sidelines. Until they took up skiing, that is.
For the first time my children were participating in something that made me feel I was missing out. I missed spending time with them, I missed seeing them reach new goals, and I missed the laughter and the inside jokes. My husband was a life-long skier, and when he started taking our girls to the ski hill, I officially felt like an outsider in my own family. I hated it.
I couldn’t just easily take up skiing because I had a deep fear of it. An irrational, “don’t-try-to-convince-me-with-logical-arguments” fear. As is my way, when faced with a fear I don’t really feel the need to conquer it. I manage to live a fairly fulfilling life without heading out crocodile hunting, so why the need to wrangle land-monsters or you know, master skiing? But something kept pulling at me; something larger than my fear. Try as I might, I couldn’t shut the damn thing up. And when I listened to the voice, it had a few pretty good reasons to learn to ski:
Learning to Ski Modeled Determination for My Children
First and foremost, my decision to pick up skiing was to show my girls it could be done. I don’t ever want them to let fears hold them back (unless it’s crocodile hunting, because that’s just stupid). While it won’t be skiing for them, maybe it’ll be public speaking, or mountain climbing, or changing career paths. I shared my fears of skiing with them, and on occasion I even let it shine through on the hill. But still I persevered. If I had quit, I’d have sent the wrong message and there was no way I was going to let that happen. Ski or bust my friend, ski or bust.
Skiing is a True Family Sport
A lot of the sports my children participate in are team sports which naturally exclude parents from participation. Not so with skiing. We are involved in the process with them from start to finish which means lots and lots of family time. Last year I was able to be right beside them cheering them on and wiping their tears. They in return cheered me on and wiped a few of my tears. I am by no means a pro yet, and occasionally the girls would head off to more challenging slopes while I would remain on my trusty green circle approved beginner hills. We would then meet up at the bottom and exchange stories on another run up the lift. And who knew five minutes on a chair lift could be so revealing? If you think getting your kids in a car gets them talking, throw them on a ski lift with you when the alternative to chatter is a 150 foot drop into a tangled mass of large pine trees.
Winter is Long in Canada
Like really long. Like agonizingly, freakishly long. Last year we had our first snow fall on November 1st and it stuck around like a bad smell until the end of March. That’s five full months of shoveling driveways and cleaning cars; five full months of flannel pajamas and thick socks. It’s also a very long five months if you’re not getting outside to enjoy it. Cabin fever is a real thing; trust me. Getting outside for winter activities including skating, snowshoeing and skiing shows our kids that there is no need to avoid the outdoors, almost ever. If you dress appropriately and have a crock pot of hot cocoa waiting at home, you can handle anything winter throws at you.
Skiing is a Sport With Longevity
My first ski instructor was almost 70 years old. SEVENTY!! I’m fairly confident he was a life-long skier but watching him on the hill inspired me. After all, at 44 I was a spring chicken compared to this guy and if he was still skiing that meant that I could be doing that too. While admittedly I suffered a few bumps and bruises my first year, I definitely feel like skiing is easier on my body than running. I can see myself swooshing down slopes much longer than I see myself running up them. Added bonus: I get to use the word “swooshing” now. It’s a seriously addictive word. Watching their parents and people much, much older than their parents zipping down hills, shows my children that physical activity is a life-long pursuit. I hope I get to model that for their children.
Skiing Opens Up New Travel Destinations
Winter used to mean finding the hottest destination we could escape to for a vacation. Now we’re looking at holidays in British Columbia, Alberta, Utah and Colorado. Frankly, I wouldn’t have glanced sideways at these destinations pre-skiing. This year they actually trump a beach holiday. Who am I? I should have suspected something like this would happen when I married a skier. For my girls, this means they’ll get to see new exciting places with their family, and there is nothing better than that.