Hanging in my home office are photos of the past. Powder skiing, summit celebrations, and traverses over knife-edged ridges. These photos are constant reminders of challenging and fun-filled adventures with my close friends, around the world. The Alps, Andes, Cascades, and more.
Slowly piling up in small frames, next to Paw Patrol scribbles of red, yellow, blue, pink and green crayons are new memories that have recently been made. For the last two years, my personal definition for adventuring has changed. And with that, I’ve found myself changing as well.
The change has been difficult to process at times. Having children can add a new perspective on things…on life. For me, I had to come to the realization that my days of dangling from rope and jumping crevasses weren’t going to happen as often as they used to. Still, there’s a tremendous amount of excitement watching your own children grow into loving what you do. Joy is found in watching them hike the trails, climb rocks, scrape their knees and learn to ski.
"It’s reassuring knowing that as we continue to grow up, ourselves, we’ll always be able to run to the the mountains and feel like kids again"
As we’re wrapping up our first “true” ski season with our son (3), I’m proud to say that 13 days were completed on skis. Starting him last year (2), it was important for him to just get used to walking in ski boots and feeling somewhat comfortable on skis. This year, he’s one of the countless little rippers on the mountains these days, all cruising up the ‘magic carpets’ and finding their way down the hill. I find myself consistently being asked the same questions about my mini me; “How old is he?” “Has he taken lessons?” “He’s not afraid of the chairlift?” In effort to address those questions to the readers of this blog, I’ll offer how we enjoy our days on the mountain, as a family.
- Make it fun. Your patience will be tested time and time again. Keeping your head and making it an experience will allow the little ones to appreciate it. If it’s not fun for them, they won’t want to go. Can you blame them?
- Be prepared for tears. A lot of them. Let’s face it, toddlers are unpredictable so even if it’s going well, be ready for it not to. Crying will undoubtedly be a part of your day; you’ll know it’s a success if they’re crying when it’s time to go home.
- Take breaks. Yes, it’s expensive and it may seem natural to try to maximize your time on the mountain. But they’re little and they need time to chill. Let them know in advance that breaks will be taken after a couple of runs. They look forward to it and you will too.
- Have snacks. Fill your pockets and your packs. Snacks go a long way, regardless of where you’re going with a toddler.
- Make it fun (Its worth saying twice!). Iron some patches to their jacket, cover their helmet in stickers, or have them ski with their “stuffies”. Invest in the experience.
Adventure has taken on a new meaning for our family. I’ve found that I don’t have to scale high peaks or ski steeps to benefit from the outdoors. That’s not me saying I don’t have a passion for that anymore. But, for the time being, a broken stick made into a rocket launcher, dirt-covered fruit snacks or a marshmallow-filled ski day will do just fine.
I’m definitely not the type of person to give parenting advance but let me just offer this: Take your children outside and have fun doing it.