January is “Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month”. With decades of spectacular family ski trip memories, I encourage parents to introduce their kids to skiing/snowboarding in 2018. While many parents wait until their children enter kindergarten, my two youngest sons were three years old when they rode their first chairlift to the Summit House at Keystone Resort. Most family vacations require planning a detailed itinerary. Ski vacations are easier because they revolve around preset outdoor activities. Electronic devices are temporarily put away while beginners learn a new skill that can last a lifetime.
Here are six things your family stands to gain when you embark on a 2018 ski/snowboard family trip:
Love of Outdoors
A child’s sense of wonder is turned on by the majesty of mountain ranges. Exposure to this ecosystem will increase awareness of nature and ecology. Children will want to explore and learn more about alpine life. Some may fall in love with the mountains and ask to come back in the summer — be prepared!
Children need to be encouraged to try unfamiliar things and occasionally break away from their daily routine. Individuals who are continually challenged by novel experiences will be less likely to become bored and more motivated to engage in new activities. This willingness to step outside of one’s comfort zone will lead to more confidence.
In addition to skiing and snowboarding, resorts offer a lot of outdoor activities. High-energy kids may gravitate to more intense sports like snowshoeing and skating while others may prefer tobogganing, tubing, sledding, sitting in a horse-drawn sleigh, or roasting marshmallows alongside a blazing campfire. Children and adults tend to feel more invigorated when they maintain an active lifestyle.
Plant the Seeds for a Lifetime Sport
Ski/Snowboarding schools offer private and group lessons for children and adults. Beginners can work at their own pace on easier runs while intermediate and advanced skiers can ski or snowboard on more demanding slopes. From season to season, family members will continue to improve their skills and find more opportunities to be together as a family. Decades later, grandparents, parents, and grandchildren can plan intergenerational ski and snowboard trips that will add to family traditions.
Taking Responsibility for Personal Safety
The possibility of an accident should not be discounted. An error in judgment, unpredictable weather conditions, or a serious medical situation could turn a fabulous ski day into an unexpected nightmare. Kids will become more accountable for their actions. They will learn the value of wearing a helmet, paying attention to their fellow skiers, the importance of staying hydrated, and listening to their body’s warning signals.
The best part of a family ski trip is the shared experiences. To this day, I can recall snippets from our Colorado ski adventures. I’ll never forget my sons’ first “wow” expressions when we drove up I-70 into the mountains or their desire to “show off” their acquired skills. Their confidence grew as they progressed from one level to the next at the ski school. Our family spent countless hours swooshing down the runs and sharing quality time eating meals together on the mountain and elsewhere. Now and again, there would be a few tears. But, the hearty smiles and joyful laughter are forever associated with our family ski trips.
Have ski trips made a difference to your family? Share your experiences with us in the comments.