The family ski holiday

We are a skiing family. Rephrase: my husband and I love to ski, and are therefore making our children learn the sport. Our daughter likes it:

Avery and I tackle a nice green cruiser at Sunshine Village.

Our son? Not quite ready to embrace slick planks on slippery snow. Maybe next year. At least he likes the gondola:

A cry-free moment during the family ski trip.

Our early forays as a skiing family rated high on hassle and low on satisfaction. On one incredibly long, New Year’s Eve afternoon drive to Fernie, hubby and I contemplated opening the 12-pack of Heineken to help us cope with the crying and whining (and the blaring Barney DVD) coming from the back seat. On another trip, to Sunshine Village, we almost left after one night on the mountain because our son woke up hourly throughout the night and cried inconsolably when we dropped him off at the on-hill daycare. I wrote about the experience, good and bad, for the Calgary Herald

Yes, it takes dedication, sweat and many, many tears to make the family ski trip a reality, especially during the early years. In this humorous New York Times Travel story, writer David Carr outlines the numerous obstacles: the gear, the drive, the painful learning curve when young children try new things. He also points out the main benefits: the unbeatable feeling of flying down a mountain on skis and watching your kids do the same with huge smiles. Skiing with kids is a thrill.

There’s also the bonding that takes place over hot chocolate in the day lodge to warm up frozen fingers, and the anticipation of taking off the ski boots and stepping into a hot tub at the end of the day. And of course, there’s the apres ski to ease the pain of sore muscles and the guilt over dumping the bawling son at daycare — and to forget that tomorrow brings a three-hour drive back home.

A bit of apres-ski, Fernie-style.

 We’re already planning a couple of this year’s ski trips, to Fernie over New Year’s and to Marmot Basin in Jasper National Park a week later. Wish us luck, patience, success on the slopes and a happy apres ski. We’ll need it, and a really, really long Barney DVD for both drives.

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