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Winter Tradition: Family Ski Trips to Colorado

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I glanced out the window as the first snowflakes began to fall. Within no time, the grass was consumed by white and the house next door was partially obscured by increasing amounts of falling snow. I stood motionless as I recalled other first snowfalls. Immediately, one in particular came to mind.

Colorado Rockies Keystone, Colorado

Colorado Rockies
Keystone, Colorado

It was years ago when our third son was only two and our fourth son had yet to be born. Jumping up and down, our toddler yelled, “It’s snowing! It’s snowing! Time to go skiing.”

It was only mid-October, months before our next family ski trip. Time was meaningless to a small tike. Yet our son’s desire to ski was clearly evident. He knew that he needed to be toilet trained in order to join his two older brothers at ski school. Within a matter of days, this tedious process was mastered. I was shocked. I wish that my other sons had been as motivated. Now, I needed to forestall the inevitable recurring question, “When are we going skiing?”

My husband and I had taken ski trips before we had children. Childbirth and child rearing put many of our “couple pleasures” on hold. When our two eldest sons were 5 and 7 and our youngest was a baby, we planned our first family ski trip. What an expedition!

 How to Choose a Family Ski Trip Destination

Choosing a destination required some research. Many questions needed to be answered.

  • Which resorts were the most child friendly, affordable, and relatively easy to reach?
  • What were the childcare and ski school options?
  • Were the facilities licensed?
  • Was the lodging nearby?
  • Should we stay in a hotel or a condo?
  • Where would we eat?
  • Was it feasible to take such small children on a ski vacation?
  • How much additional gear was necessary to purchase?
  • What if the kids didn’t like skiing?

It was a blustery cold January day when we arrived in Keystone, Colorado. It was a week after “high season” so the crowds were less onerous and the rates were considerably more reasonable. Although we paid a premium for the location, we chose to stay in a condo within walking distance of the ski school. It was worth every penny for the convenience of not having to ride a shuttle bus or drive in a car to reach the slopes. The cooking facilities were ideal for our young family.

I was apprehensive leaving a small child in an unfamiliar location. My worries were instantly erased when the childcare director, Jonna Wooldridge, warmly greeted us. I felt confident that our son was in good hands. Once he was settled, we placed our two eldest sons in ski school and then headed off to the slopes.

While we skied, I couldn’t help but wonder how everyone was doing. We had never done anything like this before.

The outcome could not have been better. Whenever I stopped at the Keystone childcare center to nurse my youngest son, he was content. Our two eldest sons were enamored with skiing. After an all-day lesson, they eagerly showed off their accomplishments. They could not wait until their next ski lesson. All three kids were happy.

On the plane heading back to Chicago, they proudly displayed the pins they had been awarded. The preliminary plans for our next ski trip were made before we reached our home.

Yes, our third son did ski before he was 3 and was riding the chairlift up the mountain shortly thereafter. Likewise, our fourth son was also up on the mountain before he was 3 years old. For many years, the boys took lessons and mastered their skiing.

Skiing became our family’s winter tradition. Each year, our sons looked forward to returning to Keystone Resort. Our time spent at the resort increased and within no time it became our second home. Oodles of resort pictures and ski videos remind me of those wonderful years.


Bornstein Family Skiing Keystone, CO 1994

Bornstein Family Skiing
Keystone, CO 1994

Ten Benefits of Establishing a Family Skiing Tradition

  • Quality time spent together as a family
  • Couples time when kids are in ski school
  • Children learning a new athletic skill
  • Improving coordination and instilling confidence
  • Staying physically fit as a family
  • Tracking performance—improvement from year-to-year
  • Following ski rules and etiquette
  • Appreciating and respecting nature
  • Understanding an alpine environment—changing weather conditions, effects of high altitude, wildlife and vegetation, and avalanches
  • Opportunities to indulge in other winter sports- ice skating, sledding, tubing, building snow forts, sleigh rides, and snowshoeing

Now that my children are adults and living in multiple locations, I long for the time when it will be possible to renew our family ski tradition and pass it down to the next generation.

Do you go skiing or snowboarding with your family? What is your favorite resort?

Featured image from Flickr

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