We just returned from five days of spring skiing in Park City, Utah, home of my youngest brother Cory, who skis at least 120 days a year. The rest of us? Not so much. Mark and I took the kids twice this winter to the low but icy hills of Northeast Ohio to prepare them for this trip, our first out west since before we had children.

I wasn’t sure how it would all go, whether the kids would be able to handle the mountains, whether Mark and I would get to ski (or relax!) at all, whether the whole thing would be worth it. The first day, Cory hooked them up with a friend who’s a ski instructor for kids. He came to the house and geared them up like little snowy spacemen and off they went, looking ready for anything.

Mark and I got some time in on the mountain before heading back to await their return, set for 2:30. Cory was already back after having seen them and reported they were doing fine. 2:30 came and went, then 3, then 3:30. Cory was in touch with his friend so we knew everything was alright, but I was worried nonetheless that Austin would be stressed out. He’s one of those kids who can act all capable and independent when he’s forced to be capable and independent but then breaks down upon his return to me. So finally my dad and Cory drive out to pick them up at the base of the mountain (the rest of us could ski in and out of the house but it was at the bottom of a slope too steep for either boy).

I was certain Austin would have toughed it out all day only to fall apart in my arms with exhausted tears the second he walked through the door. Well, lo and behold, they march into the house still in their helmets and goggles giving high fives and exclaiming about what an “awesome” time they’d had. They proceeded to eat and drink and hop in the hot tub like the most experienced skiers around (they didn’t drink the same stuff as the most experienced skiers though!).

Apres ski

Next day, they got their boots on by themselves and were back out the door ready for more. Huh, who needs me anymore?

The day after, Braedan came out with me and I cautiously pointed up the mountainside and asked if he’d done a run like that before. He thought for a moment and said, “Yeah, I think so.” “OK, let’s give it a try,” I said not so sure this was a bright idea. But the kid is a skier. He skied along right behind me in the path I made for him, back and forth across the slope in a nice controlled snowplow. Over the next two days, he logged way more hours on the mountain than Mark or I did, always begging for more.

View from the house

Playing barefoot in the snow

Austin still needs one more year of practice, but I think we have a new family pastime. Although I dare say those five days in the Wasatch Mountain range will have already spoiled even the best slopes of Ohio or western New York. Oh well, that’s why we have frequent flier miles.