There’s really nothing better as a father than watching your kids love doing something that you are also passionate about. For us it’s skiing. I was a proud father last Sunday when I took my 5-year-old son Roscoe out for his first powder day!
We arrived at the gondola line at 7:50, and the others waiting in line were commenting that he was the youngest kid in line by a long shot. I figured what better age than 5 to teach my son a valuable lifelong lesson: don’t be late for a powder day.
It was a brisk 5 to 10 degrees at the base and hovering around zero at the top on Sunday. I knew Roscoe was a trooper and was hoping I could keep him warm enough for him to experience how awesome powder skiing is.
I personally was pretty cold when we got to the top of Storm Peak to head over to the Sunshine (easier) area. Keep in mind this is my son’s first powder day ever, it’s freezing out, and it’s the first run of the day, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The first quarter of the run he couldn’t believe that he couldn’t see his skis under the snow, the second quarter of the run he was hooting and hollering how awesome powder is and how he thought he was “skiing on top of a big fluffy cloud that is eating the mountain,” and the bottom half of the run he started yelling over and over, “I love skiing.” At the bottom of the first run, I did what any dad would do: I smiled and gave him a big fist bump and proceeded to race him to the lift line.
I’ve taken thousands and thousands of pictures over the years, and this powder shot of Roscoe on our first run Sunday is now one of my all-time favorites.
We start them young in Steamboat. Ours were on skis a couple weeks before they turned 2. Initially, we bought some used plastic skis that you can slip regular snow boots into so they could shuffle around the carpet in the house and get used to skis on their feet (something a local ski instructor told me to do). Once the kids got pretty good at cruising around the house, I took them out to the driveway, I (Dad) was the chairlift, lifting them over my head with skis still attached to their boots, and I’d walk them back up to the top of the driveway to take another “run.” They eventually graduated from the driveway to the road. The neighbors used to get a kick out of the “Dad Chairlift.” It was a win-win: They learned how to balance on skis, and I got some exercise!
Later on that season, we brought them to the mountain (Steamboat). I’ll be perfectly honest, it was a train wreck. The kids didn’t want to be there, and they were like wet noodles trying to get them to stand up long enough to even take a picture. I tabled skiing at the resort for the balance of the year and stuck with skiing in the street with me as the chairlift.
The following season, they came out swinging. We entered them into the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, and the progression of our kids ski ability has been exponential. My 7-year-old daughter, in particular, has found a passion and is excelling in ski jumping, giving all the boys in her age a run for their money.
Our kids truly have no idea how lucky they are to grow up in a ski town. I remember a year or two ago, one of my kids asked me, “Why were those people so excited to be on the gondola?” I explained that not everyone has a gondola in their town, let alone a world-class ski resort in their backyard.
A special thanks to all of the ski coaches at SSWSC and the top-notch ski instructors at the SnowSports School at Steamboat Resort who are truly teaching our kids more than just pizza and french fry turns.
Now I’m starting to wonder how old my kids will be when I can’t keep up with them. I’m guessing 12 if I’m lucky.
Byron Carney, Alpine skier
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