When my sons were younger they didn’t have much awareness about prepping for ski season. But now that Tommy is 17 and Teddy is 14, they not only know that ski season is coming – they start talking about it around the time that school starts.
So what do we do as a family to get ready for winter? There are a few traditions that not only get us in the mood – they get us prepared as well.
Check Out What’s Happening Slopeside
“Did you see the camera yet today Mom?”
At this time of year, this is often the first question I get in the morning. Tommy has a list of Vermont ski area towns in his weather app. The minute he starts to see the word “snow” listed there, he starts checking the on-mountain cameras and social media feeds of some of his favorite Vermont mountains. Mad River Glen is a particular favorite as they have a camera both at the base area and up on the mountain. This gives him two places to look and see just what’s happening with the white stuff.
It’s fun to get excited about skiing together – parents of teens know that they don’t always talk to you, but if I mention the phrase “mountain cam” I know that I’ll have my kids’ attention.
Break Out the Ski Gear
Once Tommy has reminded me that the snow is a flyin’, this prompts me to get out jackets and pants to see if they still fit. There’s nothing worse than getting to your first day of the season and realizing that your child no longer fits into a crucial piece of ski clothing. Teens often grow a shocking amount from one season to the next.
While I’m checking sizes, I also take stock of everything in each of our ski bags – are all mittens and ski socks in pairs? Does everyone have a neck warmer or two? And most importantly: how does it all smell? When I’m well organized in the spring, I wash all base layers, ski pants, neckwarmers and hat and I put some dryer sheets inside helmets and gloves. This year I couldn’t quite remember if when I stowed the ski bags I had done this, and so I had some trepidation about opening them (teen boy funk is real). I was pleasantly surprised to find that everything was clean – except my own gear of course. Mom always comes last.
I do recommend stocking individual ski backpacks – ours are from Rossignol – for older kids. That way if you aren’t spending the day together you can send them off in confidence knowing they have what they need. Not sure what your kids need to ski? Check out my post on Getting Geared.
Get Those Skis Tuned
After I’ve checked our ski clothes, I turn my attention to our skis. When you’ve got teens who ski aggressively in the woods it is quite possible that they may have done a bit of damage. (Ahem, Tommy – why is there a slice taking out of the top of your new Experience 94 TI skis? Hm?). Whether or not there is visible wear and tear, I recommend taking them into your local ski shop for an assessment and tuning. they can let you know what your skis need, whether it’s just a waxing or a full workup.
Work on Your Fitness
Tommy and Teddy both ran cross country at school in the fall, which of course is the ultimate way to get fit for the ski season – not just tons of running but innumerable burpees and pushups at their daily practices had them both conditioned within an inch of their lives.
My own regimen is a bit less demanding – you can read about it in A Parent’s Guide to Getting In Shape for Ski Season. (If your kids aren’t training in a fall sport, the tips there will work for them, too.) On top of those recommendations, I can add one new one this year – sign up for a 5K race in November or December. I competed in my town’s Turkey Trot this November and knowing that I was racing had me out there faithfully running three or four times a week. Set a goal time that you think you might be able to achieve – my own was 33 minutes, and I finished in 30:33.
More Tips on Prepping for Ski Season
There are a few additional things on my “prepping for ski season” list that aren’t as photo friendly. Here is my handy checklist for you:
- Check the family calendar to see when we have free weekends and put holds in there for skiing – with busy teens you have to make the time or it disappears.
- Take my car into the shop to have snow tires put on.
- Purchase a new box of hand warmers.
- Stock up on sunblock (we all think of this at the beginning of the summer, but you need it for ski season too).
But most importantly I just let myself get good and excited. Now that my kids are older I don’t always get to spend time with them. Ski season is an exception to that rule – from cozy nights playing cards in our condo to lift rides up in the morning I love the way ski season brings us together as a family.
Let it snow!
Mara Gorman may live at sea level now, but she’s a native New Englander and mountain aficionado who grew up skiing in Vermont. She spends as many days each winter as she can chasing her two teen boys through glades and across mogul fields and regularly journeys far and wide to get on the slopes. Mara blogs about her family’s many travel adventures at The Mother of all Trips. She is also the author of The Family Traveler’s Handbook and an award-winning freelance writer whose work has appeared in various USA Today print publications as well as on websites such as BBC Travel. When there’s no snow, Mara and her family can be found hiking, biking and eating around the United States and Europe.