We’re well into an exceptional ski season here in Colorado. We’ve had other things keeping us busy, so we’re headed to Steamboat Springs tomorrow for the first time this season. I grew up in Iowa, which isn’t exactly famous for its skiing. When I was about nine, one of my dad’s friends took him to Aspen for a week and that did it. We became a skiing family. We skied in the Midwest but would normally take a Colorado ski trip once a year. Aspen, Breckenridge, and Steamboat Springs were our regular spots. My sister and I both went to school in Fort Collins and skied almost exclusively at Steamboat. It’s a great mountain with lots of varied terrain. It has a wide-open valley to the south and west, so you get sunshine late in the day. It also tends to get a lot of light, dry snow. It’s a fun low-key town and has a more cowboy than jet set vibe.
We’ve been taking our kids there since they were small, and they’ve become good skiers and really love it. Even though they’re at the ages where they may be less excited to spend time with us, we all enjoy skiing together. I cherish my skiing memories with my family when I was young as well as those with my wife and kids. You’re in a beautiful place, going fast and getting worthwhile exercise. I also think it’s gratifying to acquire a special skill and continue to improve. Or, in my case, try to get worse at as slow a rate as possible. Ski towns are always fun, and everyone’s having a good time, so you’re around a bunch of happy people.
The one downside is that it has become expensive, so you have to put some effort into doing it on a budget. You can always save money by buying a multi-day or season pass in advance. Accommodations can be expensive and ski gear is a killer. For kids who are still growing, seasonal rentals are a good option. I’m sure you can find lightly worn kids ski clothing on Craigslist. A lot of the ski clothing for kids have seams that can be opened to add pant length and sleeve length and get another year of use. A lot of Colorado schools have ski clubs, bus the kids up and back and have good deals on lift tickets.
I would certainly encourage anyone to learn to ski and, especially, to get your kids on skis. If you’re going to go, spend some time in advance to get your legs in shape. Squats, wall sits and running stairs are good. Riding a bike or a stationary bike will help a lot. My favorite device for getting into skiing shape is something called the “Skier’s Edge”. I bought one several years ago and it’s great at working the specific muscles you use when you’re skiing. Forty minutes five times a week will get you ready in a month or two. If you don’t do anything and ski a full day, you can expect to be very sore in the morning.
If you’re a skier, I hope you’ll be able to make a lot of turns this season. If not, I hope you’ll give it a try. I dread the day when I can no longer ski. I hope it’s not very soon. I also hope it dumps on Steamboat tomorrow night so we can ski in some of their famous “champagne powder” on Friday.
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