WORDS: Emma Walker
Kids these days are surrounded by media that makes skiing look fun and sexy--on any given day, they'll pass billboards and Instagram feeds featuring attractive skiers looking like they're having the time of their lives. But we all know skiing is the gateway drug that leads to a life you don't want for your kids, like living out of a car full-time and not knowing exactly what a 401k is, let alone having one. These steps make it easier to approach the difficult conversation you know you need to have with your kids about skiing.
DON'T lie about your own experiences with skiing. As your kids get older, they're bound to come across pictures of you shotgunning a PBR with your friends at the base in a brightly-colored onesie. Let them know that sometimes peer pressure gets the best of people, but that you're happy to be a contributing member of society now.
DO give your kids ways to say "no" to skiing. Let them know they can feel free to use you as an excuse to say no when other kids invite them to hit the slopes. "My mom will kill me if she finds out I skipped school on a pow day" and "My parents would flip if they saw these new pot leaf topsheets" are tried and true standbys.
DON'T make them afraid to come to you when they need help. Remind your kids that, if they find themselves in a situation they're not comfortable with, you'll drive across town to pick them up at the ski area parking lot, even if it's a powder day--no questions asked.
DO get to know their friends' parents. This will help you avoid the old "I'm studying at so-and-so's" house, wherein each teen claims to be working on a project at the other's house, but actually they're ripping laps in the back bowl.
DON'T go on and on about the future consequences of skiing. Keep your discussions about skiing mostly in the present, rather than focusing on the fact that they could be stuck waxing skis for rich people in exchange for six-packs in 15 years. "Skiing makes your quads really big," you can tell them, "And sometimes you might get cold."
DO talk to them honestly about what they're seeing in the media. Ask them, "Do you think it looks cool when those guys on the Freeride World Tour are shredding spines in Alaska?" You know it does, but remind them of the consequences anyway: "Do you think any of them have degrees from Harvard Law?"
DON'T panic when you see the warning signs. Chances are, you're going to find searches for weekend weather forecasts in their search history or come across an old issue of POWDER stuffed under their mattress at some point. It's important to stay calm when you approach your shredder-in-training kid about their indiscretions.
DO recognize that they're probably going to experiment. Hell, you did and you turned out fine--except that you have to tend bar after your day job in over to afford to live in this ski town, you still believe there are no friends on a powder day, and you're definitely not putting anything in that dusty old 401k.