For the longest time I often visualized the day when my three daughters could ski with my wife and me as a family unit all over the mountain – that goal was achieved last year on a spectacular day at Park City Mountain Resort. Of course getting to that point was circuitous. One has a vision of the way things are supposed to be, and then there is reality.
My eldest daughter, Hannah, and I have a classic Mexican standoff relationship. I require her to clean her room, do some laundry, be nice to her sisters, and use her utensils - pretty grueling stuff I know. Hannah balks – often and loudly – and bemoans my dictatorial nature. We then go round and round and round. Sigh….Between Hannah’s status as a ‘tween-ager, mixed in with that exciting time of puberty and my complete lack of insight into the minds of girls – our house is in a perpetual state of cacophony.
Where can I find the peace – where can I possibly re-connect with my firstborn daughter? Respite is found in the mountains. Since Hannah was 2 years old she has skied. She cannot remember a time where she did not ski and the mountain has evolved into her place of comfort, a canvas for her own self-expression, and importantly a source of supreme confidence.
Because we shared our passion for skiing with her at such a young age Hannah has been actively skiing with my wife and me since she was 6. Hannah proudly and confidently notched her first black diamond run, PCMR’s Naildriver, at 7. She and I shared a triumph that day as she skied her way down a steep and intimidating run. I was actually taken aback at her iron-willed determination to finish her maiden run down that black diamond, undeterred by moguls or my suggestions that perhaps we move over to the adjacent blue run. “No sir!” we were getting down that hill if was the last thing either of us did. The elation she derived was seminal and highly indicative of her indomitable competitiveness. Together we shared that milestone on the mountain – the first of many. To this day she still crows loudly as we pass over the run on the lift how she is Hannah-Conqueror of Naildriver.
Once Hannah's bete noire - Naildriver now yields to the mighty and all-powerful Hannah
Over the years, I have actually had to rein her in as she flies down the mountain, hucks in the terrain parks, or flies through the air much like the gymnast she is. But I will not stifle her spirit out there. She loves to ski fast, just like I do, and in those quiet moments spent on the lift talking about skiing we become closer – there is no rancor, no teen issues, no dad-daughter communication issues. It is two skiers –or perhaps she sees it as two equals - looking for the next challenge.
Skiing certainly does not have to be the singularly unique venue for bonding with a daughter or son, but it sure works for us. The fresh air, the grandeur of the setting, the physicality, and the confidence my daughter has created on her own when she is on the mountain with me has been uplifting. We have been through a lot together, but I am always grateful for our time bonding on the mountain.
Despite all of the startup costs of skiing, I have found peace with my daughter on the mountain – and even if the mountain is metaphorical – I celebrate its ability, its beauty, and its challenges as the means to bridge any gaps in our relationship. I hope and trust we will always have skiing as our thing and as a clear channel of communication during the more challenging times.
That has been worth every penny I have invested in skiing.
The Payoff - Skiing with my daughters
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The views expressed on Snowmamas are those of the individual authors, who are independent contractors of Park City Mountain Resort, and may not be factually accurate. These views are not intended to reflect the opinions of Park City Mountain Resort, its owners, its management or its employees. Snowmamas' authors have or will receive a paid trip to Park City Mountain Resort or will receive other compensation for their participation as an author.