Skiing With Kids: Fantasy vs Reality

I decided this would be the winter we’d become a skiing family. Or at least take the preliminary steps to eventually transform us into one.

My husband and I both skied fairly often and fairly well back in the day. It’s something that we miss personally and also want our kids to learn to do. Because, let’s face it: Winter is fucking long {especially this year, as I sit through our second school closure this week} and keeping the kids active is not easy. So, hey, let’s get them on skis and solve all of our cabin fever woes.

{Related: I have been known, from time to time, not to completely think things through.}

In my ambitious state to turn us into a skiing family, I booked an overnight stay at a smallish mountain within an acceptable driving distance. On the ride up, I had visions of charming ski weekends for years to come.

* * * * *

In these glimpses into my family’s fantasy future, it’s every winter Saturday morning and our kids are begging to get on the mountain. In their enthusiasm for our favorite snowy sport, they are up early and fully dressed in their fair isle sweaters.  As usual, they pack the entire car for us so I can prepare thermoses of hot chocolate for the familiar drive up to our beloved destination. Once on the road, we discuss upcoming school projects and then we all agree on the same radio station after gagging in unison at an old school Taylor Swift song from their childhood {Remember her? She was SO annoying. We laugh at the memory.} And of course nobody has to stop for a bathroom break — they are too excited to get on their skis. Once at our home away from home, the children carry their gear with nary a complaint. My husband and I claim our favorite seats outside the lodge — you know, the ones by the fire pit — to watch them skillfully navigate the slopes. They really are getting good, we marvel. We decide to take a few runs ourselves and then spend the rest of the afternoon delighting in the charm of the apres ski lifestyle. We clink glasses and my husband toasts the genius idea I had to pursue this sport as a family back in the winter of 2014. It really has made for some great memories, he reminds me. I can’t help but agree. I am sort of a genius.

* * * * *

“Mommmmm, how much lonnngerrrrr?”

I am jolted from my Future Ski Family fantasy as the highway zips by and my kids grow restless.

I know the bucolic ski trip days in my mind’s eye are pretty far away, but hey, we are taking the first step, I tell myself. We are on our way.

“Mommmmmmm, I have to pee. These socks hurt. Mommmm!”

On our way, indeed. Well, with some caveats.

Rather than go into detail about how the weekend played out, let me provide you with the alternate titles of this blog post:

  • Minivan Jenga: Ski Trip Edition
  • “Theeeeese Booooots Feeeeeeel Baaaaaad,” and Other Cries Heard at Ski School Drop-Off
  • Public Restrooms, Kids & 74 Layers of Clothing:  A Cautionary Tale
  • Cardio Blast: How to Keep a Baby Occupied in a Ski Lodge for Six Hours
  • Why Won’t the Bar Open Before Noon?
  • Five Easy Steps to Filing a Stolen Skis Report
  • The Art of Selecting the Right Hip Flask
  • A Jackass’ Guide to Choosing the Only Ski Day with Rain in 2014


OK, I’ll admit, I’m being a little dramatic. Except for the Minivan Jenga, stolen skis and all references to the bar. Never mind that the total number of adults in my family to actually ski equaled zero. The important thing is that my six and four year-old made it through ski school without any major fallout.



If you ask them, though, that was not the important thing at all. The important thing to them was clearly the fact that our hotel had a TV in the bathroom. If you want to blow my kids’ minds, apparently all you need to do is let them watch Disney Jr. while taking care of business. Somehow this detail escaped me when dreaming up my family’s future winter getaways.

So we’re not a ski family yet. We’re still more of a TV-in-any-location people.

But we’ll get there. Maybe.



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  1. Jack says:

    Skiing always seemed like a lesson in futility to me. Go up the hill just to come back down. Perhaps it was when I peed myself at 5 because we couldn’t work the zipper on my snow pants. Now the TV in the bathroom…that sounds amazing.

    • fordeville says:

      See now — you’ve supported my cautionary tale about kids in multiple layers + public bathrooms. Nightmare.

  2. Luisa says:

    Once again you have my life on the other side of the world – my skiiing trip to NZ is a few months away with Mr 7 and Ms 18 months and i still have fanstasies of having some parent time. Husband read your post and asked if it was too late to go to Disneyland!

    Love your work Kim

    • fordeville says:

      Spoiler alert: You will have no parent time.
      We’re going to Disney in a few months — same idea, warmer climate. No parent time for about 18 more years, I hear 🙂

  3. FordeFactory says:

    During our recent ski ‘vacation’ (I use the term vacation very lightly) I actually had to pay, tip, or whatever you want to call it; one of the people in the ski school to put the damn boots on the 6 year old!

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