Young Ski Bums

by Elizabeth Dengler

It’s that time of year when the area ski hills are in full operation. Yes, even in 2020 skiers and boarders can still get their shred on.

As a mom of skiers, I’m rather accustomed to the start of the ski season and the huge undertaking it is to prepare for, especially when your kids are still growing. However, as crazy as it seems to be every year, I can officially say, “It’s worth it!” It’s one thing to hear about the benefits of kids skiing from a parental POV, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to interview my 10 year old about skiing to get his perspective on the winter sport.

Just a quick note, Josh began skiing at the age of 7. I can’t say that it went smoothly, in fact there were lots of tears and a full on melt down in the middle of the mountain when he couldn’t understand why he wasn’t allowed to just “ski down the hill”. In his brain, having been exposed to Warren Miller ski movies from an early age, he thought he could just strap on a pair of skis and he’d turn into Jonny Moseley. In complete frustration with Josh’s unwillingness to start with the basics, his dad, a former certified ski instructor, finally said to Josh, “Go for it!” A very enthusiastic Josh set into motion his imagination of being a freestyle skier and maybe you can imagine how this next part went… Josh managed to ski all of a few yards before crashing and utterly unable to get up. He angrily removed his skis and proceeded to walk down the mountain screaming and crying. Now, that could’ve very easily been Josh’s first and last day on the mountain, but Josh was absolutely determined to be a skier.

Q: Josh what is your favorite thing about skiing?
Josh: Bombing down all the hills and catching air. Also, riding on the chairlift and the view of the mountains. And the trees look like they’re covered in frosting.
Q: What do you find challenging about skiing?
J: Making turns when it’s steep gets scary. Sometimes, when I go off jumps, I don’t know if I’m going to land or crash. It is also very hard to put my skis back on when I fall and they come off on a steep hill. But the worst part about skiing is when they close the ski lift and it’s time to go home.
Q: Which difficulty ski runs do you go on?
J: I do the blue squares and some green circles.
Q: Have you ever tried a black diamond?
J: Yes, a little bit but it was kind of short.
Q: What would you say to kids who might be interested in skiing?
J: It was very hard to ski in the beginning, it was harder than I thought at first. I never listened to my ski instructor when I first went up on the mountain. You should listen to your ski instructor. And follow the instructions and do what your instructors are doing. I encourage any kid to stick with it and keep trying their best every time. It gets easier.
Q: Do you have a favorite memory of skiing?
J: My favorite memory is the first time I did a jump. It was really fun, fast and high. I had never caught air before on skis. It felt like I was flying! I jump in the park at Mt Spokane and go on it every chance I get.
Q: What would you tell kids who may be afraid to try skiing or who are thinking of trying skiing again?
J: Don’t give up, you got this. Keep going. Being afraid is ok, but don’t let it stop you from trying.

You can catch Josh up at 49° North and Mt Spokane this season.

If you are interested in your kids taking up skiing or snowboarding, check out the variety of programs in your area. Last year Josh’s sister took advantage of the 5th Grade Ski Passport, which is being offered again for the 2020-2021 Season. For a $20 processing fee, your 5th grader can register into the program and ride at 5 area ski hills for free (including 49° North and Mt Spokane). For more information along with all the terms and conditions, check out www.5thgradeskipassport.com.

If you’re shreddin’ the gnar at one of the area ski hills and you see a kid in a yellow helmet, black motorcycle jacket and bright orange snow pants, that’s Josh; tell him, “Hey”.

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