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Tag Archives: Skiing

Why we love Arapahoe Basin

There are certain places around us that seem to somehow be stuck back in time.  Places where technology and renovations have been put on the back burner, to allow the soul of the area to permeate you.  A-Basin is one of those places, and that’s why we love it.  Growing up, it was known as the hippie resort.  The place where people would live in the parking lot for the season and where you could always find someone grilling out of their trunk.  Where families where more concerned about spending time together than spending money.  Luckily, it’s still that way today!

If you were to drive up to A-Basin, you might be tempted to keep going and not stop.  The old a-frame lodge and scraggly beards might be enough to scare you away.  Don’t be deceived though.  If you kept driving, you’d miss some of the best terrain and friendliest people around.

Photo courtesy of arapahoebasin.com

When Mason was born, skiing changed for our family.  No longer could we just ski all day, eat lunch on the lift, and ignore the rest of the resort.  We started to spend a lot of time in the lodge as we were taking turns watching him.  We skied at all our usual I-70 resorts like we always had, but were somehow treated differently.  Most of them didn’t care when we came in for 30 minutes to warm up, but staying all day was another issue.  We wanted a place where we could feel comfortable staying with him without the stares and comments about us buying something else if we wanted to stay in their lodge.  It was annoying and uncomfortable.  Not only that, by the time we found a suitable place to hang for the day, we would have to take several lifts to get to the good skiing – much harder when you only have a few precious hours to ski.  One by one, resorts started to slip from our radar of ‘family skiing’.  Finally, we tried out the old hippie resort.  It was like we were a match made in heaven.  We went in the a-frame lodge and quickly found ourselves surrounded by other families like us.  Families trying to still maintain their passion for skiing while they had kids.  Not only that, but there were things set up by the resort for the kids to play with.  LOVELY!

As soon as we started skiing there, we remembered how blissful the Pali lift can be.  Steep, steep, steep, with a few cliffs thrown in there – just what we were looking for.  And, to top it all off, it starts right out of the parking lot so we weren’t spending all our time on ‘connector’ lifts.  We happily skied there for the rest of the season.  The next year, when Mason started skiing, we loved A-Basin even more.  The Pali lift is right next to the beginner lift and magic carpet.  We had everything we wanted all right together.  And of course, we could always just leave the massive amount of gear we brought, in the lodge while we played, knowing it would be right where we left it when we came in for hot chocolate.  Yes, our family found the match we were looking for when we started to ski at A-Basin.


Photo courtesy of arapahoebasin.com

Here are a few other perks that we love about skiing there:

  • A few new high-speed lifts in the last few years
  • It’s not very crowded.  Lift lines are more the exception than the rule.
  • All the staff are friendly and just happy that we brought our kids up for the day!
  • There’s a microwave in the lodge so we can enjoy a warm lunch.
  • The hippies, that have been skiing here for years, will always lead you to a great powder stash.
  • Awesome terrain for everyone from beginners to experts!
  • We can get there in just over an hour from our house.
  • The food prices won’t clean out your bank account.
If you haven’t tried it, check it out.  Or better yet, drop us a line and we’ll meet up with you and enjoy a day of steeps, kids, and hot chocolate with you!
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Posted by on November 14, 2011 in Skiing

 

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Should kids eat snow?

Last week I got to teach Mason’s preschool class (we do a coop).  For at least the first 15 minutes of class, all the kids wanted to talk about was the newly fallen snow.  In the end, we came to the consensus that EVERYONES favorite activity to do in the snow was to eat it (gotta love that group mentality).  By the time we finished school, both kids were begging to play in the snow, so I started the laborious task of getting all their snow gear on.  Playing in the snow is awesome, but getting everyone’s warm clothes on is something I absolutely hate.  After what seemed like forever, I sent the kids outside thinking they’d spend a few hours happily playing.  As I was getting my boots on to join them, Chloe comes in the house, puts some snow in a cup, and starts ripping off her snow clothes as fast as she could.  The same snowclothes I had just fought to get her to wear.  “Chloe, what are you doing!”  “I a big kid Mommy.  Big kids dus eat snow.”  I always knew that my kids would learn obnoxious things at school, but she’s just two!  There was no changing that stubborn little mind of hers!
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This got me thinking – “should kids be eating snow”.  Well, the simple answer is “we all do it and we’re still alive, so why not!”  Good one.  It’s easy to get our kids to not eat the yellow or brown snow, but what about the white fluffy stuff all over the ground?  Here’s what Helen Suh MacIntosh, a professor of environmental health at Harvard University had to say about it here:

“It turns out that snow is a fairly efficient pollution collector when it is in the air. Snow is formed by water vapor that moves in clouds in cold air. As the water vapor moves in the cold air, it can stick to a tiny piece of dust and then have other water molecules attach to it, forming a crystal. Once formed, the crystal can continue to grow and can stay in the air for hours before it falls to the ground. It is during this time that the snow crystal can collect or “scavenge” pollutants that are present in the air.  The types of pollution that the snow can contain vary by location, but could include metals, acidic pollutants, and persistent organic pollutants (POPs). The amount of pollution in white, fresh snow is generally related to the amount of local pollution that is emitted into the air, of which traffic is a pretty good indicator. As a result, pollution is snow is low in rural areas and is higher in cities and other areas with a lot of traffic.”

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The study went on to say that although these pollutants are present, the amount of pollutants are very low.  The verdict that they shared is that freshly fallen white snow is usually safe to eat (as long as it’s not bucket-fulls).  However, we should encourage our kids to avoid eating colored snow or white snow that has been on the ground for a while.  Thank goodness, because while eating snow isn’t the best thing in the world, I won’t be stopping my kids from doing it anytime soon!

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2011 in Skiing, Tips

 

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The Best Way to Teach Someone How to Ski

Here at Bring The Kids, we’re pretty much DIY-ers.  We love to find ways to create our own adventures and send our family exploring for cheap.  You also know that we’re big skiers.  Like it’s our favorite thing to do together (besides eat dessert).  Since we’ve been skiing so much, we feel pretty qualified to give our “expert” (ha) advice on how to teach someone how to ski.  Ready?

SEND THEM TO SKI SCHOOL!!!

Seriously!  This is by far the best way to teach someone how to ski.  WHAT?  I’m sure that right now you have a million things running through your head right now like “well they don’t understand how good I am” “ski school is too expensive” or my favorite “I’m a beginner too so why send my kids to ski school if we’re working on the same thing anyway”.  Well, let me explain why we feel that the best way to get someone skiing (and keep them skiing) is ski school.

1.  Even if parents are great skiers and have skied their whole lives, they probably don’t have the skills that they would need to effectively teach the correct mechanics of skiing.  Prime example: I’m always amazed when I see great skiers who ski double blacks trying to teach their friends how to ski.  It’s usually some version of “this is how you stop…now follow me” as they dart through the trees.  I’m sure you can envision the disaster in your heads.  Unfortunately, the skills that you use as an expert skier and the skills that a beginner needs are far removed.  Remember that most skiing starts with a wedge-stop approach and there are several steps between that and parallel, straight ski, stopping.

2.  Ski School is expensive, but well worth the investment.  Plan on spending $100-$150+ for a full day of kids ski lessons.  Multiply that by a few kids and a few days and that’s a huge chunk of change.  At this point, you’re probably seriously considering teaching your kids yourself or just bagging the whole idea and heading to the Magic Kingdom.  Hang in there – it’s so worth it.  The first few times a kid skis can be a little disappointing as it’s not uncommon for it to take kids a few days to learn how to stop and turn on even the most gentle slope.  However, as you stick with it, year after year, their skills skyrocket and the time needed in lessons goes drastically down.  If you’re like us, you probably want to be able to ski with your family for years to come.  Ski school will start you off on the right foot so that you learn correctly (and with less chance of injury) and are more likely to progress to the level that you would like.

3.  One lesson’s not going to cut it.  This is one my Dad taught me growing up (which my brother and I hated him for).  Every year, my Dad would require that our first few days of skiing every year were spent in ski school.  That way, we didn’t start off the year sloppy, but rather solidified the fundamentals and advanced to the next level.  Also, remember that one day of lesson will get you barely able to navigate the bunny hill by yourself – if you’re lucky.  Plan on at least a few days a year.

4.  Make sure that they are ready to ski before beginning lessons.  This is one of the biggest mistakes I saw parents making as I was teaching skiing (typically just a problem with younger kids).  Putting a child who is not ready or willing to ski is a waste of money – plain and simple (or just really expensive daycare).  Most ski schools don’t start group lessons until around age 4, which is typically a good starting point.  However, here are a few more points to check your childs readiness.  Is your child okay being apart from you for most of the day?  Can they communicate how they feel to another adult?  Do they want to ski?  Are they comfortable in a group environment with other children their age?  If you answered yes to these questions, your child is probably ready for ski school.  If not, it might be a good time to reevaluate if skiing is right for them at this time.

Skiing is great.  We believe that it’s one of the best things that a family can do together, but you have to do it right.  We see plenty of people trying to teach their kids to ski who end up in the lodge in tears by the end of the day.  Or worse, in the ER.  There is also a big push lately to get a ski harness or a ski leash, tie the kids up and head down the hill with them.  While this can be a great tool when used correctly, 90% of the time we see kids racing down the mountain, pulling their parents, like some weird version of dog sledding.  Because they are so incorrectly used and often lead to children not developing the vital balance they need to ski, we would not encourage using these in place of lessons.

Don’t worry, we know that there plenty of success stories of people who learned to ski without attending ski school.  We also know of many examples of individuals or families who’ve dropped the sport all together because of inadequate instruction. If you have questions, shoot us an email! You decide what will work best for you.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, these are not just random rantings.  Both of us have taught skiing at resorts with several years of teaching experience between us, attended several Professional Ski Instructor Association (PSIA) trainings and Jessica has been PSIA certified.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2011 in Skiing

 

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Friday Fun Video: 5 year old ski racer

Check out this video of 5 year old Adrianne ripping it up.  Sorry Mason, you’ve got nothing on this girl.  Watch out buddy because if you ever meet her, she’s going to waste you.  Don’t worry buddy, you’re still the most hard-core 4 year old I know (it’s probably because he’s really good at fighting bad guys).

Friday fun video is a weekly series where we post videos of kids doing amazing things.  Watch them.  Be Impressed.  Be inspired.  Get out and play!

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2011 in Friday Videos, Skiing

 

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Getting your kids to like skiing

Recently, we received a great question from one of our readers and we wanted to share it with you.

“Does anyone have a kiddo who just doesn’t seem to like the cold weather?  Our middle child just whines whenever we go out.  I really hoped skiing could continue to be a family event.  How can I encourage her to give it a try?  I don’t want to force her to ski but if we are all going, we aren’t leaving her behind.”

As much as we all want our children to naturally like the things we like, what happens when they don’t?  What do you do then.  Well, here are a few ideas to help answer this question, that I’m sure all of us will face in some form or another over the years.

1.  What if you have a child that doesn’t like cold weather?  Well, as with all things, talk to them about it first.  Is there something that they do not like about cold weather?  Did they have a bad experience with it?  Get questions like this out of the way first so see if the problem may be something different.

With our children, the times that they whine the most in cold weather are when they are just plain cold.  Remember that kids are little and it’s more difficult for them to maintain an even body temperature than it is for adults.  Because of this, we highly recommend that you buy your kids GOOD gear for playing outside.  Although those $5 gloves from walmart, are oh-so-tempting when you tally up the cost of winter wear, remember that you’re getting what you pay for.  We’ve had many people suggest to us that if your kids are going to be doing anything serious outside, you should buy them the same quality gear as you would yourselves.  Starting with a good baselayer (not made of cotton) is essential, and then build from there.  Take extra care to keep fingers, toes, and faces warm, as those are the places that usually get hit first!

Want more ideas on how to keep your kids warm?  Check out these articles by Brave Ski Mom, an expert on skiing with kids.  Keeping your kids hands warm, How cold is too cold for skiing, and How do I keep my kids feet warm.

2.  How do I encourage my child to give skiing a try?  Well, hopefully, once you tackle the cold issue, the issue of skiing should be an easier one to handle.  Our biggest suggestion to you is to make it fun.  When our kids are first starting out with skiing (this will be Mason’s 4th season), I felt like almost no skiing got done.  We essentially played games with the kids the whole time that we were skiing with them to get them to see how much fun it is.  If you were to ask Chloe what she does when she skis, she would tell you “ski and say wee”.  She has no idea that skiing is a sport, to her it’s a game.  In fact, last season was the first where I felt like we actually got some real skiing done with Mason.  Why am I telling you this?  Because if you don’t take a lot of time to make skiing fun, your kids will likely not enjoy it.

If you continue to struggle getting your child to like skiing with the family, try a group lesson.  Many kids do much better around their peers than around their parents.  This will give your child a chance to work on their skills without dealing with family stresses.  Another great option is to bring a friend along on your next ski trip (or better yet, invite a whole family).  This may help your child relax and want to show off some of the skills that they have.

Mostly, don’t give up.  For us, we decided long before we had kids that skiing as a family was not optional.  Because of that, we’ve gone to great lengths to ensure that our kids really like skiing.  In the summer, they strap their skis on and scoot around the grass (totally their own idea).  In the fall, we watch ski movies together, take drives up to the mountains to check on the snow, and let them help pick out some of their own gear.  In the winter, we buy massive amounts of hot chocolate for the millions of breaks that we will take with them.  And in the spring, we’re all smiles because not only have we had a great time as a family, but our kids are one step closer to being the little rippers we’ve dreamed they’d become!

Have more questions?  Please keep them coming.  We love to hear from you and will try to answer any questions you may have.

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2011 in Skiing, Tips

 

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