From the mouths of babes, or perhaps teenagers, comes wisdom.
ďDad, skiing is supposed to be fun.Ē
The first time I heard this, my husband, normally a very chill guy, was on hands and knees beating the snow with his fists.
It was a time of transition. Our sons were young teenagers, with several seasons of ski racing in the books. Young, agile and increasingly strong, it was the first winter when their skills were clearly surpassing those of their parentsí.
And this wasnít easy for my husband.
While he was very proud of them for growing into such excellent athletes, there was a part of him that wasnít yet ready to cede his position as leader of the pack.
And there was a part of him that was envious.
I felt it, too.
Toward the end of a ski week, our sons might be tired, but they could still bend their knees and walk, no yoga, stretching or ibuprofen required.
On the day of the pole pounding incident, hereís what happened.
We were skiing together on steep terrain, an area of chutes topped by a band of rock. Hop the rocks and itís soft powder turns to a run out. Itís the kind of place where we ski one at time, both for safety and because itís fun to watch.
Our younger son went first. My husband followed. At the bottom, carrying speed, he hit the deck and disappeared into a cloud of snow.
As the snow cleared, we witnessed him beating the snow and unleashing words no one deserves to hear.
Our son skied over and said ďDad, skiing is supposed to be fun.
Life is Supposed to Be Fun
One of the best things, in my opinion, about having kids is getting a second chance to be young.
Looking at the world through our childrenís eyes, whether itís watching a baby study her hand, a young child learning to write his name, or the ďa-haĒ moment when your kids learn to link their ski turns reminds us what discovery feels like.
But while children are excited by discovery, happily anticipating the newness of each day, adults can be too serious. Instead of taking the moments as they come, we often try to corral and contain the moments.
We work too hard at whatever weíre doing and we can lose sight of the fun.
When it comes to skiing, this may mean working to carve the ultimate turn or ski the most challenging line.
If one is like my husband, at some point skiing morphed from a thrilling rush, from a time of enjoyment shared with family and friends, to the constant pursuit of perfection.
As he puts it, ďI came to think of skiing only in terms of improving my skills. My quest was a run with perfect turns, my body and hands pointed downhill, my speed controlled with ease.
ďUnfortunately, I quit having fun. And it took my son, three decades younger than myself, to show me that the pursuit of perfection is an unworthy goal.Ē
Nobody Is Watching
For my part, I am not immune from taking life, and skiing, too seriously.
For years, I was one of those adults who avoided skiing under chairlifts. I was certain Iíd look a fool and humiliate myself.
Then one day, I realized that when Iím riding the lift Iím not focused on the skiers and snowboarders below me. Iím focused on the people next to me.
From that moment on, I felt free. Free to ski underneath the lift, free to make bad turns and free to humiliate myself. Once I realized no one was watching, I was set free.
And skiing became more fun for me, too.
Donít Give Up On Getting Better
These examples from our family donít mean weíve given up on improving our skiing.
Not by a long shot.
One of my favorite things about skiing is the challenge of improving, of pushing myself to ski better, stronger, with more grace and on harder terrain. I think my husband feels the same. And while our sons donít mention it, Iím sure they are pushing themselves to improve, too.
But by switching our outlook from work to fun, from self-consciousness to happy aban-don, skiing has become more fun for me and my husband.
And for our sons, too.
Skiing is not just supposed to be fun. It is fun.
Hailing from Colorado (USA) Kristen Lummis, or as she is better known, the Brave Ski Mom, is an avid skier and true family mum in every sense of the word. www.thebraveskimom.com