twenty-minute read


Jan 18, 2024 | Kaylin Richardson



Whether you are a recreational skier or a two-time Olympian, if you have children, you likely dream of making turns with them well into your golden years. I am the latter, and although the mountains are my happy place and I’m well versed on the subject, this does not make me an expert on teaching my toddler to ski.

Far from it, actually. I am just like every ski-loving parent out there, basically making it up as I go. This season I aim to begin this lifelong journey with my daughter, Hollynd, aka Holly. I hope to share what I am learning in real time – the inevitable obstacles and incredible joys, from before her skis even hit the snow to the last day of her first ski season at 3 years old. Please join me as we laugh and learn our way through this process.



You gaze across the chairlift, watching your daughter (or son) talking animatedly with their child, your grandchild, about how fun skiing is as they nestle between the two of you.

The ultimate skier parent dream.

You might be laughing, but I am not kidding around, I have dreamt of a moment like this more times than I can count. There is one small detail though.

My daughter has never skied.

If you follow me on social media (if yes, sincere thanks), you have seen my now 3-year-old, Hollynd, on skis the last two seasons. However, Holly has yet to make a turn on her own volition, and that is what I equate to as skiing.

Has she enjoyed the wind in her face schussing between my legs? Yes. Can she crush raisins and banana bread in between runs like a boss? Heck yes. But has she skied? No.

This season I would love for her to become a skier. This series is about how I am going to try to make that happen. It all begins well before our skis touch the slope though.

And I have already broken my first rule.

The first rule of the Parent/Child ski dream is we don’t talk about the Parent/Child ski dream.

I believe it is a self-fulfilling prophecy that when you put your desires upon your offspring they are going to resist. Maybe with a two-year old a mom can get away with showing how badly she’d love her kiddo to enjoy her favorite things, but my threenager can smell it a mile away. And rightfully so. It is not my job to decide what Holly should or shouldn’t do. I just try to expose her to as many experiences as possible.

What I also don't want is for her to feel she has to make me happy by skiing with me. Children feel the need to please their parents enough already; I aim to minimize the pressure I put on them. As much as I would love to ski with Holly well into my golden years, I love being with my daughter and truly connecting with her far more. Infinitely more.

But between you, me, and the internet… yes, I will admit it would be lovely to find joy together on skis.

For that to happen my first and only rule supports my opening point: it’s best that your child never really knows how much you would love for them to be a skier.

If Holly catches a whiff of my skiing thirst, she will likely dig in her heels. As much as this can frustrate me, I wholeheartedly love that Holly has a strong spirit. It’s not hard to connect the dots. As my partner and Holly’s daddy says, “Holly has a lot of Kaylin energy.”

Which leads me to my next point: know your kid.

Is your child cautious? Adventurous? Shy? Driven? Silly? No one knows your child better than you. Trust that. I am so cognizant of this. All I am qualified to share is from my own experience, which at worst will hopefully entertain, and at best will hopefully enlighten. I believe my philosophy is a sound one, but the tactics from one child to the next can differ wildly.

For Holly, it has to be her idea. She loves fun. She loves the outdoors. She even loves the idea of skiing. But I have to be sneaky about how I introduce it, nonchalant. When she gets on board, she makes it her idea. THEN I can bring on the full tilt enthusiasm. Earlier today I said these exact words, “I don’t like to be told what to do either, Holly girl.”

Therefore, I come to my last point when it comes this critical phase of pre-season prep: sprinkle the magic. All over, all the time

No one likes a hard sell. It makes us suspicious. Kids have a remarkable B.S. meter from the jump. It is uncanny. Anyone that has witnessed the inscrutable stare of a newborn can attest. I love skiing, it is part of my fabric. It is constantly evident in my life and peppered throughout my house. I think it is even peppered into Holly’s DNA. If you are reading this blog, your child is also likely genetically predisposed to love this sport. But we need to give it a little nudge.

I never demand we read our skiing books, but you bet I leave them in the most prime spots on the bookshelf, especially as the days turn colder. Holly wants to do a craft. I suggest something admittedly a little lame, followed by making skis for Thing One and Thing Two (mega Dr. Seuss fans over here) to ski down a mountain we can make of pillows. Manipulative? Maybe. Fun? Definitely. If you struggle with this type of parental sorcery, fret not for I have good news— if you are having fun, your kid is having fun. A little massaging of activities so you’re both having fun is a win/win.

It doesn’t all have to be blatant either. I am a big believer of osmosis. If we include skiing adjacent things in our everyday existence it just naturally fills our heads. Books, pictures, even just talking with your spouse about how excited you are for ski season. Kids are sponges and they are always listening, even when you think they are completely engrossed in their power wheels or kinetic sand— it is planting seeds in their subconscious.

Last, but definitely not least, try on all the gear. Make it a celebration. Practice walking in your ski boots. Be superheroes. Familiarize them with everything you can about skiing beforehand. Thrill them with stories, include them in these stories.

When Holly sees me skiing in Warren Miller movies or ads with another skier, she will often say, “There’s Mommy. And there’s me!” And I always say, “Yes, look at you! You’re ripping!” This is not giving in to my toddler’s illusions of grandeur. She knows it’s not her, but she likes inserting herself into that adventure. An adventure I would love to share with her in the future.

Just today she asked, “Can we go skiing?” I replied with a grin, “Absolutely. Next week!”

I’ve set the groundwork and just have to try to keep the good times rolling. At this tender age it is all about fun and connection. When we were trying on her snowsuit in our living room and she abruptly said, “I’m done,” I was able to oblige. When we get on the slopes it is a far larger production and commitment. It may prove to be a little trickier. We will see and I will share.

For now though, I will keep the thrills coming, and hope the skiing will follow.

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