Winter is coming and if this is the year you consider taking up a winter sport, you are not alone.
Part of the attraction is the popularity of Olympic stars such as snowboarder Jamie Anderson and freestyler David Wise, but many are realizing that skiing and snowboarding are lifelong sports that families can enjoy together for many years.
“There is a lot of interest in just getting out on the snow, whether that’s tubing, boarding or skiing with your family and having fun,” said Mike Jankowski, snowboard and freeski head coach of U.S. Ski and Snowboard, who, for the past 16 years, has guided athletes, including Anderson and Wise, to 19 Olympic medals.
Snow sports provide a lifetime of fun and opportunity. “It’s something families can do together and resorts these days are providing more and more variety in their activities,” he said. “So you can go from being on the hill during the day to tubing or ice skating.”
Ski and boarding centers in Vermont and New York are introducing new programs and new technology to make skiing and boarding easier and more accessible to more people, especially families.
WHERE TO SKI: Bristol Mountain open for the season
Michelle Mancinelli grew up in a skiing family. “My parents had my four siblings and myself on skis at a very young age. Whether racing down the mountain, or just hanging out in the lodge, skiing always brought us closer together,” said Mancinelli, who lives in Mahopac.
She wants her four kids, all under age 10, to have the same experience. “I want them to enjoy the bond they create during each trip up the chair lift and the extreme feeling of freedom as they fly down the mountain.”
Have realistic expectations
It’s great to want to expose your kids to new things, but if Mom and Dad don’t intend to ski, too, it may derail the whole experience, said Alexandra Malloy, communications and social media specialist at Stratton Mountain Resort in Stratton, Vermont.
“I got into skiing pretty late and and it is intimidating to try a new sport,” said Malloy, who nonetheless said there has been an increase in adults learning to ski at Stratton.
Make sure all your family members are willing and able to tackle a new experience, but appreciate different abilities.
“Being able to tailor the day to each person is key,” said Jankowski. “Some may have a different level of interest, or are a little more courageous and may want to challenge themselves. It’s important to value each person’s goal.”