The Skier's Bond - A Father Daughter Story

Posted by JD on January 31, 2013

For the longest time I often visualized the day when my three daughters could ski with my wife and me as a family unit all over the mountain – that goal was achieved last year on a spectacular day at Park City Mountain Resort. Of course getting to that point was circuitous.  One has a vision of the way things are supposed to be, and then there is reality. 

My eldest daughter, Hannah, and I have a classic Mexican standoff relationship.  I require her to clean her room, do some laundry, be nice to her sisters, and use her utensils - pretty grueling stuff I know. Hannah balks – often and loudly – and bemoans my dictatorial nature.  We then go round and round and round.  Sigh….Between Hannah’s status as a ‘tween-ager, mixed in with that exciting time of puberty and my complete lack of insight into the minds of girls – our house is in a perpetual state of cacophony.

Where can I find the peace – where can I possibly re-connect with my firstborn daughter?  Respite is found in the mountains.  Since Hannah was 2 years old she has skied. She cannot remember a time where she did not ski and the mountain has evolved into her place of comfort, a canvas for her own self-expression, and importantly a source of supreme confidence.

Because we shared our passion for skiing with her at such a young age Hannah has been actively skiing with my wife and me since she was 6. Hannah proudly and confidently notched her first black diamond run, PCMR’s Naildriver, at 7.  She and I shared a triumph that day as she skied her way down a steep and intimidating run.  I was actually taken aback at her iron-willed determination to finish her maiden run down that black diamond, undeterred by moguls or my suggestions that perhaps we move over to the adjacent blue run.  “No sir!” we were getting down that hill if was the last thing either of us did.  The elation she derived was seminal and highly indicative of her indomitable competitiveness.  Together we shared that milestone on the mountain – the first of many.  To this day she still crows loudly as we pass over the run on the lift how she is Hannah-Conqueror of Naildriver

Looking Down Naildriver


Once Hannah's bete noire - Naildriver now yields to the mighty and all-powerful Hannah

Over the years, I have actually had to rein her in as she flies down the mountain, hucks in the terrain parks, or flies through the air much like the gymnast she is.  But I will not stifle her spirit out there.  She loves to ski fast, just like I do, and in those quiet moments spent on the lift talking about skiing we become closer – there is no rancor, no teen issues, no dad-daughter communication issues. It is two skiers –or perhaps she sees it as two equals - looking for the next challenge.

Skiing certainly does not have to be the singularly unique venue for bonding with a daughter or son, but it sure works for us.  The fresh air, the grandeur of the setting, the physicality, and the confidence my daughter has created on her own when she is on the mountain with me has been uplifting.  We have been through a lot together, but I am always grateful for our time bonding on the mountain.

Despite all of the startup costs of skiing, I have found peace with my daughter on the mountain – and even if the mountain is metaphorical – I celebrate its ability, its beauty, and its challenges as the means to bridge any gaps in our relationship.  I hope and trust we will always have skiing as our thing and as a clear channel of communication during the more challenging times.

That has been worth every penny I have invested in skiing.

 The Family Unit Skiing

The Payoff - Skiing with my daughters


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Comment posted by Karen collins on February 3, 2013 4:49 AM MST

Wonderful story!

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Comment posted by Yvonne Batal on February 2, 2013 9:23 AM MST

I so agree with all of this! Skiing is a lifetime sport and to be able to share that with our kids... there is nothing better! That is how my parents reaised me by the way... Ever Wed, my dad would take me out of school and go night skiing.. it was our thing! and Ill treasure that memory ALWAYS.. skiing is a life time sport and so happy to share it with my young daughter

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Comment posted by Kristen on January 31, 2013 10:31 AM MST

Love this! So true - the skiing investment is an invenstment is family relationships. My eldest is also named Hannah, which makes this story a particular favorite of mine:)

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