The DREADED Question

Posted by Jen on March 26, 2011

Lily is 13 and Q is 10.  My husband and I knew this question was coming, primarily because Quentin is of that age. Boys are naturally more curious than girls.  It’s just more interesting to them.  He’s been subtly inquiring for a while.  Asking stuff like,  “I’m just wondering about…..?”  or “What would happen if I……?  and  “How old were you the first time you...?”  


Hold on a second.  What?

Where are you going with this?  Are you thinking something else?

Holy cow!  I’m not talking about “the birds and the bees” here, Oh my goodness!  Excuse me, let me set things straight!.

The kids want to ski with friends, WITHOUT ADULTS.  Uh, yes, that’s what I said.  Without mommy and daddy there to be sure they made it down the mountain. I’m a wreck, I can’t commit to this.  I can’t make a decision.  What do I do?

I took this question to the slopes.  Boy, there are opinions on this subject.  Clearly, we all have strong feelings on when it’s right to let our “babies” go.  It’s a tough call.

dreaded-question (dreaded-question)
Would you trust these characters ALONE on the mountain? UHH. NO! Look at Quentin, could he BE more dramatic?

Most of the responses I received from parents had common themes. Here are a few.

1.    It totally depends on the kids.  Let’s face it.  We all know our own children and the kids they hang with.  If you have trouble with the group, it’s probably not a good idea to send them out alone.  Cindy Patten, a teacher on the Snowmamas Advisory Council mentioned that kids do really stupid stuff in an effort to show off.  Keep that in mind when sending them out in a group.

2.    Do they have their own cell phone?  If they aren’t old enough to have their own cell phone, they probably shouldn’t be on the mountain by themselves.  Beth Liess, another council member suggested programming Park City Mountain Resort’s main number into each child’s phone. 435-649-8111

3.    Can they get on and off the chairlift confidently?  If not, you need to be there.

4.    Do they know the mountain?  Have they been skiing this mountain with you, as a family for years? Do they know how to get to the Resort Center?  Can they follow the signs?  

5.    Can they carry their own gear and pack a lunch or snacks that they might need?  

Q was invited to ski with some friends who are older.  We really like these boys. They are responsible and athletic but we said no. Quentin does not have a cell phone.  He is an excellent skier but still falls and makes “questionable” choices on runs.  He just isn’t ready to be on the mountain without his parents or at least an adult.  As a compromise, Q or Lily can invite friends to ski the mountain, while we are on it.  They can ski runs that we allow. Yes, there are off-limit runs. We will be on runs nearby.  

I still haven’t decided when I will let them ski with friends and without us.  It will definitely be a privilege that is earned, certainly not a right.  Lily will probably be ready in a year, Eighth grade seems reasonable to me.  Quentin and Declan however, probably won’t be allowed out there alone until they are 30.

A special shout out to the Snowmama and Snowpapa Advisory Council members who shared their great advice and were willing to admit that they struggle with this decision as well.


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The views expressed on Snowmamas are those of the individual authors, who are independent contractors of Copper Mountain Resort and Killiington Resort and may not be factually accurate. These views are not intended to reflect the opinions of Copper Mountain Resort, Killington Resort, its owners, its management or its employees. Snowmamas' will receive compensation for their participation as an author.