Get It From Their Mama

There is nothing more rewarding than watching your children thrive on the mountain. Seeing their genuine enjoyment of snow, skiing and shredding. To watch them fall in love with exactly what you love: Fernie powder.

Mountain Mama, Tara Hatch, had both of her boys on skis by the time they were one and a half. While you can learn to ski at any age, the younger you are, the easier it will be. Kids have the advantage of being flexible and fearless. Both of Tara’s boys, Rylan and Ethan, took to skiing right away as Tara made sure that it was “always fun.” Her enthusiasm for winter was contagious. She celebrated their triumphs whether they lasted five minutes on the hill or thirty. She knew that by keeping her boys’ skiing experiences positive, she could ensure that they would want to go skiing again.

The best tips Tara can give to other parents with toddler-skiers are to bring lots of snacks, high fives and to finish the ski day with a hot chocolate. Most importantly she suggests to never compare your child to anyone else’s. “Children are like popcorn, some will pop early, others might be a little later.” When they fall over, which they will, have a laugh and keep it light. Be the first to cheer them on and keep them moving forward. Tara shared that her kids’ successes were due to the fact that she and her husband, as parents, erased all expectations. Their goal was simply to be together, outside, enjoying playing in the snow.

Tara found that putting her oldest son in a few private lessons was a real “game changer.” Afterwards, Rylan was able to link his turns, use his edges and get up the T-bar all by himself. She realized that an instructor could bring out the advanced skills that he was capable of as, “sometimes as parents we underestimate what our kids can do.” Children can often respond differently to teachers and coaches. “We do not teach skiing for a living, so we need to rely on the people that do.” Now her oldest son has moved onto the chairlift and loves riding runs along the Deer and Elk chair. Tara can “honestly say that [she] has more fun watching [her] kids laugh and play, skiing down the hill than [she] does on an epic powder day!”

Not only is it satisfying watching her boys conquer new runs, but Tara knows that being outdoors is the best thing for her sons’ cognitive development. She raves about Fernie’s Outdoor Connections: Forest School and notes that it is not uncommon for her boys to be outside from 9-4, no matter what the weather. Her theory is that “kids can’t bounce off the walls if there are no walls to bounce off of.” After a day of fresh air, Tara notices that her boys are much more calm and have longer attention spans. The benefits know no bounds. Tara recommends bundling up and heading up the hill to make lasting memories. As her four year old would say, “Let’s go on an adventure!”

Are you also a Fernie Mountain Mama? Please feel free to share your outdoor adventures, family stories and photos by writing to ferniemountainmamas@gmail.com, or hashtag #ferniemountainmamas to encourage more parents to take their little ones outdoors and share in all the fun that Fernie has to offer.