Father Knows Best? Nah.

A few months ago, my dad called to tell me he’d hatched a plan for his next visit.

Considering one previous visit found me helping the kids select the most absurd Halloween mask they could find for their beloved grandfather to wear for Trick-or-Treating on Main Street, and another found me videotaping my father, a 68 year-old attorney, trying out the bungee trampoline at an amusement park, my interest was, shall we say, piqued.

 “What if I came out in January, took a week’s worth of ski lessons and then skied with the boys on the weekend?”

 I was thrilled by this idea–but also slightly suspicious. After all, he’d dived into ski school when I was in middle school, because I’d threatened to (wait for it) quit the sport.  Perish the thought. My dad, wise man that he is, felt like I might regret such a choice (which begs the question, Why, oh why, was I allowed to quit the violin??) – so he offered a deal—he would sign up for lessons simultaneously with my pre-race program at our local resort, and we’d meet up in the afternoons for some Dad-and-Daughter skiing.

 This is Parenting 101. Lead by example. Support your kids in their activities. Show up. Play along. My Dad, of course, got an A in this course.  And as a grandparent, he seems to go after extra credit, too (see: bungee jumping, above).

This plan, by the way, worked out really well—I improved rapidly, my dad, perhaps a little less rapidly. We found ourselves on a favorite blue—one with just enough steep to make it interesting, and about a third of the way down, my dad launched a yard sale. I skied up to him, a little worried. “Dad, are you ok?” Gamely, he began to collect his gear, and shake the snow out of his ski hat (pre-helmet culture, indeed). “Yep, I’ll be ok!” So, loving daughter that I am, I said, “OK, see ya!” And shot off toward the bottom. I know, very, very ungrateful. Bad, bad kid. I’m not entirely sure why his skiing tapered off, but given this history, it’s a wonder the man would volunteer his vacation time to relearn the sport and risk being exposed to such compassion again.

 And yet, he did.

 And he loved it.

I lined up two Max 4 lessons and a full-day private for “Parka.”(For reasons none of us can remember, Big Guy started calling him that around age 1, and it stuck). I wanted him to feel comfortable skiing wherever Big Guy wanted to take him on Saturday.  We had many, many discussions about gear. He reported to me mid-morning the first day that he’d struggled mightily with his boots, tried in vain to find the right positioning for his hat/gaiter/goggles arrangement. In a moment of mock exaggeration, this man who bikes hundreds of miles every summer, said drily, “You know, you just get on the bike….” I got a call from him from the chairlift that afternoon. “I’m skiing Success, and loving it. I will be here all night. Don’t wait for me for dinner.” I informed him the groomers may take issue with his presence after 4pm, so he decided to come home after all. But first, he stopped in the ski school office to change his lesson the next morning to the afternoon. It was my request—I couldn’t stand the thought of him having so much fun and not bearing witness to it.

Our ski morning together was a blast. He kept thanking me for helping him arrange it all. “I’m really having FUN!” And he was. He was also exercising caution. His stance was slightly hesitant, and his pace was deliberate rather than relaxed. Which was fine. I didn’t want to push. We parted ways after lunch—he headed off to his lesson with a sarcastic “see ya!” and I met up with my friends Lisa and Dave for a few runs on Flagstaff.

 The next morning, I decided to tag along for the first half of his lesson. I met Parka’s instructor, JR, and explained, “I’m just along for the ride—it’s his lesson.” As we descended our first turns, I shouted that I would ski ahead to watch—and to take some pictures and video. I was blown away by his improvement since the previous morning. We soon found our way over to Flagstaff, and did one of my favorite loops. Blue Bell to Silver Buck to Stargazer to Gemini. When we got to the Stargazer portion, my dad said, “Well, this is going to scare me a bit.” He then executed ten perfect, balanced turns to the top of Gemini. “Wait! I was just getting that! I want to do it again!” No lack of enthusiasm here.

 Soon enough, we were heading toward lunch at Snow Park when my father made a confession. “I made a mistake,” he said, with more than a hint of woe in his voice. He looked at me a little sheepishly before he continued. “I thought a full day lesson would be too much. So I cut it to a half day when I made the other switch. But now, I feel so great I want to keep going!”

 Sigh.

 “I can fix it. With my favorite tool,” I said, taking my cell phone out of it’s designated pocket in my jacket. Quickly, I was connected with a friendly member of the staff. “My dad thought he knew better,”I explained. This may not have been the first time someone decided to extend their day, because the very helpful gentleman on the other end of the call offered a knowing chuckle as he restored the reservation . Mission accomplished. JR and my dad and I sat down to a quick Snow Park Lunch (hello, Natural Buffet) before I scooted to town to pick up Little Guy and they headed off to ski more. We agreed to meet up an hour later on Wide West. Little Guy was keen to show his skills to his grandfather. He demonstrated three of his top skills (Candyland, Racecourse and Exhaustion Meltdown).

little guy skiing

 Unfortunately, by the next morning, Parka was sidelined with a minor but ski-boot-prohibitive foot injury, and he couldn’t complete the mission.

We all solved the problem at once. “When can we schedule a return visit?” Fab.

Leave your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Facebook Feed

Deer Valley Resort shared Ted Ligety's video.

Ted Ligety
Ted Ligety, Deer Valley Resort's global athlete ambassador, training on Mountaineer ski run earlier this month.
... See MoreSee Less

Thanks @deervalleyresort for the awesome training this spring! New @head_ski 30m skis are a dream. #goprokarmagrip

Christoph Sitzer, Lepetit Prince Dk and 222 others like this

View previous comments

Steve KuehnTed Ligety....one of the greatest world class skiers on earth skiing at my favorite place on earth!! Thank you!! What great technique, balance, speed, carving and weight on downhill ski!!!😀😀😀❤️❤️❤️😀😀😀😀😀

1 day ago   ·  3
Avatar

Steve KuehnI wish I could ski that well!! I am good and focus on the basics and technique, but I am nowhere near that good....Heaven on earth to me is skiing and / or teaching people to ski every day!!

1 day ago   ·  3
Avatar

Lisa K SimpkinsNo wonder my favorite run was closed 2 weeks ago. He was going so fast I never saw him.

19 hours ago
Avatar

Patricia Wollerok, maybe he goes a little, just a little faster than I... one think is certain, that is one of my favorite runs!

21 hours ago   ·  1
Avatar

Laura Nolle SpurlinEmily Spurlin Abby Spurlin this is my favorite run "mountaineer" !!⛷

1 day ago   ·  2
Avatar

Tom ThomasVery impressive, Patty must be proud.

1 day ago
Avatar

Ted ForbesBill Mitchell I think you can take him

1 day ago
Avatar

Hideko ShimabukuroOMG that's so fast...! Made me dizzy watching it. 😅

21 hours ago
Avatar

Dan PeoplesBill Liguori this looks a lot like Marc D. Lewis without the aqua green, one piece jump suit.

1 day ago
Avatar

Liz SinHey Juji is this the lovely run we did where we were crying of steepness. No problem.

8 hours ago
Avatar

James EvansLooks fantastic there at Deer Valley --- look forward to a Huge Season for Ted in 2017 / 2018 as well as the Winter Olympics . . .

1 day ago
Avatar

Effie Baramso rad having the mountain totally to yourself....VIP treatment

23 hours ago
Avatar

Nikki GraceI want to go. Just not that fast.

1 day ago
Avatar

Miguel CamposRenzzo B Namuche ese weon skia igual a mi csm jajaja

1 day ago   ·  1

2 Replies

Avatar

Barbara JonesThis is one of my favorite runs at Deer Valley!

22 hours ago
Avatar

Kirk HoffmanI've skied that, but not quite in the same way!

1 day ago
Avatar

Michael A. StahlerFrom two weeks ago?

6 hours ago
Avatar

Joseph HamiltonJet propulsion?

1 day ago
Avatar

Michael O'SullivanYeah, and I would be just ahead of you 😜

1 day ago
Avatar

Karl ByrneThe true mountain sport, pure speed

20 hours ago
Avatar

Arlen Gilbertpretty much how I imagine I look when I ski.

1 day ago
Avatar

Rachel O'SullivanMichael O'Sullivan this is what I look like on that run

1 day ago
Avatar

Billy GlosWayne Wilkinson is that you?!! Crazy!

20 hours ago

1 Reply

Avatar

Elizabeth HaleIt even feels fun 😁😁

1 day ago
Avatar

Leigh Gallagher WaltersWow

20 hours ago
Avatar

Comment on Facebook

Twitter Feed @Deer_Valley