A Mom’s take on Snowburners
By: Stacey Glaser
Two winters ago, when my daughters were 6 and 8, I enrolled them in Purgatory’s local ski school program, Snowburners. This long-standing program has introduced and sharpened the ski and snowboard skills of hundreds of kids every season – and I’m really excited Snowburners is now available at our sister ski area, Snowbowl.
As a parent, here is what I love about Snowburners and the lessons I learned along the way:
Snowburners will improve your kids’ skills.
Some of my friends have dreams of their kids making it to the Olympics. Others have aspirations of simply being able to ski together, as a family. I landed somewhere in the middle: my girls had a basic understanding of skiing already, but I wanted to help them continue to progress (and, besides, a 6-year-old doesn’t seem to resist instruction with a professional coach like she does with her mom). I’m proud to report that we entered our first Snowburners season firmly in the “pizza” wedge and, when we completed the 8-week program, both of my girls were making parallel turns (otherwise known as the correct way to ski). I often find myself asking them to show me what they’ve learned so I can improve my technique, too. (TIP: Snowburner parents receive discounts on lessons! So, rather than asking your kids to parrot back what they learned, take a discounted lesson while you’re kids are in Snowburners.)
Arrive early, bring layers, pack snacks.
I’ve done both the half- and full-day Snowburner programs, and I’ve learned that arriving to the Snowburners meeting location (at Snowbowl, this will be Hart Prairie Beginner Area) at least 15 minutes early allows time for inevitable kid situations, such as: bathroom requests (even though you. just. went.), impromptu snowball fights, retrieving dropped gloves, etc. You know the drill.
When packing (I typically put everything in a large bag to help keep all of our stuff corralled and not lost in my trunk), I always bring an extra layer. That way, we’re covered (pun intended) if it’s warmer or colder than expected. Our go-to outfit includes 1 good pair of ski socks, a base layer top and bottom (anything not 100% cotton), a fleece vest, a winter jacket and pants, ski gloves or mittens, goggles and a helmet. See a great layering tutorial here.
Also, and this is clutch: throw some snacks in your kids’ pockets. All Snowburner participants will receive a coveted hot chocolate at every lesson, but snacks can often save the day – even if they’re held in reserves until the walk to the car.
My kids have fun! And I do, too!
Snowburner instructors are hand-picked to coach children, and they really make things fun: they find the coolest spots on the mountain, they play games (that are actually drills in disguise), they explore a variety of kid-friendly terrain and they inspire the kiddos to try new things – all while developing their ski or snowboard abilities. Plus, while my daughters were out having a blast with their fellow Snowburners-in-training, I get to enjoy a few hours of solo time: I typically took a few laps with my husband or friends, but I sometimes used the time to catch up on email or my social media feed in the comfort of the lodge.
In short, would I do Snowburners again?
Absolutely. As a matter of fact, I’ve signed them up already.