Ski Tips from Local Ski Families

Posted On
Feb 13, 2018

The Graff Family

Steve, Christa, Camden (12) & Bailey (9)

Home Mountain: Deer Valley Resort


Life in the mountains and enjoying the outdoors is one of the highest priorities for our family. Whether we’re skiing, hiking or mountain biking, our time on the mountain always brings so much laughter and truly grounds us as a family. We are all so happy when we’re outside!



I realize that I really set the tone for the day on the mountain. So, no matter what the weather or conditions, I’m always game to take my girls out. If they see Mom being up for anything, it teaches them to do the same. And, even when a day looks so nasty, we always say “any day on the mountain is always a good day.”


No ski day is complete without a Deer Valley cookie. The girls know that if we have a strong day on the mountain, it always ends in the cozy lodge with a Deer Valley cookie. It’s great motivation for them to stay positive and ski hard.


One of my favorite memories is when my girls skied the Daly Chutes for the first time. We knew they were capable but I didn’t want them to be scared as we looked over the cornice. So, my husband and I were busily coming up with a plan that one of us would lead and the other tail so the girls knew we were there to support them. When we finished talking and were ready to head down we realized they were already half way down the chutes asking what was taking us so long. It was so fun to see so much confidence and joy; they didn’t even hesitate.



The Lewis Family

Jeff, Brooke, Issac (18), Jonah (16), Eli (12) & Joshua (9)

Hometown: Centerville

Home Mountain: Park City Mountain


Jeff is a Financial Advisor with Northwestern Mutual in Salt Lake City and was a snowboard instructor at Park City Mountain for 18 years. Their boys have all been skiing or snowboarding since the age of 3. As a family we decided early on that snowboarding/skiing would be a top priority, we had both enjoyed the mountains with our parents and siblings and wanted to make sure that our children had those same opportunities.



-Starting children at a young age you need to make sure they are very comfortable on the first few days especially when it is cold. Have lots of hot chocolate and potty breaks. Don’t focus too much on the ability to make it down the hill without falling. Definitely celebrate the little accomplishments on the mountain. Let them see how happy you are that they are there. We found that gradually increasing the time on the mountain was effective. My wife and I would take turns with the beginners on the bunny hill and the other parent would take the older boys to cruise around on the upper mountain. 


-Create realistic expectations. When the day starts, lay out a plan that is reasonable. Don’t cram in too much. let everyone get really comfortable with the equipment and the beginner terrain. Most injuries occur when someone has pushed beyond their abilities. The worst thing to do is take your whole family to a more advanced area at the top of the mountain and force fear and tears. Be patient with the process. 


One of my favorite memories on the mountain my son Jonah was about 5 and wanted to learn to snowboard. He was struggling with making a turn and took a hard fall. I could see his frustration and wanted him to keep trying because he was so close to making the turn. He looked teary, and I knelt down next to him in the snow and grabbed his helmet and put it against mine so I could look right into his eyes. I said “I am so proud of you for doing this. You got this.” This was the first of many “Helmet Hugs” of encouragement through the years. Fast forward 10 years and we had all of us together on the 6-seater chair lift, oldest to youngest. We all can ride together and the younger ones do a great job keeping up. These moments on the mountain are priceless. Some of the best memories we have as a family are when the snow is deep and we can all go up together. I cherish the time on the mountain when I am on the lift with my sons and we can really talk. They can’t be distracted with media, so they get to tell me how they are doing without interruption.


Connecting with other moms…


Paula Colman lived most of her life down South and started skiing – to be distinguished from standing on skis making online dinner reservations – in her 40s when her family moved to Salt Lake City. “With a half-dozen ski resorts in my backyard, I quickly met fun, active women who cheered me on from bunny hills to double-blacks.” This was the spark that helped create SkiMums, a weekly meetup group, i.e., glorified playdate, for intermediate-to-advanced skiers at Snowbird Mountain Resort (Instagram @skisnowbird). Paula and other Mums discovered, “We just ski better with other women...and we laugh...a lot.”

Paula and hubby Howard have three children (20, 18 and 13). Their schedules and wants are like ski styles. “We’re more pizza than French fries – they sometimes intersect but seldom run parallel. There’s always one kid who has baseball practice or needs to study, another who hates skiing or one who just wants to see us for lunch,” chuckles Paula. Her tip to families is to say “yes” more. “We don’t have to ski the same runs or ski at all. Because most resorts have posh amenities, the pool is often as much fun as the powder.” Snowshoeing, ice fishing, sledding or swimming in the Homestead Crater are ski season favorites. “Make ‘mountain memories’ together.”