Miller: A skiing legacy |

Miller: A skiing legacy

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Last Saturday, I took my 15-year-old daughter way up Copper’s Sierra lift, and we made our way over to the Union Meadows area. Kaylie has newly discovered skiing this year after some “lost” years on a snowboard or doing nothing at all, and one thing she’s discovered is something many of us know quite well: Powder skiing is an awful lot of fun.

When we got to a place that was relatively untracked, I pointed them down and Kaylie followed. The snow was nearly a foot deep back there, and I was rewarded for the effort of getting there when I heard Kaylie yell out behind me: “Dad! This is awesome! It’s like I’m flying.”

That put a smile on my face, and reminded me once again of how wonderful snowsports are at bringing family together. Whether it’s a multi-generational family from Iowa renting a house for the weekend or a local dad such as myself out there with the kids, skiing or boarding is a common ground for so many of us. For Kaylie and I ” as it has been for two of my other three sons ” skiing is an activity we can easily agree upon.

For my kids, although they may not know it, their skiing legacy goes back to the Vermont of the early 1960s. My father, a New York City firefighter, had the kind of schedule that allowed a lot of long weekends, and he and his friends had decided after numerous trials of other areas that Stowe, Vermont was the best place to go. It was a seven-hour drive from our home on Long Island, and we did it all the time.

I don’t know if someone suggested that first ski trip to my dad or if he just thought it sounded like fun. But in every skiing family there has to be that first person to strap on the boards (or, OK, board) and hit the hill. Chances are if the experience is good, that person will return ” perhaps with a mate, or with friends or some kind of ski group. Those early days may later translate into extended trips, the condo or second-home purchase and spreading the love of sliding to children, grandchildren and so on.

I’m here today because that first trip to ski by my dad 50-some-odd years ago was the seed for what turned into a skiing family. I’m here in Summit County because it’s a ski county, and when my dad retired from NYFD (I was 16), this is where he wanted to move. All five of our children ski or board as a result of the legacy handed down. Now, that’s not to say that they wouldn’t have found the sport on their own, and that plenty of people don’t take up skiing without the legacy factor. But as ski resorts know, the legacy seed is as strong a marketing tool as they’d ever wish for, and it’s why so many of the programs they advance are focused on family and getting kids to learn how to ski or ride.

As we zoom into the last six weeks of the ski season and the doldrums of shoulder season beyond, it’s a good time to take advantage of these hills full of snow ” and remember they’re a good part of the reason we live here. We all know the techniques for avoiding the most crowded roads and trails, and if taking a day off work to ski on a Monday is what it takes, well, so be it.

When I hear my kids say they’re “flying” out there, that’s enough for me.

Editor Alex Miller can be reached at or 970-668-4618.

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