Alta is for Skiers (and for babies too!)
If I had a nickel for every time somebody told me to kiss this ski season goodbye (we had our first baby this January) I’d be able to fund a ski trip to Alaska. Or at least buy an over-due pair of intuition liners for my ski boots. If I had a nickel for every time somebody told me to kiss this ski season goodbye (we had our first baby this January) I’d be able to fund a ski trip to Alaska. Or at least buy an over-due pair of intuition liners for my ski boots.
“You’ll never have time to ski," they said.
“Saturdays are for sleeping," they said.
“Say goodbye to your friends," they said.
While it was relatively easy to continue skiing up until a few days before I went into labor, I began to discover that getting up to the mountains with newborn takes a little more planning and work. Okay, a LOT more planning and work. However, the joy of sharing my home mountain with my son, Henrik (we call him Huck), overshadows even the most epic powder runs we’ve skied in Westward Ho.
How to make the magic happen:
Getting up to the ski resort that first time with a newborn can feel a little daunting. We talked about heading up a few times before we were actually brave enough to go (Huck was six days old on his first trip to Alta).
Would it be worth it? In reality, I know we both only get to ski about 5-7 runs each when we go up for a half-day. With all the additional costs of having a baby, should we justify buying passes to ski? One idea is to wait until 1:00 to buy the discounted afternoon passes, and cram in an intense power session (No breaks! No slowing down!). Or buy one full day pass and one afternoon pass, and take turns half way through the day. Even with the additional costs of having a baby (I’m still in denial about the price of diapers), those runs are worth every penny. Can you really put a price tag on a day spent in the mountains as a family?
How would we both get to ski, while minimizing any unhappy-baby-drama? After some thought and consideration (and some trial and error), John and I found a system that works for us. I always ski first, while Huck is freshly changed, recently fed, and is still sleeping from the car ride. I can usually ski 4-5 runs before the baby wakes up and starts to get grouchy. While John skis, I feed the baby. Huck usually starts to nod back off the sleep by the time John is ready for a break. We keep handing the baby off, repeating this process, until the chairs stop spinning.
Who would we ski with? Even though we have a group of friends we meet up with at Alta, John and I have always primarily skied with each other. Solo laps are always a pleasure, but I prefer to ski with friends! By sending out a group text before we head up, we can plan to meet up with various friends throughout the day. My girlfriends have even offered to hang out with Huck while I ski with John! If you have a friend or family member who is generous enough to hang out with your babe while you ski, be sure to leave a fully packed diaper bag (don’t forget a bottle!), to not be gone for long, and to buy a pizza to share (or drinks!) at the end of the day. Be extra good to those friends!
Alta is for newborns:
“What will Huck and I do while Daddy skis” I wondered? Like most of you, my main objective at Alta has always been SKIING. But how would we spend the hours with our son while we weren’t skiing? One of my favorite things to do while I’m hanging out with Huck is putting him in the chest pack and hiking. Bring up a pair of snowshoes (my favorites are these), and head over to the Nordic track! If you don’t have snowshoes (or cross country skis or skate skis), head into the Alta Ski Shop and rent a pair for the day. Hiking might not be as adrenaline packed as skiing down Gunsight, but the sunshine, exercise, and times bonding with your little one are pretty great too!
When my legs are too sore to hike, or Huck needs to eat, we head into Goldminer’s Daughter and hang out around the fireplace. The first time I took Huck upstairs, the number of parents hanging out with babies surprised me. I had never noticed before! Bring a book to read by the fireplace while the baby naps, sit by the wall of windows and watch the skiers, or make friends with the other parents. Oh, and definitely get the nachos.
On those warm, sunny days (we’ve had a few this season) I love to sit outside on the patio with Huck. It’s a great place to people watch, keep an eye out for Daddy, stock up on vitamin D, and say hi to friends. The sunshine, the cold air, being surrounded by the beautiful mountains, snuggling my kid…sigh… It’s not a bad gig. At all.
Packing for two:
Being outside in the mountains with a newborn takes a little more planning and awareness. Babies have sensitive skin, and need help regulating body temperature. Remember, as a rule of thumb, babies need one layer more than you to be comfortable. Aside from the typical diaper bag necessities, here are a few extra items that I have found helpful to pack:
- Hat for the baby
- Insulated snowsuit
- An extra long sleeved outfit (Accidents happen. Often.)
- Sunscreen (Don’t underestimate the powerful high altitude rays)
- Mittens and booties
- Hiking pack
- I bring my own snowshoes
- A book or magazine to read while the baby naps
Even though we aren’t tag teaming all of our favorite runs together this season, heading up to Alta with our baby is a special experience. It’s almost better, in a way. Sometimes I’m racing extra fast on that last run, just to get down and hold my babe a little sooner. While I snuggle Huck by the fireplace, watching all the skiers outside the window, I look forward to the day that he gets to ski at Alta.