Baby on Board: Snowboarding with Kids

Last year was the first season I didn't ski or snowboard since I was 4, breaking my 25 year streak. I will be taking a break from teaching this season -- only leading a few clinics here and there. In high school and college, I went faithfully to the mountain with splints on my wrists and braces on my knees; in those days missing a season was unthinkable. Oh how things change.

I skipped last season during my pregnancy and had a baby girl in April 2010. Since then, I find it difficult to get out. 'Get out' in the most general sense of the word; walking the dog, grocery shopping, etc. Between breast feeding and peek-a-boo, washing diapers and The Very Hungry Caterpillar, my time no longer belongs to me.

But none of that is unusual for a mom. What is unusual is that I don't even care. My desire to be with the baby overpowers my tug toward the mountain by a long-shot.

I went to Breckenridge, CO for 11 days in December. With my mom willing to watch Maggie, I got in a few hours of snowboarding and skiing a day, including two pretty awesome powder days. It was great and made me feel really lucky -- but it was different than before.

1. Instead of riding until my legs give out, I could be away just 2.5 hours before baby needed to eat. Coincidentally, my legs will now give out after 2.5 hours.

2. I looked at little kids learning to ski and got all squishy, imagining the day I could teach my baby to ski.

3. No matter how preoccupied I was with turns or lift lines, my mind always drifted back to baby. Does Grandma know how much liquid to add to her rice cereal? How long did she nap? Will she need a diaper when I get home?

4. I don't have any interest in reading about or watching snowboarding. Not that I've become a one-dimensional mommy-brain who only reads about sleeping through the night and diaper creams; but the topics are so far away from my life I now find them irrelevant. Like reading the manual for a gadget I'll never own. And since it's written for a 16-year old boy, I feel even older and more out of touch. Somehow I don't belong to the club anymore. Would I read about snowboarding moms or teaching my kid to ski? Probably, if I had the time. There's not much content out there, but I've taken the time to read it before: Shred Mommies

5. Unlike previous years pushing my riding to progress, now I just cruise around and get home to my baby in one piece.

6. I felt guilty that I was snowboarding and someone else was watching my baby.

I suppose my experience isn't too different from other snowboarding moms. Rick has a 2 and 4-year old, so he has thought about this for a while. There are a lot of challenges I didn't understand until now. The demands of child rearing, jobs, the need for family time as well as basic logistics (like who will babysit) all intercept snowboard plans. Often both dads and moms find themselves taking a hiatus from snowsports until their kids can participate.

Stay tuned for more discussion and experiences as Rick and I continue to learn about balancing family and snowboarding. We'd love to learn how others made the transition from 'snowboarder' to 'snowboarding family.'