Be Their Parent, Not Their Coach

Alice Black

Alpine Program Manager, Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club

I grew up in Romania, where everyone is a gymnast. Although my parents had no background in skiing, they wanted me to try something different, so they put me in ski lessons. By age 7, I was on a travel team. Fast forward a few years and I secured a spot on the Romanian Junior National Team. At 18, I moved to the United States to continue to pursue skiing, a sport that afforded me an incredible amount of opportunity: a college education, a career in ski racing, and eventually, a life in the Roaring Fork Valley working for the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club.

Given that skiing has been such an integral part of my life, I figured that I was more than qualified to teach my daughter, Lara, then three-and-a-half, to ski last season. Although I’d already signed her up for AVSC’s Base Camp program, I figured I’d give it a shot before her lessons started. After several failed attempts (and many hot cocoa bribes), I hoped that a Ski Pro would have the magic touch that I was missing. Just a few Powder Panda lessons later, Lara was turning, stopping, and grasping basic technical concepts with ease. Best of all, she was ending each day with a smile.

Many parents in the Roaring Fork Valley are adept skiers and snowboarders and may not see the need to involve others in their children’s development as winter sport athletes. Others, like my parents, have no background in the sport and may feel overwhelmed by the prospect of taking on something new. Either way, it can be hard to hand your child’s athletic development over to someone else. With ski groups starting this time of year, I wanted to share what I see as the main benefits for participation.