Skiing has always been a significant part of my life. Whether it was begging for more at age 2 or my years racing on the World Cup circuit, the fluffy white stuff has always been a huge part of who I am. So when my daughter came into the world, it seemed only natural to share the joys of the slopes with her — or so I thought!

I’ve written about my trials and the ENORMOUS learning curve with my strong-willed, spunky daughter, Freya. Truthfully, I should not have been surprised that our skiing adventures would continue to challenge my idea of the “norm.” Yet, it does. How can a daughter of two Olympian parents not like skiing? Well, if anyone knows kids, you can relate that this is a learning process for parents as much as it is for our little loves.

In my current journey, I’ve learned the following:

Zero Expectations

We’ve all been there. Magical visions of our ski day with our kids, which usually include ear-to-ear smiles, snowflakes magically landing on their cute, red noses and smiles all around.

Reality usually includes lugging an ungodly amount of equipment while your child refuses to wear gloves, a hat or anything remotely necessary for a cold-weather adventure. This is often coupled with fits over the boots or snow pants, which usually comes to a crescendo with both being kicked off before you even make it to the slopes.

After a few episodes of tears (yes from me), pouring sweat and wondering why the heck am I doing this, I’ve come to the realization that we need to take some baby steps and enjoy the small joys. Lately, this has included simply walking around the base area, talking about the people having so much fun skiing, gondola rides while looking for moose and even riding up the magic carpet only to walk down.

Yes, none of those actually include skiing, but, hey, we’re working into it. So much of skiing is about the whole experience, and I figure the more comfortable my daughter is with these aspects, the actual skiing part will be a bonus. Well, that’s what I keep telling myself.

Roll with it

The more adamant I’ve been about trying to tackle our day on the slopes, the bigger the resistance has been. So I’m learning to approach each adventure with an open mind.

Too often, we put our own wants and agendas on our kids, which rarely has the intended results. Our kids are their own people with interests and passions unique to them. Our job is to foster their love and appreciation for life and nurture their individual passions.

Exposure is important, and I hope to continue to allow my daughter to experience all the greatness of skiing, allowing her to form her own path. I just hope it includes a some turns together sometime soon!


Caroline Lalive Carmichael moved to Steamboat with her family in 1995 and joined the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. After one season, Caroline was named to the U.S. Ski Team and competed for 13 years, attending two Olympics. After retiring in 2009, she returned to Steamboat as a coach. She and fellow Olympian Nelson Carmichael were married in 2012 and welcomed their daughter, Freya, in 2015.