There is one in most skiing families – the ski caddie. You see them in the ski shops beginning in late October. They’re hauling kids and skis and boots, getting everyone outfitted for the season. At home, they go through ski bags, count socks and make everyone try on ski pants and gloves. On the mountain they’re count the bags, hand out bag lunches and coordinates the buying of lift tickets and lessons. Usually, they don’t carry a whistle and clipboard, but it has been known to happen.
While there are many fine points to ski caddying, the real key to success is having everyone carry their own gear. There are, of course, caveats and cautions. Having a two year old cross an icy parking lot carrying skis and boots, may or may not be a good idea (depending on the two-year old). And taking the gear of the parent who is squaring away day care to the ski rack is a very nice gesture. But, generally speaking, by and large, everyone carries their own stuff. In my experience as ski caddie (with six seasons under my belt, thank you very much.) I’ve discovered one trick and can suggest one piece of gear, and a mantra that takes some of the sting out of this. The trick is to have the kid hold out his arms, bend his forearms up to create a cradle for skis and poles.
The piece of gear is a backpack specifically designed to carry ski boots. There are a couple of brands on the market. Our Transpack bags have served us long and well. With room for boots, ski pants, helmets and all the other little things needed for the day. (The kids have Edge bags and us ‘rents have X1 bags.)
And finally, the manta. It’s all skiing. The forgotten socks, the lost mittens, the struggle getting boots on and buckled, the demands for overpriced, poorly cooked french fries – it’s all skiing. And there will be a moment – maybe it’ll be when you’re skiing solo down your favorite black diamond, maybe it’ll be on a cruiser with your kids showing you there turns, or over hot chocolate in the lodge, when all the tumblers click in to place, and you know that you’ve hit the jackpot.