John F. Russell: Making lasting memories on the slopes of Steamboat Springs


John Russell

John Russell's sports column appears Tuesdays in Steamboat Today. Contact him at 871-4209 or email

Find more columns by John here.

— I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday or Sunday than on the slopes of Steamboat Ski Area hanging out with my children.

I’m not sure they would agree, but for the past several years, skiing has been part of our family’s weekend traditions. For me, it’s a chance to collect a lifetime of great memories. For my children, it’s a chance to learn to ski, to have some fun with their old man and hopefully to avoid embarrassment.

Sure, there are times when I question if it’s worth it.

On most weekends, by the time I finally get things rolling, get the lunches packed in my backpack, load the skis on my car and find the gloves, helmets and other assorted items required to keep us all safe and warm, I’m ready to climb back under the covers of my warm bed for the rest of the day.

The truth is, I should clean the house or take care of a long list of chores that I ought to accomplish, but what kind of memories would a day like that make?

I still remember my trips to the slopes when I was a child. Back in the day, when I was my kids’ age, the opportunity to go skiing was like waking up to a mountain of presents on Christmas Day. I was usually prepared to go skiing the previous night. The car was packed and on the road by 6 a.m., and I was filled with enough energy to fuel a full day on the slopes. We typically left when the lifts closed at the end of the day, even if it meant arriving home long after dark because of the traffic. I was only able to ski a few times each winter, and each opportunity was special.

But with the ski slopes just a few minutes away now, it seems like skiing is something I, and my children, take for granted at times. There is no reason to get all the gear ready the night before, no reason to get up early to beat the traffic and no reason to push to be the last off the slopes at the end of the day.

I’m happy skiing is part of my children’s winter, and I’m glad they have the opportunity to take it for granted. Sure, there will be times when I have to pull them out of bed during the weekend, and there will be times when I have to convince them they should spend the day skiing with their dad.

Someday, I hope they will look back on their childhood and realize how great it was to grow up in the shadows of Steamboat Ski Area — and realize that not every child gets that opportunity. Personally, I can’t think of a better way for me to spend my weekends, or for my kids to spend their childhood.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email

or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966

Join the Yampa Valley VIP email club

Yampa Valley VIP


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.