To Ski, or Not to Ski?

Zara Khan p26b_ski_patrol_sled_on_chair_lift With President’s Day coming to a close, many Latin families are coming home after a vacation of skiing. Skiing requires skill, clothing, equipments, and most importantly—hundreds of dollars in order to hit the slopes this year. That raises the question—is skiing only for the privileged? The high price of skiing comes from the necessities which are needed to get on the mountain. First, let’s start with Lift Tickets. These passes are what get’s you up the mountain in order for you to be able to ski down. Most resorts price their single day lift tickets in excess of $100. So for a family of five, it costs $500 a day, just to get on the mountain. Next, in order to ski, you must have the proper equipment: warm baseline layers, snow pants, fleece jacket, outer waterproof parka, gloves, hat, helmet, goggles, socks, ski boots, poles, and skis. Most of us, Chicagoans, have the majority of this gear—hats, coats and gloves—but the others—skis, helmets, boots— which are specific to skiing are very expensive. Many ski stores rent this equipment for a set price for a number of days, but some choose to purchase these items so they do not have to deal with previously used rental gear. Ski boots typically range from $700, while skis range from $300-$600. This is an extensive amount of money to spend on things that will probably be used for 3 months out of the year. Then there’s the hotel and travel. Most ski resorts have small airports which are accessible through connecting flights from Denver, which means that Chicago families will have to take two flights to get to their ski village. As for hotels, most families, if they are going on vacation want it to be nice, and after a long day of skiing they want to stay close to the mountain, a ski in and ski out. With a family of five, one hotel room is not going to cut it. Rooms that are ski in and ski out with two or three bedrooms typically cost, give or take, $1,000 for one night. As for food and other miscellaneous things we spend money on, they usually cost more in the village and on the mountain. Lunch, for example, costs three times as much at restaurants on the slopes, because, where else would people get food? With such high costs, why do so many people chose to hit the slopes every year? Skiing makes the short list of sports that allow a whole family to participate as a group. Many families can spend an afternoon at a park, but they probably wouldn’t plan a week’s vacation around it. Looking down from a chairlift on different ski runs, you can spot young kids ripping down the mountain, followed by their parents making slow turns behind them. Its a sport that all ages can enjoy. The other beauty of skiing is that it is a non-competitive sport (unless you race). There are no winners, no losers. You make it from the top to the bottom in one piece, whether with athleticism or a pizza wedge, you’ve succeeded. With the rushes of adrenaline through ripping down a mountain, the breathtaking scenery, the joys of finally mastering parallel turns, and coming together with your family, skiing feels as though it can be worth the hefty price. We at Latin often take for granted the privileges we have, and skiing trips can be a big one. Let’s remember that a number of Latin experiences aren’t universally shared, and not take for granted what we’re given access to.]]>