Kids on SkisWedge your kid’s feet into ski boots, lock them onto a pair of skis, and, sooner or sometime in the near future, a hoary joke will become a reality.

Here’s how it happened in the Gordon family: We were on a ski holiday, enjoying the snow-clad, soaring mountains at Colorado’s Steamboat Springs. A powerful, short storm swept across the area one day, dumping more than a foot of powdery snow. The next morning we were up early, hustling to catch the first lifts, dazzled by the thought of hitting snow that the plows were quickly packing down on all but the black and doubleblack pitches.

Splendid. We were as delirious as the several thousand other skiers around us when the sun burst through the clouds in midmoming.

Skiing was almost nonstop. At the bottom of every run the girls, then 12 years old, were the first ones onto the next chair up. I must admit to a sense of inner excitement watching them, their golden red hair flying in the wind, as they carved their way down the packed-powder runs and bounced through the bumps with elan and skill.

Coasting to a stop at the base area after a long, exhausting run, my wife said she was ready for lunch. I sighed that my weary bones, too, were groaning for a rest.

“It’s too early, Mom,” the girls complained. “Can’t we take one more run first?”

My wife turned to me. “You want to go with them? I’ve got to head for the john. I’ll meet you all in the cafeteria.”

“Okay, Dad,” they shouted. “Let’s go.” I followed, reluctantly.

Climbing out of the gondola that had carried us swiftly to the summit, the girls headed immediately toward black and double-black pitches covered with powder snow untouched by the cats.

“We haven’t gone down this way,” one called out. “This is the way,” the other yelled at me.

I hesitated. I’d skied those steeps in the past but now, well, I stopped and looked down.

It was then I heard the saddest words on the mountain: “Follow us, Dad.”

I smiled, wan and weary, and said: “Hey, go on. I’ll meet you at the bottom.” Their words, as they flashed over the crest and hurtled down, kept rattling around in my ears: “Follow us, Dad.”

I caught up with them at the cafeteria, jammed with hungry skiers. They already had their platters heaped with food and were waiting at a table with their mom by the time I’d locked up my skis and wobbled inside.

Yes, it happens. Young legs. Bodies alive with vibrant muscle. Anxious to challenge whatever the mountains offer. And the skill to succeed.

“Follow us, Dad.”

Sooner or later, every skiing parent will hear those words.

Before it happens to you, let’s look at some of the key ingredients in taking kids, from three-month-olds to teenagers, skiing.

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