Our family loves skiing, and my two almost-grown daughters have embraced ski racing. It all began with small steps in the snow.
As long as I can remember, my stomach begins to tingle when I see the first snow on the mountains. This is the thrill of knowing that when the snow comes I can go skiing.
It was my grandmother who introduced me to skiing in Sweden when I was 3-years-old. She put me on a pair of red wooden skis, and fastened my snow boots with a leather strap. Off we went down the street. Today skiing is as natural as walking to me. I don’t have to think. My body knows what to do when there is a steep pitch, bad visibility or icy conditions. The love of skiing was passed down to me from my grandmother and later my parents. Of course, this was something I wanted to pass on to my own children when I got the opportunity.
When my two girls were only babies, my husband and I would borrow a small sled with skis. We covered the girls with blankets and sheepskins and went to Spring Gulch, where we pulled our daughters behind us.
It did not take long before we had our own red wooden skis to strap on our daughter’s snow boots and shuffle down the track. With lots of encouragement in the form of hot chocolate and Starbursts, we finally made it one lap around the bottom of Spring Gulch ski area.
We used the same tactics with our girls to get them down Panda Peak at Buttermilk. Before we knew it, both enrolled in the Aspen Valley Ski Club (AVSC) ski school to learn how to Alpine ski.
A Homegrown After School Program
At this time there were no Nordic children’s programs at Spring Gulch. So a group of parents decided that we should all meet on Wednesdays after school and take our kids cross-country skiing. This made it more fun for our kids, as they thought it was “boring” to ski with mom and dad. This continued for a couple of winters, and the number of children and families increased. We named ourselves “Nordic Wolves“ and spent most Wednesdays in January and February playing and encouraging kids to have fun on their cross-country skis. With no formal instruction, only a few Nordic skiing parents, we reached out to AVSC to see if they would be interested in having their ski program come down to Spring Gulch once a week, and this was the beginning of their Nordic after school program that now serves 80-90 children and their families.
Keeping it Fun & Optional
During these years when our girls were small (3-10 years old) I was consciously trying not to push my own passion for skiing and make my girls feel that skiing was a requirement or a must. I tried to make it fun and optional to ski. As it turned out, my elder daughter Evelina decided she loved to cross-country ski and her sister Kajsa decided that she loved Alpine skiing, though they both are very capable at both disciplines.
Finding their own way
My younger daughter Kajsa continued ski racing through the AVSC Alpine program until she graduated from Roaring Fork High School, ending her competitive career skiing for Aspen High School, as there is no high school Alpine program at RFHS.
Meanwhile, my other daughter Evelina ended up ski racing in the AVSC Nordic program in Aspen. Then she joined the cross-country team at Colorado Rocky Mountain School (CRMS) where, as a freshman, she won the state championship. This gave her even more inspiration to pursue cross-country skiing.
With my Swedish background, Evelina decided she wanted to spend a year abroad and Sweden seemed a good choice. She spoke a little Swedish and could continue ski racing at a Nordic ski academy. One year ended up being five years of Nordic skiing before Evelina returned to the US to ski for the University of Vermont, where she is currently a junior. Last season, she won every eastern college skate race and was third at the NCAA Championships – only 1 second off first place. So this year she is aiming for the top spot in the NCAA as well as hopefully qualifying for a World Cup start representing the U.S.
All this because of the love of skiing.
As a family, we absolutely love skiing together. I cannot think of a better day than spending it on the Alpine hill or at the Nordic track. I hope my daughters will get the same enjoyment out of this wonderful sport and continue the tradition of skiing.
Gabriella “Gella” Sutro started skiing in Sweden as a very young child. She moved to Carbondale 30 years ago to be close to the mountains and skiing. Here, she met her husband Tripp, and they both try to get out and ski as much as they can. Gella has worked for Coldwell Banker Mason Morse for 27 years.
A Guide to Camping Lake Powell With Boats
Part 3: Teenagers and parents find unexpected connection on a boat.
Guide to camping at Lake Powell [Part 1]
Part 1: Packing list, weather conditions and more advice for camping at Lake Powell with kids.
Guide to camping at Lake Powell [Part 2]: No Boats Needed
Part 2: Recommendations for specific car camping sites at Lake Powell.
Ticks in Colorado
Facts and local knowledge about our least favorite “trail buddies” – TICKS!
Dream Pool Design Contest
Time for a new pool in Carbondale.
C-19 & Local Swimming Pools
Parenting During Turmoil
An interview with art therapist Helena Hurrell
MP’s Diversity Booklist
Summer Reading 2020
A summer-long series about loving this place while flattening the curve.
Summer Camp Planner
Find the latest COVID program updates for summer camps and classes. Camps are happening!
Up-cycle an empty pet food bag for this easy project.
Roaring Fork Nature Parks
A “Wild at Heart” map of nearby places to discover (or rediscover) with your child.
Mothers Day Tribute
Three local women who exemplify Julia Ward Howe’s Proclamation of Peace.
A tragic fact of nature? Or way to find your wings?
Good Sports: Lacrosse
With the ROARING FORK LACROSSE CLUB, everyone is included and “it’s just fun.”
Helping Hands: Lucky Day Animal Rescue
This foster-based rescue group helps connect pets with their forever families.
MP Trail Map: Winter Hut Trips
A family-friendly guide to planning an adventure to one of Colorado’s backcountry huts.
Writing By Hand
What can parents do to help their children learn this life skill?
A mother redefines HEALTHY after her daughter’s Leukodystrophy diagnosis
DIY: Upcycled Owl
Spread your wings to make this cuddly stuffed owl designed by Handmakery’s Ami Maes.
Aspen Snowmass Nordic Trail System
MP Trail Map: A guide to Roaring Fork Valley cross-country ski trails.
Meet local eco-chocolate maker Mark Burrows.
Helping Hands: Roaring Fork Valley Kids Who Care
Act Locally: A student-led effort to save Sea Turtles and Rainforests.
Good Sports: Challenge Aspen
Q&A with Special Olympics and NASTAR ski racer Tanner Jadwin
Nighttime Family Staycation
Wintertime fun after dark with the kids.
DIY: Spa Day
Make your own bath time bliss at home.
The McBride Internship: Kenya
Roaring Fork Valley students visit Kenya’s Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.
Good Sports: Ski Racing
For this mother and her daughters, skiing is among their earliest memories.
Giving the best present of all: Ourselves
Helping Hands: LIFT-UP
Can you feed your family breakfast, lunch, and dinner for $4 per person per day?
Helping Hands: The Farm Collaborative
Farm-to-Table meets Food Insecurity
Q&A: Honeybee Play
Q&A with the teenage creators of a new original musical
Helping Hands: Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Folklórico
An award-winning after school dance program that’s about more than dancing. It’s a cultural bridge.
Getting Into College
Making sense of college admission statistics
Good Sports: BMX Biking
Crown Mountain Park’s bike racing facility has expanded into a world-class race course.
Harvest Road Trip
Drive Highway 133 from Carbondale to Hotchkiss and make new friends at our nearby farms.
Helping Hands: Way of Compassion Bike Project
One man’s trash is, indeed, another man’s treasure.
MP Trail Map: Mount Elbert
Your child’s first fourteener can also be Colorado’s highest peak.
Good Sports: Sailing
Aspen Rec Department’s Don Sheeley Sailing School
Find Yourself in the Lost Forest
Discover Aspen Skiing Company’s Lost Forest adventure park.
DIY: Skateboard Swing
Turn a discarded skateboard into a big backyard hit.
MORE to FIND in the LOST FOREST
Lots to do in the Aspen Snowmass Lost Forest
DIY: Portraits of Your Children
How to capture magical frame-worthy photos
Helping Hands: Colorado Animal Rescue
C.A.R.E. can help you figure out what kind of adoptable pet is right for you and your household.
Good Sports: Baseball
A Glenwood Springs High School graduate and college baseball recruit shares what he learned at the ballpark.
Homelife Recipes: Backyard Burgers
Q&A with Jerilyn Nieslanik about how to avoided the dreaded hockey puck burger
MP Trail Map: Hartman Rocks
High desert mountain biking between Crested Butte and Gunnison
Citizens of the World
Roaring Fork High School students become world travelers through an all-inclusive club
Where to find Wildlife
Learn about the untamed creatures you might encounter in our mountain forests and meadows.
The Art of Being ENOUGH
A Motherhood Manifesto
Yampah Mountain High School’s Teen Parent Program
A campus in Glenwood Springs where each student is met exactly how they are.
LGBTQ+ Inclusion in Roaring Fork Valley Schools
A community-wide PRIDE parade + other other Valley-wide efforts to welcome everyone.
Good Sports: Soccer
Reflections from an Aspen HIgh School midfielder and member of an elite all-valley women’s team.
MP Trail Map: Navajo Rocks
A family-friendly mountain biking destination near Moab, Utah
Helping Hands: Mountain Valley Developmental Services Greenhouse
A nonprofit gardening center where developmentally disabled adults work (and bloom).
Homelife Recipes: Passover Seder
Rabbi Emily Segal of Aspen Jewish Congregation reflects on this sacred meal (and shares her recipe for Matzah crack)
Good Sports: Black Belt
A RFHS student and Rising Crane Training Center Cuong Nhu black belt shares her accomplishment.
MP’s Cover Artists: Lily and Elana Royer
Meet the mother-daughter creative team behind Lilybart
DIY: Chinese New Year Dragon Puppet
Step-By-Step instructions for making a fun puppet at home.