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The Memories Aren't Washable but the Sweater is Ruined




Parenting at 7,000 feet has its challenges. We shovel, a lot, and I don’t just mean snow. We grocery shop, in the snow, we pick our kids up, in the snow, we leave the house on Saturdays and Sundays to teach them to ski, snowboard, and ride a chairlift, in the snow, in the hopes that one day, we will enjoy these activities without knowing there’s a pee-soaked base-layer beneath their bib.

"...we leave the house on Saturdays and Sundays to teach them to ski, snowboard, and ride a chairlift, in the snow, in the hopes that one day we will enjoy these activities without knowing there’s a pee-soaked base-layer beneath their bib."

So when I awoke one Saturday morning to join my friend and her kids for the only free activity in town that didn't involve snow, I was shocked to pull my daughter’s clothes from the washing machine that afternoon to find the paint she’d used to go full-send on a Santa Mailbox was forever soaked into the sleeves of her yellow sweater. It was at that moment (and the one later where I dodged green knee-height frosting) that I realized the insights of parenting, like washable paint and intuitively wearing my less-than-favorite jeans to a cookie decorating event, can only be experienced first-hand.

"It was at that moment (and the one later where I dodged green knee-height frosting) that I realized the insights of parenting, like washable paint and intuitively wearing my less-than-favorite jeans to a cookie decorating event, can only be experienced first-hand."

I’m from Southern California. The hardest part of my weekend excursions growing up was enduring the wired bristles from my mother’s hand-held broom as she brushed the sand from my feet before leaving the beach. This morning, in 20 degrees, I brushed the boogers from my daughters already cold nose with an almost frozen wet wipe (that had spent the night in my car). As we drove to school, the blood had rushed to her face in all the places I’d wiped (with what was essentially a dry ice cube, sorry about that baby girl) and I dropped her off looking like she'd overdone the rouge. When I think about raising kids at this altitude, in eight months of cold weather, it makes perfect sense why Park City is essentially a town of snowmen in patagonia.


Yet, we’ve chosen this. Either because we are passionate about mountain biking and endure the winter (I'll raise my hand here), or because we’re dreaming of the day all this winter-ing will pay off. Dreaming of the day we can ride side-by-side down the mountain next to our kids without the mild sent of urine filling the air (although by then, perhaps the tables will have turned). It’s the harder choice, by far. And yet, so many of us have stuck around. We’re still here. Season after season, cold wipe after wet butt, we continue to call this small community, home.


2023 will be my sixth winter in Park City. And like my daughter’s yellow sweater, I will emerge from Autumn with a beautiful mark on my heart for what this town, these mountains, and this community has given me and my family. It’s not easy. And yes, if we’re going to host events for kids under 10, let’s prioritize washable paint, but there’s a prize to be won for those who can endure the bumps and bruises of raising a family in the extreme; a badge to be collected, a stain to be earned, a memory I can never wash away.




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