Top of Siberia at Squaw Valley, now which way down?

The Siberia chairlift at Squaw isn’t as famous as KT-22, Granite Chief or Headwall, but for my 9-year-old it must have felt like the top of the world.

Coming up the lift we had a great view of the main run down the face of the hill, and I could tell Ben was a little nervous. He is a solid intermediate skier, but this was definitely steeper than anything he had done before.

As we stood at the top, I asked him if he thought he wanted to ski the face, or if he would rather take the ridge trail down, which was a bit easier.

“Whatever you want,” he answered a bit too quickly.

I wanted to rip down the face as much as anything in the world, but while I was pretty sure he could handle the hill, I didn’t want to push him into an uncomfortable situation.

“Why don’t we take the ridge this time, and maybe we’ll try the face next time up,” I answered.

“OK,” he answered, and took off down the ridge run.

I am constantly struggling to find the sweet spot between pushing him to try new challenges on the mountain, and trying to keep him comfortable and having fun. Sometimes the hardest part is quieting my selfish inner voice that is desperate for a thrill in the middle of a family ski day.

Later in the morning, we found ourselves over at Shirley Bowl, and he started pushing himself to try tougher and tougher lines off a long traverse. This time when I asked him where he wanted to go, he was confident and excited, without any sign of tentativeness.

We ended up having an amazing time skiing the Shirley Lake area for the rest of the day. We never got back to Siberia that day, but he brought it up again at the end of the day.

“Dad,” he said, “how much harder do you think Siberia is than the far run we did on Shirley Bowl?”

“Not much. The top is a little steeper,” I answered.

“Next time lets try it.”


– Posted on the go.

Location:Squaw Valley, CA

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