By guest author Eaton Dunkelberger
Fellow dads, Sky Tavern is a great way to punch your dad/dude card this winter. For the price of a season of soccer (with cleats), you can give the gift of a new sport to your kiddos while doing some serious Dad Stuff. I joined Sky Tavern with my (then) 4 year old 2 years ago. I can’t wait for Sky Tavern to start up again this January, because it brings all the great parts of being a dad into focus.
1. You get to be an expert
Each parent is a volunteer on the hill, and since I taught skiing in the Marines, I figured I could take on a couple 4-year-olds and teach them. I made the rookie mistake of telling those 4 year olds that teaching kids was new to me, and I’d need their support to make it work. Well, they ate me alive! But, the next week I was back with 2 new 4-year-olds acting like an old hand and getting those kids on a ski lift for their first time. It feels amazing to share this sport with kids as their ‘expert’.
2. You do manly dad-stuff
Last winter I had the distinct pleasure of manning up with fellow dads to snow-blow the roof of the lodge and dig out a bus from 8ft drifts. I’ve heard from other dads who’ve fixed lifts, built new terrain park features, or joined ski patrol. You know, dad stuff!
3. Your kids (and you) quickly become independent skiers
Professional ski instructors and their legions of trained parents teach the kids each morning, followed by free skiing with (or without) your kids. Last year I got an invite to join a friend in town in Tahoe for a ski day. I was on kid duty, so I took my five year old along. After 1 season of Sky Tavern, my son was keeping up on the intermediate slopes enough to allow 2 adults to have an awesome ski day. It works for the kids, and the Instructors provide free adult lessons in the afternoons, to help make sure everyone on the mountain is improving.
4. You meet some great dads
There is a strong bond that forms through parents stepping up together to make positive things happen for kids. From Sky Tavern, I’ve met dads who’ve gotten together over cigars, dinners, and hikes. I’m not originally from Reno, and I’ve found the parents who volunteer to make Sky Tavern run are a great group of dads to meet. As a volunteer-run organization to keep skiing affordable, Sky Tavern attracts folks who can go with the flow – always a great start when meeting new people!
For 70 years, the dads of Washoe County have been making sure all our kids have a chance to learn to ski, and in the process they’ve done some heroic things to keep the program strong.
Go be an awesome dad this winter and join Sky Tavern – you and your kids won’t regret it.
– Eaton Dunkelberger