Almost every weekend in winter, the Neville family skis. Their activity means that for them, “winter flies by. We’re looking forward to every Saturday,” says Kevin Neville, a clinical assistant professor of physical therapy in Upstate’s College of Health Professions.
That’s reason No. 1 to ski. Neville provides five more:
* You can stay toasty with the right gear.
Outdoor clothing is less bulky these days, but layers are still important. Start with long underwear and include a turtleneck. Be prepared to zip up your jacket on the lift, when you’re most apt to catch a chill.
Safety helmets also do a great job of keeping your head warm.
For your hands, make sure to wear good gloves, maybe even with disposable hand warmers on particularly cold days.
* You don’t have to spend a fortune.
Buy used equipment, especially for growing children and especially if you are new to the sport. Shop around and you can find packages that include boots, skis and poles for less than $200.
Choose boots that fit properly. “Your feet actually work when you’re skiing. They need to be comfortable,” Neville says.
And, make sure your bindings are adjusted to the individual.
* You can choose your challenge; downhill skiing is not just for thrill-seekers.
“I’m not a skier who skis for the edge of disaster,” Neville says. “That did not even appeal to me as a teenager.” Today he likes to take easy runs with his younger kid and mix it up with more challenging runs with his teenager.
Trails down the mountain are labeled as green circles, blue squares or black diamonds – for beginner, intermediate or advanced skiers. Some ski centers have double black diamond runs that are reserved for experts. Many also have terrain parks for stunt skiing.
* It counts as exercise.
“It’s not exercise like going for a 30-minute jog, but coming down the hill, you’re working,” Neville says. And it beats sitting on the couch all weekend.
* It provides quality time.
What inspires bonding better than a thermos of cocoa in the lodge between runs?
In addition, riding the lift takes several minutes, providing a stretch of one-on-one time with father and child, or father and mother. As Neville explains, “It’s a chance to have 10 minutes talking time with my wife — without a child interrupting.”