My husband, Steve, and I have been living and skiing in northern New Mexico for 16 years. We’ve had epic powder season, when we skied Taos nearly every weekend and drought seasons when we had to settle for skinning up our local ski area and carving wide wale. Steve scored some great backcountry seasons, with hut trips to British Columbia. Then I had pregnant seasons (hiking Kachina Peak at 5 months along—maybe not the wisest idea?) and newborn seasons, when my ski days were curtailed by ravenous infants and, when I did venture farther afield, my pump was part of the package. I’ve expressed milk in ski area parking lots, cafeteria bathrooms, and SnoCats, but never—thank God—on a chairlift.
Now that our two daughters are emerging from babyhood and are learning to ski, we’re having kid seasons. We’re enormously lucky to have a decent resort just 25 minutes up the road, but it’s still a schlep to get girls and gear to the lifts, and on the best days, we only manage to sneak in few runs ourselves. So all winter we’ve been fantasizing about getting out of the area and into the backcountry, where—away from the vacationing crowds, the lure of hot chocolate in the lodge, the occasional parking lot tantrum—skiing as a family would be simpler, more relaxing. Or so we thought.