Karen Gardner reflects on what she has learned as the mom of a ski racer

Article #2517
Published By: Kathy Stahr

What I’ve learned as a ski racer mom

Last week I was at Apex for the NorAm Speed events. Over the past 7 years with a ski racing daughter, I’ve acquired many skills, some of which I really don’t really want and others that I wouldn’t want to live without. I thought I would just share some of those things.

I can put up and take down Barry and crowd control nets (they are different, you know). I know how to roll them properly. I know that when putting up nets, it’s best to be the holder of the drill (if the guys will allow it) as it’s the easiest job. I know that I can’t carry a rolled up net down the hill on skis without hurting myself. It’s a job for the men and athletes.

I know how to gate judge, be a starter, a finish ref, a chief of gates, how to work a radio, how read a results sheet and see who “scored”, make lunches, put panels on gates, set up timing eyes, do intervals...... I know more about ski racing than I ever wanted to know, quite frankly!

All these skills are brilliant but the following are the most important:

  1. I can’t make a big enough batch of Mac’n Cheese or Sticky Toffee Pudding when cooking for the girls.
  2. It’s best not to let the boys’ team know that you’re cooking for the girls’ team.
  3. It’s best to be at the bottom of the course beyond the scary parts above, if they make it that far, the rest is easy and they all look good. (it’s nice to see them all looking “in control”)
  4. It’s better to be at the race than watching live timing.
  5. It’s better if you can keep your eyes open when your child goes by.
  6. It’s great if you can get hold of or be near a radio while the race is on.
  7. The more athletes you get to know, the more you have to worry about.
  8. No matter how many races I watch, I never stop being grateful that I am involved and that all the athletes are safe or at least well looked after at the end of the day.
  9. The people that work at the races; parents, coaches and volunteers are an amazing group of people. There aren’t a more caring group of people trying their best to make the course safe and fair. Thanks to everyone that has worked at a race this year or plans to do so

See you at the next race,

from the Other Karen Gardner (mom of BC Team athlete Emma King)

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