The Burton Blog

Sharing The Mountain: Tips From Snowboarding Parents

The "life of a snowboarder" requires long hours in the car, cold days on the mountain, and more gear than you know what to do with. That said, we know it doesn't get any easier when we bring the next generation of riders, our kids, into the picture. We know just how difficult it is to find the motivation to wrangle all the gear, snacks, and toys for a day (or even a single run) on the mountain with our young ones. With all that extra work comes extra rewards, which is sharing what we love, snowboarding, with the next generation of riders.

Whether you're a Burton Team rider or weekend warrior, bringing the family to the mountain can feel like a challenge beyond anything you've experienced on the mountain before. We're here to help make the most of any day on the mountain. So, we sat down with some of the raddest Moms and Dads in snowboarding to learn a little bit more about life on the mountain with kids.

If anyone knows the tips and tricks, ins and outs of riding with kids, it's this crew...

Stand Out Memories From Riding With Your Kids?

I love sharing my passion of being outside in the snow with Chile. Seeing his smile when he's we're riding gets me so stoked

-Mikey Rencz, Burton Team Rider

Maria + Tao (Whistler BC)

I think every parent that loves snowboarding dreams about riding with their kids, but it doesn't happen overnight. The moment that comes to mind was the first time I took Tao Snowboarding. He wasn't patriarchally good, but to be able to share the mountains and my passion with Tao is a very special thing. Over the years it has taken lots of patience and effort to get out boarding with Tao. Convincing him to go ride, meltdowns, tantrums, forgetting things, taking a million breaks and sometimes even going home after one run....learning how to snowboard is hard, but it's all worth it because one day you will go riding and suddenly you are the one following your kid down the mountain. The first time we went riding together was a very big moment for me.

Now I go boarding with Tao and I love following him into side hits and seeing where his creative mind takes him. I can barely keep up with his speed, no joke. These milestones are so amazing to experience but the journey of getting there is part of what makes it so special.

- Maria Thomsen, Burton Team Rider

One of my favorite memories will always be the time I watched the 24-hour snow total pile up and eventually hit three feet. The next morning, we made the decision to head up with our 2-year-old daughter, Sage.

After a few trail runs I asked if she wanted to ride the groomed trail or powder to which she emphatically yelled “Powder!” I was more than happy to fulfill that request and we co-rode off into the waste-deep powder as I held her up on top of the snow only to begin losing my balance while letting out a string of variably pitched ‘whoa’s’ and ‘whaa’s’. The second or two times when we tipped over in the powder with a toddler in hand and the pause to see what her first reaction felt like an eternity that was broken by and soothed the most adorable giggles. Her love of riding powder was officially born that day.

This whole experience felt like the ultimate rebuttal to the age-old assumption that “having kids means no more epic powder days.” I’ve had some amazing powder days in my 25+ years of snowboarding and yet the ones that stand out most are the ones I’ve shared with our young children.

- Robert Garlow & Samantha Garlow

How Did Your Snowboarding Program Change After Having Kids?

You are not just focused on yourself anymore. It´s different when you go snowboarding with other riders than with your own kids. When I go with my kids I am a bit more hesitant in my riding and do everything I can to focus on them while I'm riding. One day they will go by themselves. I think the hardest part of the whole situation is to let them go alone. It`s very important to talk with them about the risks in the backcountry and respect for mother nature.

- Seppl Ramsbacher, Burton Ambassador


It's safe to say that everything is happens at a slower pace and if you didn't have patience before, you will get it. I've learned to lower my expectation. It's a good reminder to enjoy taking a break and riding slow. I personally struggle with and it has been a great life lesson. Getting ready and out the door can be overwhelming especially when kids are young, but it usually feels good when you finally get out.

Just the other day it took so much convincing to get Tao to go snowboarding and I almost gave up. After our first run, he turned to me and thanked me for bringing him, he was having so much fun. It's worth mentioning that since Tao was born, I have a whole new appreciation for snowboarding.

- Maria Thomsen, Burton Team Rider

Tips, Tricks & Words Of Wisdom For Parents Snowboarding With Kids?

  1. Make it fun. The first and most important tip for me is that snowboarding should be fun no matter what age you are, what level of snowboarding you are at, it always should be fun. If you try to force them, they will probably hate it and you have already lost.
  2. Use the right gear. The right gear is essential. Don’t skimp on clothes. When your kid is crying and freezes it makes no sense and isn't fun for anyone. If you are going with your family on a glacier it´s very important to use the right lenses for the google. Over 3000 meters the sun is extremely strong, and you don’t want to have sunburn in your eyes.
  3. Be patient. It should be a cool memory for you and your kids. You must have the right mental attitude going into this and not stress yourself over anything. If you are patient and give them time your kids will love as much as you and then the rewards come in the future.
  4. Bring enough water and food. Children need to drink and snowboard a lot for a longer time, and they will enjoy it more when they have energy.
  5. Don’t forget sunscreen. The higher you are the stronger the sun is.
  6. Explain the rules. But, give them freedom at the same time.
  7. Make going outside a daily thing. If you can't go daily, go as much as possible.

- Seppl Ramsbacher, Burton Ambassador

  1. Ride With Other Kids. We have been alone on a trail and she was very hesitant or scared for me to let go of her and let her coast completely on her own until she saw another kid fly past on ski’s at which point she began requesting that I ‘let Aubrin ride all on her own.
  2. Don't Overreact when they fall. Keep a positive tone, help them up, and continue on. This is a good strategy throughout their entire childhood. It’s important for them to normalize the act of falling as an integral part of the process and not a mistake or failure.
  3. Keep it fun. I intentionally goof off and fall in front of Aubrin to aid in the process of normalizing falling. Even more importantly though, keep it fun by keeping it unstructured.
  4. Have the will to progress come from them. Try to just incorporate learning moments into already occurring things, with a quick explanation about why we may have fallen or how we could avoid it the next time around.
  5. Take breaks, especially snack breaks. Are you even parenting if your day doesn’t revolve around snacks?
  6. Consider getting a seasons pass the year you want to teach your toddler to snowboard. Parents know snowboarding is an expensive commitment, but commitment is exactly what is needed here and you’re probably already invested in toddler gear and their pass will likely be free and it will remove the stress caused by trying to ‘get your money’s worth’ on that day passes.

- Robert Garlow & Samantha Garlow

  1. Adjust Your Expectations. Remember how it was when you first learned to snowboard. It can be an overwhelming and frustrating process. On top of that, there's the trek to the mountain and hauling a bunch of gear around. It's a lot.
  2. Snacks, Snacks and MORE Snacks. They are always a great way to celebrate progression. Whether it's something small like taking a run on the magic carpet or big like trying a new trail, we want to make them feel proud of their accomplishments. It's a reward, not a bribe.
  3. Dress For Success. Fortunately, this concept is pretty straightforward and really comes down to proper planning with weather and gear. So, when you're ready for a full day on the mountain with your kids, make sure you're prepared. Key takeaway, Warm = Fun
  4. Invest In Lessons. A professional snowboard instructors are trained to develop the skills that form the foundation for proper technique. Plus, A lesson can offer some respite for parents who want to explore some steeper terrain or grab an adult beverage in the lodge.
  5. Have Fun! At the end of the day, snowboarding is supposed to be fun and doing it as a family is the best. Make sure you are having fun too.

-The Rasmussen Family