The Burton Blog

Start Them Young: Teaching a Love for Nature Through Snowboarding

by Kate Ediger

They say life as you know it ends when you have kids.

“You’ll never get to do what you want” and “all your dreams are on hold” ­– I heard these things often before having kids, but always laughed them off. As I snowboarded while carrying my son in my belly, free as a bird, I knew full well that I would prove them wrong. Not only does life not suck, but it is much deeper and more meaningful now. I continue to do what I love most, and now get to share it with my son, Timber!

Burton Ambassador Kate Ediger's son
Burton Ambassador Kate Ediger and her son snowboarding

The truth is, life doesn’t have to end. In fact, you may even enjoy it more with a kid. Little did these people know that being a mom was genuinely the coolest thing that had ever happened to me. One day, after all the hard work in the early years was put in, I heard the sweetest words: “Momma this is so gorgeous, these mountains are amazing. I’m having so much fun!” In that moment, I realized that I was seizing the chance to raise another person to enjoy life to the fullest, just as I have been able to do.

I was seizing the chance to raise another person to enjoy life to the fullest, just as I have been able to do.

Getting to snowboard together as a family has been quite a privilege. I did the dirty work early, getting Timber started as soon as he could walk. Right off the bat, we would go every day we could. Patience is key and making it fun is what it’s all about (lots of Smarties didn’t hurt, either). Some days I would carry everything – even Timber – down the mountain. I would plan our afternoons around a nap, have plenty of snacks on hand, and lug everything we had when Timber would fall asleep in the gondola or have a meltdown. I would remind myself that we all have bad days, and if I made this enjoyable, he would soon learn to love it, too.

Burton Ambassador Kate Ediger snowboarding with her son on her back

Then, as if it happened overnight, it all clicked for Timber. He suddenly understood how to ride and his fear started to fade away. He now finds gliding down the mountain to be the most fun thing he’s ever done: moving around terrain just like a playground, spotting features and learning to truly enjoy nature. He is in awe of its beauty. It astonished me that, at such a young age, this beautiful sense of freedom that snowboarding provides is already ingrained in him. Ingrained in both of us.

Burton Ambassador Kate Ediger and her son
Burton Ambassador Kate Ediger catching some air
Then, as if it happened overnight, it all clicked for Timber.

I know every parent is proud of their kid, but what really impressed me was when we (my partner Tristan, Timber, and I) went down to Whistler to shoot with Burton photographer Jesse Dawson for the Deep Winter Photo Challenge. There was a tight schedule, crazy blizzard, deep fog, and strong winds that weekend. It was also a big, new mountain that Timber had never been to, but we all decided to go to the summit. Assuming the worst, I told myself not to put any pressure on Timber, even if that meant an exhausting ride down with him on my back. Shockingly, he impressed us all with no fear, not even being fazed by the inclement weather. He excitedly rode down the mountain, the most cheerful of our group. Timber wasn't holding us back, but instead he was teaching us valuable lessons about being brave and enjoying the moment.

This time together as a family is what we will remember most about life. I will forever be grateful to have a built-in shred partner now, and I am so excited for our future adventures together.

Burton Ambassador Kate Ediger, her friend, and her son

Interested in becoming a snowboarding family? Check out the Burton Learn to Ride program.


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