By LeRae Haynes –

Aiden and Garrett Cochrane and their parents Suzanne and Carl love to pile in the family vehicle and hit the slopes for some skiing. Regulars at Mt. Timothy Ski Hill, they grab every opportunity to enjoy winter in the beautiful Cariboo outdoors.-

Garrett and Aiden Cochrane enjoy a family ski day with their dad, Karl Fischer. Photo: Suzanne Cochrane

Aiden, six years old, and Garrett, 13, have both been skiing since they were about four years old.

“I like doing my favourite runs that have the bumps and the jumps,” says Aiden, “and powder snow is the best—I call it sugar!”

“Having kids outside in the winter is great,” Suzanne says with a laugh.“It’s not contained energy in the house.”

She explains that skiing is something they all do together. “With the ski swaps, buy and sell sites, and knowing other people, you create an equipment network. Some gear gets passed down from Garrett to Aiden, and Caribou Ski has great deals in town for when kids grow out of equipment,” she continues.

Garrett got his start cross-country skiing at Bull Mountain, then took downhill lessons at Mt Timothy, where he learned how to snow plow and do turns. He got some skills under his belt and enjoyed it more and more.

He adds that it’s fun to hang out with friends, enjoy a speed-induced adrenalin rush, and ski through the trees in the deep snow. Other things Garrett enjoys outdoors in the Cariboo are sledding, snowmobiling, and some skating.

Aiden says he likes snowball fights.

Garrett explains that he always looks forward to snow. “You get through winter, and you’re just like, when’s summer? Need summer. Want summer,” he adds.“Then you get through summer and it’s, when’s snow? Want snow. I absolutely need snow.”

Aiden notes that after a day of skiing, you need a nap.

Suzanne says she’s seen big skill advancement in the boys—especially Aiden who was born trying to keep up with his older brother.

“It’s my dad!” Aiden says. “I really zoom to keep up with him!”

“This is something we’ve chosen to do as a family,” Suzanne continues.“One of the scariest things for me now is I need to invest in lessons for myself, so I can do bumps and jumps with these guys, to keep up to them. Because that’s where they are,” she says.

“Both Bull Mountain and Mt. Timothy are great for family fun. It’s quality time, and it’s what we’re going to remember, rather than presents gotten on birthdays, and so on.”

She explains that it’s all about different sports in different seasons. “Diversity is so positive, and physical literacy is important,” she says.“Learning different skills gives kids confidence to try new things.”

LeRae Haynes is a freelance writer, song writer, community co-ordinator for Success by 6, member of Perfect Match dance band, and instigator of lots of music with kids.

On Monday, February 12, BC celebrates Family Day, a statutory holiday dedicated to families coming together to spend time and remember why family connections are so important.

If you are looking for some ways to spend Family day enjoying the company of your loved ones, here are some suggestions.

Connecting in an Over-scheduled World

Finding the time isn’t easy when members of a family are going in eight different directions. Here are some quick and easy ways to make quality connections when schedules don’t match up, on Family Day and every day:

  1. Eat together: Everyone must eat; may as well sit down together. If someone is stuck at the office, use Skype.
  2. Cook together: Plan meals where everyone pitches in.
  3. Use the early hours: Wake kids up 30 minutes early for quiet tea on the couch before the chaos of the day begins.
  4. Turn off the screens: Plan for at least one hour each night where the screens are off and the phone is in a drawer.
  5. Walk after dinner: 30 minutes minimum to maximize the benefit.
  6. Fix things together: Restore, recycle, repair … everyone can help.
  7. Ask questions: Show interest in kids’ school, activities, and interests.
  8. Drive your kids to school: Uninterrupted time in the car is prime for conversation.
  9. Leave a note: On the counter, in the lunch kit, on the bathroom mirror to let family members know you’re thinking about them.
  10. Make the time: Carve time out of each day for quality time together. You have the time; chores, after hours business, and errands can wait—time and opportunity will not.

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