Mountain Mamas

Musings on motherhood from professional athletes and industry legends.

Heather Paul Featherman
Professional Skier

“When my kids were tiny, before they could fit into real ski boots, we rented them gear and let them clomp around the house with it. This way when we brought them to the slopes, there were no complaints like ‘the gear is too heavy’ or ‘my boots hurt.’ They were used to the gear so that took a whole element out of it and made it much easier.”

“Being an athlete has probably made me overthink the idea of not pressuring my children into sports, while still trying to inspire the love for skiing that I have. They seem to gravitate toward the things we like to do, like ski and bike and surf. It’s what they are exposed to. With skiing being such a big part of my life and our environment here in Crested Butte, it’s been fun to be able to inspire them and support them and relate to what they are experiencing.”

Kim Beekman photo by Crystal Sagan

Kim Beekman
Award Winning Writer & Industry Badass

“When it comes to skiing, the harder I push, the more she resists. So, I let go and just...push a little...and follow with M&Ms. I also borrow my friends' children whenever I can, because peer pressure works wonders.” 

“The best part of being a mom is the laughter—she's got a good sense of humor on her—and the constant surprise of watching her develop. Oh, and all the random collections of shit I find in weird places. Those are pretty funny. (Currently on her side table, carefully arranged: a bouncy ball collection in a ziplock bag, silly putty, a paper fan, a snowglobe, a broken hand mirror, a tissue shaped like a flower, a "family" of toothbrushes, and some seashells.)”

Grete Eliassen
Professional Freeskier

“I can't even explain it, but just saying I'm a mom gives my heart butterflies. It's like skiing the best endless powder run. But all you have to do is think about your child.” 

“I always wanted to have kids, so I have slowly been getting ready mentally my whole life. This year was a big test when it basically snowed every day at Solitude and I couldn't just go rip my five pow runs to start the day. Instead, I got to push a buggy through the snow. But strangely enough, that was fun too.” 

Wendy Fisher
Professional Skier

“I give my boys tough love when it comes to competition. I want them to get better at everything they do and that even means getting better than me, which I know will happen sooner than I want. I think after the age four or five I stopped being easy on them. If they want to play a game or compete against me, they learned I would not just let them win. For a while, it was hard for them to accept because they would get sad that I wouldn’t take it easy, but now that they are a bit older they give100% to try to kick my ass. I would explain to them that when they finally start to beat me it will be way more rewarding. Now they love to compete against me and I am glad they look to me as a challenge and it keeps us engaged with each other. I also feel I can help them understand the ups and downs when they are working to become better at something.”

Ingrid Backstrom
Professional Big Mountain Skier

“I would say as far as having a baby and still wanting to ski a lot, getting good babysitters and help is the best! Also, getting the lodge trade-off system dialed is key. There have been a lot of days when it seemed like almost too much to pack up all the gear and deal with naptimes, feedings, pumping, containing a crawling baby in a dirty lodge floor, etc., but we were always happy when we made the trek, even if it wasn't a powder day.”

“I think being an athlete has shaped my approach to motherhood in that it is important to me to spend a lot of time outdoors and sharing that with Betty.”

“The best part about being a mom is the fierce love for Betty that I never knew was possible. She makes me laugh all the time and it's a constant learning process!”

Jessica Quinn
Co-Owner: Points North Heli-Adventures Inc.

“The biggest thing I learned, early on, is that it’s all about having fun (and eating cookies and drinking hot chocolate), when you're introducing your toddler to skiing or snowboarding. It’s easy in a ski town to get caught up in what other kids are doing or not doing at a certain age. As every kid is different and their passions, interests and likes are just evolving, we try our best to encourage and not pressure our kids with any sports. Making sure they stay warm and comfortable and teaching them safety on the chairlift and on the mountain at an early age was important to us as well. It’s not them I worry about, but other riders on the hill.”

“The biggest thing I have taken from being an athlete to being a mom is to not give up. There are times you just want to throw in the towel but you don’t. Just like in playing sports or skiing, you don’t give up. There are not problems, only solutions, and I try my best to practice that daily with my kids.”