Throughout my years of teaching snowboarding in Durango and Steamboat, I met many cool people and many that we’re hooked on riding by the time they returned home from vacation. Some of these students I kept in touch with and connected even more with when FamilyShred was formed. Timothy and Heather Walker are two of these students that truly became friends and the story of how snowboarding changed their lives does nothing short of making me feel a little warm an fuzzy inside…. I want to give a big thanks to Heather for writing this, your family is awesome!
I was asked to write our family snowboarding story a while back but have been hesitant not only because it probably sounds ridiculous to most people, but we still had two children that weren’t boarding yet and I wanted to make sure it was from the perspective of a whole family that boarded together. My name is Heather, my husband’s name is Tim and we have four children together; Brooke-22, Chase-18, Finnley-12 and Sean-6. Brooke and Chase are technically my step children and they live with their respective moms and visit us regularly. Tim and I began boarding in 2010 and this is our story, as short as I can make it.
In 2009 we were a typical south Texas family; we had worked hard and saved through our whole marriage to get us to the point we were at. Just built our dream home in the perfect neighborhood, nice cars, great schools, and I stayed home with the kids while Tim worked his dream job that had lots of time off so we could do more together. We never really took a bunch of trips or did anything elaborate because everything was to get us to this goal we had. Then that spring, everything crashed. Tim got furloughed and was working very little for 6 months. Needless to say, we went through our savings, had to make some tough choices and decided to sell our house and downsize. We realized that everything we had done seemed like it was for nothing because we had to start all over. The time we had used to reach our goals was lost and our marriage was on the brink of separation. Unhappy about the decision to downsize and not getting along well, we decided that we were going to make the change worth it and instead of trying to get back into another big house we were going to spend more time doing things we always wanted to do. So just after Tim returned to a normal work schedule in the fall of 2009 I booked us a trip to Steamboat , CO to learn how to snowboard.
While in Steamboat we both took a three day class since that’s what everyone we talked to recommended. It was really hard for me but I kept on trying and Tim picked it up pretty quick. While there we met a really great instructor Bug Stroope who talked to Tim about boarding and how he’d followed his passion and we realized that’s what we needed to do. We needed to focus on what made us happy and that all the other stuff didn’t matter. Things people always say, but don’t really stick with. Needless to say, after the week we were hooked. Even though I struggled and it was hard, it was fun and it really brought us closer together. After seeing families on the slopes, we couldn’t wait to share it with our kids.
After a few trips we decided that it wasn’t enough to go once a year so we packed up and moved out to California to be closer to the snow and I happened to have family here, which made the move a little easier. We now have season passes to our local mountain. All four of the kids now board; Brooke went to Steamboat with us one year and Chase picked it up this past week while out for a visit and both love it! Though they are adults, it gives us a common activity and bond that they only have with us. Finnley and Sean board more regularly with Tim and I and we have them take a class every now and then to have much better boarders teach them stuff we can’t.
The thing is, family shredding for us is not about making sure we can tackle the whole mountain in a day or that the kids get good enough they can freestyle like the pros. We’re easy going, it doesn’t matter that Tim can handle a black and I like easy blues so we go separate ways. It’s a give and take; sometimes I push myself to do harder blues so he’s not bored and if I’m not “feeling it” that day he hang’s with me a while then I say, “why don’t you go have a couple fun runs and I’ll wait here.” If the kids are with us we’ll spend a whole day on a green run helping Finnley work on linking turns and making Sean practices his toe side. We NEVER get frustrated with them and shout because we want it to be about fun and remembering how hard it was for us to learn, helps us have patience with them. But when they “get it” and you’ve spent the time with them getting them there and not just putting them in classes so they can catch up to your skill level, it’s awesome. I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything and it sounds so crazy to admit that SNOWBOARDING and the people we met along the way, not only saved our marriage, but have brought our family closer together in a way nothing else could have. We don’t know what our future holds or where we will be a year or two from now but I know snowboarding will ALWAYS be a part of it.
Thanks again Walker Family!