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When should I let teenagers roam free?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Drammeister, up to you! I suspect there are answers to support any position at all.

I'm more interested in that you are asking the question- which makes me think you don't really want them off by themselves, at least not the two of them.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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@Dave of the Marmottes, Laughing
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Nothing worse than helicopter parents.

The 16yo is old enough to fight a war.

Let them ski free from first to last lift.

If they huck off a cliff in the fog, make sure they have insurance.
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Klamm Franzer wrote:
My kids (11 &13) have started to head off after lunch and at the end of the day for a few runs but their sense of direction is not brilliant so they're building up gradually.

Who knew it was 16 to buy beer in Austria?! I sent a friend's daughter to the bar to get the beers in when she was 14 as, 'that's what the legal age is!'. They didn't seem particularly bothered...
https://www.tripsavvy.com/legal-drinking-age-in-european-countries-3149735


Whereas one of the Park City Utah Resorts (Canyons I think), I went up to the bar to order a Pitcher of beer at Lunchtime. I was flattered when asked for ID - I was in my mid 40's Laughing . But not so chuffed when I went back to our table, got my passport and got back to the front of the queue only for them to say there needed to be two of us - both with ID over 21 - in order to buy a pitcher. So I had to repeat the process again to fetch a friend. Then the same friend went up and got his pitcher, with me as the 'other' ID. And all this fuss to get 2% ABV watered down gnats p***.

I first went skiing with the school back in the very early 80's. Would have been 13 or 14. Yes we used to sneak off and buy the odd half litre (or three) of beer at lunchtime or in the evening. Darwin never got us, so that proves to me alcohol aids selection of the fittest Toofy Grin
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
ed123 wrote:
@Drammeister, up to you! I suspect there are answers to support any position at all.

I'm more interested in that you are asking the question- which makes me think you don't really want them off by themselves, at least not the two of them.


No, I'm happy to let them. The OH is more cautious.
Talking to them, the 13 yr old is not keen to leave us and the 16yr old is worried the younger one with ski off in a huff while she'd get the blame!

I think starting off separately in the morning and meeting for lunch might be the better way round avoiding the ending up in the wrong valley problem as we'll be in a big area (Saalbach).
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@Drammeister, maybe think of it as a process rather than all or nothing.
First off I would say the phone is a must.

So you could start with a run they know well with a cafe along the way, you stop they lap.
Next maybe a morning in the same resort so long as all the runs end back where you are based, so no dead ends with a 150 euro taxi needed. Start and finish together.
Then a day, again in a resort they know well. Etc

Needless to say you have some protocols, re contact, what to do if something goes wrong, plus advice re off piste and how to get help from lift staff and piste patrols.

It’s a great idea, they will learn self reliance, and resilience.
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jbob wrote:
@Drammeister, maybe think of it as a process rather than all or nothing.
First off I would say the phone is a must.

So you could start with a run they know well with a cafe along the way, you stop they lap.
Next maybe a morning in the same resort so long as all the runs end back where you are based, so no dead ends with a 150 euro taxi needed. Start and finish together.
Then a day, again in a resort they know well. Etc

Needless to say you have some protocols, re contact, what to do if something goes wrong, plus advice re off piste and how to get help from lift staff and piste patrols.

It’s a great idea, they will learn self reliance, and resilience.


We've done that before, staying in a bar at the bottom of a run while they lap.
I suppose I'm asking about giving them free rein to explore.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Yes, and without electronic snooping either. They have to learn to make their own way somehow, and its safer on the hill than in town.
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@Scooter in Seattle, +1.
Our 3 went off on their own from much younger.
But we knew they'd either be in La Chapelle Park or the Stash, so to find them was pretty easy if there was ever a change of plan.
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Go for it, my parents got fed up of trying to keep up with my younger sister and sent us off by ourselves of with friends who were in resort at the same time from about age 13, which would have made my sister 12. Admittedly we'd been skiing in the same resort since at least 3 weeks per season since we were 3 and 2, so knew the place very well.
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My first ski trip in Austria when I was 12 with school. We marched up a mountain road to a bar and our teachers bought us all a beer! Another time, - they would all be sacked today.
As long as they keep together, and keep each other in sight as much as is possible.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Better drowned than duffers if not duffers wont drown.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@dogwatch, loved those books
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Let them go with specified meeting places and times (mealtimes perhaps if you dont give them too much money they will meet up when they are hungry come what may). Give them firm guidelines about staying on piste, carrying mobiles and caring for each other and see what happens. My bet is they will be absolutely fine and enjoy that bit of freedom.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Treat them as adults i.e. if you were leading a group of adults, you'd probably not set your operational rules much different. So they're responsible for the

general prep (everyone's else's numbers in their phone book, paper name and address and emergency contact in their wallet, address of accommodation);
pre-departure check (backpack, snacks, drinks, emergency food, a charged-up mobile, sunglasses, goggles, money, skipass, whistle*, handwarmer pack, emergency blanket, EHIC Card ...)
on-piste routine ('if we get separated, we'll meet at ..', regular 'we're heading for ...', how long they wait at a destination before heading home, protocol for what to do if they're suddenly on their own ..' )
useful phrases ("mon aéroglisseur est plein d'anguilles", "Mon ami a été enlevé par des extraterrestres" etc.)
and general principles (no one skis on their own; always wait for the slowest person; never force anyone to ski a run they don't want to do; it's OK if someone says they can't go on and wants to go home; etc.)

and this should reassure you that at least you've got all the bases covered as best you can.

[* and the standard emergency actions: crossed skis above a fallen person; three whistles for help; two arms raised 45° to signal 'we need help' to helicopter; one arm raised and the other pointing horizontally to landing area (I think?); one arm 45° up and the other 45° down - No help needed etc.]


Last edited by Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name: on Thu 28-11-19 17:50; edited 1 time in total
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
False post to be deleated later


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Thu 28-11-19 17:52; edited 2 times in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I must be a terrible group leader
Quote:

general prep (everyone's else's numbers in their phone book, paper name and address and emergency contact in their wallet, address of accommodation);

Don't do it. One of our party distains mobile telephones
Quote:

pre-departure check (backpack, snacks, drinks, emergency food, a charged-up mobile, sunglasses, goggles, money, skipass, whistle*, handwarmer pack, emergency blanket, EHIC Card ...)

Em. I might have an EHIC, goggles on head, money, lift pass in pocket but I will not have the rest and certainly will not check if other people have
Quote:

on-piste routine ('if we get separated, we'll meet at ..', regular 'we're heading for ...', how long they wait at a destination before heading home, protocol for what to do if they're suddenly on their own ..' )

We might search for you, or we might not. We will wait up on the piste. We may say what lift we are heading for and tell you if we change our minds
Quote:

useful phrases ("mon aéroglisseur est plein d'anguilles" etc.)

I don't even know what this means
Quote:

and general principles (no one skis on their own; always wait for the slowest person; never force anyone to ski a run they don't want to do; it's OK if someone says they can't go on and wants to go home; etc.)

You can ski on your own if you wish - but I actually enjoy your company.

My son would head off on his own towards the end of the day when we couldn't keep up or he didn't fancy stopping for a drink or just want some time on his own from the age of about 14. It was never a problem
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Actually, yes, adults make their own choices: if they don't carry a mobile with them and die after getting lost, that's their problem. As long as they don't expect other people to risk their lives trying to find/rescue them. But with your own kids it's a bit different. You can actually make the 'signalling to the helicopter' thing a bit of fun: Left arm 45°/right arm 90° means 'mine's a chocolat chaud' as they arrive at the rendezvouz, or in my case 'Mine's a a Pelforth Brune'.

And of course, amend the 'rules' to suit the people involved. But if this is a first time on their own, I'd say to the OP state what is just good advice, and then you've done your bit. As is the case more generally.
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Quote:

if they don't carry a mobile with them and die after getting lost, that's their problem. As long as they don't expect other people to risk their lives trying to find/rescue them.

People have been going into the mountains long before mobile phones without problems. And unless going backcountry most of the time there are lots of people about.
It did annoy me when a friend somehow got to the front of the group last year without anyone noticing then headed off to a different lift while we waited for him. He refuses to carry a mobile telephone. We were annoyed because we were looking forward to his company rather than worried about his safety. He also had no apartment keys. He is still alive and no one even risked a missed coffe break looking for him. He turned up later having had a good day on his own.

We may worry more about young adults, but TBH they are usually very good at looking after themselves.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Beware if phone tracking that it can eat battery, which can already be a bit unreliable in the cold.

Both WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger I think have a share location option.
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So, different people have different approaches to risk management. Some are laissez faire some are over-the-top. I'm just saying that there's no harm in giving the OP's teenagers some sound advice, getting them to do things for themselves (like checking they have some useful stuff with them), and realise that they may have to act on their own (friend doesn't turn up at the rendezvous, doesn't answer his mobile, what to do?) and they have a sound basis for independence. I'm not setting out some overweaning alternative lifestyle that threatens to choke off their development as a balanced adults. I've had to deal with three serous accidents, all around someone disappearing from our group. All before the days of mobile 'phones as well. My list is just meant to be helpful, not a Lifestyle recipe.
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Do they share an avocado toast or have one each?
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I (50 yo male) have been in bubble cars in Nevis range with one primary school girl and her older sister who just started secondary school. Their father was snowboarding down as there was a lot of snow.

Now, they explained to me that one was at the same secondary school as me, and the other was in a rural primary school. I estimated they were about 13 and 10, I did not ask. The elder one started to tell me about an old French teacher of mine who had retired recently.

Both seemed very sensible, and did not ask me for my mobile number even when I showed them the time on it. I explained that people skiing down would get lost as there was no piste, and would have to walk. We all looked out, and saw that people below the bubble car were walking down as there was no way under the bubble car to ski or snowboard down.

I left them to go to the coffee shop at the bottem, and wait for their father who was snowboarding down off piste!

rolling eyes
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LaForet wrote:
So, different people have different approaches to risk management. Some are laissez faire some are over-the-top. I'm just saying that there's no harm in giving the OP's teenagers some sound advice, getting them to do things for themselves (like checking they have some useful stuff with them), and realise that they may have to act on their own (friend doesn't turn up at the rendezvous, doesn't answer his mobile, what to do?) and they have a sound basis for independence. I'm not setting out some overweaning alternative lifestyle that threatens to choke off their development as a balanced adults. I've had to deal with three serous accidents, all around someone disappearing from our group. All before the days of mobile 'phones as well. My list is just meant to be helpful, not a Lifestyle recipe.


Thanks I appreciate the advice.
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https://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/mother-tongue/8429386/Want-to-be-happy-have-two-daughters.html

Interesting article here on what combination of children brings the most harmonous households. I think this applies only during childhood, as things change as siblings get older.

It would be interesting to see how families fragment with differing combinations as they get older.
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A couple of months ago I was at one of the small NZ club fields, mid week powder day, 20 cars in the car park, sunny etc etc. Basically one out of the box.

Anyway there was a young mum and a youngish kid, maybe 7 years old, and she left him at the top of the lift while she hiked the ridge line. Admittedly it's a fair old climb, would be tough for a young kid, and on that day was well worth it, but the poor kid had to sit there and watch his mum score a couple of epic lines.

IMO that's cr4p parenting. Took no friends on a pow day to the extreme. A far better plan, and one I have often used, is to make the kids do the climb as well, and make them carry the beers up. Just give them a 10 minute head start if they are going to be a bit slower.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
DJL wrote:
Mods, please move to Mumsnet


LOL.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
I have two teenage daughters, so what a load of bo!!!!!s, survey obviously didn't stretch to my neck of the woods.

[quote]
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/mother-tongue/8429386/Want-to-be-happy-have-two-daughters.html



Interesting article here on what combination of children brings the most harmonous households. I think this applies only during childhood, as things change as siblings get older.



It would be interesting to see how families fragment with differing combinations as they get older.
[/quote

boys just fight then go and play football together (or go for beers if older!!!!!!)

i remember our old neighbours who had 2 teenage daughters when we moved in, ours were about 7 and 4 at the time, telling me that they fought like cats and dogs together, but would both turn on their parents if they tried to intervene. now they are really close, from what i can gather i think this is generally the case, well i bloody hope so anyway!!!!!!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Depends on the person. My daughter would have been safe at 12. My now 15 year old son not for a couple of years as he knows no fear! I would be inclined to let them lead for the first day or two to assess their capabilities of piste map reading, communication, awareness of surroundings, knowing what to do in an emergency, knowledge of piste rules and etiquette, sticking together etc. Also “6 years skiing” usually equates to 6 x ski trips or 6 weeks with a year in between each. As such, I’d assess their skiing capability too. If flying colours on all, make sure their phones are charged and let them do their thing and meet up at set points throughout the day for breaks and a bit of family skiing. Then relax and do your own thing.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
I would say it is fine for them to go off on their own together and even for the 16 y/o to go off on her own if she wants.

If the 13 y/o doesn't want to go with the 16 y/o then don't force her to on the first day. The 16 y/o might not want to go off on her own either but it's probably asking for trouble making the 13 y/o do something against her wishes. The 13 y/o might get bored after the first day if she is being held up by your skiing and decide that it might be more fun to go off with her sister after all.

Have they been to the same resort before? What is their sense of direction and ability to read a piste map like? How sensible are they and how likely are they to get stuck at the bottom of the lowest/furthest lift after lift closing time? Does the 16 y/o just want to go to the Folie Douce rather than ski? All those kind of things might factor into how much freedom you are willing to give them.

Doing a rendezvous in the middle of the day at a specified time/place sounds like a good idea. Food and drink paid for by mum and dad is always a good incentive for making kids turn up somewhere on time.

Other than that, just use some common sense:

- Make sure they have phones with each others numbers as well as yours. Get them to store ICE information in their phones. But appreciate that phones don't always work in the mountains, don't force them to check in at certain times or anything like that.
- Tell them what your plans are 'We are going to be doing laps of this circuit/We are going to try to head to X and then make our way back to Y'. Ask them where they plan on going and give them suggestions if they want ideas without being prescriptive. But equally don't worry if they have no idea where they plan on going.
- Give them enough money to buy food and drink on the mountain should for whatever reason you end up miles away from them at lunchtime.
- Make sure that they agree to stick together even if they fall out with each other, especially if visibility is poor. Get them to agree what they are going to do if they get lost/separated from each other (wait at the next ridge line for 5 minutes then wait at the next lift etc).
- Ensure that they have a basic idea of what to do if one of them has an accident and who they can ask for help. But don't go overboard on making them listen to safety stuff.
- Give them useful information that they might not think to think of such as if there is a shuttle bus they can catch from certain places.
- Don't panic if they are late/don't turn up for a rendezvous. They are probably fine and just lost track of time, enjoy your extra time in peace away from them and catch up with them later.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Drammeister, I really don't think you should pay any attention to the advice here.

Your fundamental question is "how should parents resolve disagreements about parenting?"

I do not know how you two should. But I do know that the answer is definitely not "ask an internet forum."

What you need to do is reach an agreement between yourselves and stick to it- it really does not matter what you agree, only that you do.

FWIW: let them ski off together- but only if they come back with at least a couple of thousand GNAR points http://simplemethod.com/GNAR.pdf
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quick question; who posting here travelled abroad as a child aged 16 or younger without an adult, but perhaps with a / some friends and definitely not mobile phone? And of these who is now advocating that Drammeister's 2 remain attached by a umbilical cord / 4G network? And FWIW I am unaware of any serial killers who's MO includes abducting adolescents on the piste. FFS.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
ManiaMuse wrote:

Have they been to the same resort before?
What is their sense of direction and ability to read a piste map like?
How sensible are they and how likely are they to get stuck at the bottom of the lowest/furthest lift after lift closing time?
Does the 16 y/o just want to go to the Folie Douce rather than ski?
All those kind of things might factor into how much freedom you are willing to give them.

Doing a rendezvous in the middle of the day at a specified time/place sounds like a good idea. Food and drink paid for by mum and dad is always a good incentive for making kids turn up somewhere on time.


Not stayed in a Hinterglemm before, though the older one had one day skiing there with me last year.
I think they’d be okay using a piste map.
Mostly sensible, but siblings squabble.
I think the 16yr old will be old enough to buy a drink in the Hinterhag or Goasstall (!)
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Ted bundy was a skier
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
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As long as you have planned meeting points or even a planned route (and they know their way) it's fine. Last year we did let our then 8yo roam by himself, only imposing a limited area and asking him to stay on the pistes. He knows the domain well enough, the weather was fine and it meant he could ski at his speed rather than... waiting for us!

On the other hand I would not let him take the tube by himself...
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[quote="Arctic Roll"]@Drammeister, obviously some precautions to emphasise before they go: such as should they fall out, as sisters are prone to do, you do NOT ski off on your own in a huff. Suck it up until you get back to a pre-arragned meeting spot with you.

THIS. Our twin girls are now 13.5yrs and so for a while have been able to meet up at the bottom or wait for us somewhere...often as I take the more leisurely route to the meeting point! Or when with friends and with the 18 year old, meet us here at this time. But it is the falling out and huffing off that is the worry. Need to look into how much power the tracker drains. Good thread. Good luck.
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@hang11, was...he's been dead 30 years, and no reports of his van making it to any ski resorts. Now I've got a van, complete with gaffer tape, gloves, bungy cords, a shovel and a wrench. No broken arm though.......
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