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Chill with Kids: An interview with Team Addington, three Chillers five or under!

  • 6 min read

If you ski Broken River, Craigieburn or Porters frequently, then you'll be used to the sight of Julian and Heidi Addington with their young team in tow, tearing up the slopes. 

Skiing the clubbies with little ones is no mean feat, so I thought it would be a great insight for people considering bringing their young guns over to the Chill fields.

Here's my interview with Julian and Heidi covering what goes into a day in the clubbies with the youngest guns, and why it's more of an adventure day with snow than your typical day out. 

Ollie:
Tell us about your family and how you got into skiing at the clubbies?

Heidi:
We are a family of five. The newest arrival recently came in February 2024. We started club skiing when we were both students and we love it.

Julian, Kicker Ridge at Broken River P: Richard Goldsbury


Ollie:
What's it like skiing with the kids at all of the Chill fields? Any standout moments or favourite memories?

Julian:
It's all standout - the whole experience is standout.

Heidi:
People who ski at clubbies are always really stoked to see families, so you feel like even when you just turn up in a car park and you've got children the support is there.

Julian:
People will carry your skis, carry a kid...

People will carry your kid - especially if the kid is their nephew. 

Heidi:
They want you to be there if you know what I mean?

Julian:
Maybe except for a powder day!

 

Heidi, Broken River Adjacent, P: Supplied


Ollie:
How do your kids feel about it?

Heidi:
They love it. Their favourite is the tram (at Broken River)... I guess they don't know any different really, it's all they have known since they were babies.

Ollie:
What are the main challenges that you face when you're skiing with your kids and how do you deal with them?

Julian:
It's your expectations. I think that's probably the biggest challenge. If you turn up thinking you'll go and shred a powder day as you did pre-kids, then you'll probably have a bit of a shock.

Heidi, ripping, Broken River Adjacent P: Supplied 


Heidi:
We call a day out skiing with the kids  a day of adventure. So just even hiking up there is an adventure to them, and to us. Going on the tram, if you're going to Broken River or wherever and getting up to the day lodge, hiking, being towed up, they're all little adventures.


Julian:
Totally. And to get a couple of laps in for yourself is a bonus.

"And to get a couple of laps in for yourself is a bonus" Julian - P: Richard Goldsbury


Ollie:
So Griff's the oldest (5) he's ripping around pretty much everywhere at Broken River, maybe except for the ridge tow?

Julian:
He’s going up the two lower tows by himself. The baby and the traverse tow, he's doing those on his own. So he'll just stand at the bottom and ask someone to take the rope off the pulley. And then once it's off the pulley, he just hangs on to it with his hands. He gets dragged up the traverse tow and then we just let him just lap that for a long time.

And then later in the season, we got him full rock-climbing harness. And so now what I do is I hook a bungee onto him and we tow him up the main tow.

 

Heidi:
The classic clubby move.

Ollie:
So can he ski the whole length of the field?

Heidi:
Yeah, he does main basin at BR, taking his time - he's built up to that.

Julian:
Yeah, it took us about 20 minutes to ski down. With treats, treats, treats.

 

Snacks - and Snowmen - P: Julian 

Ollie:
How do you make sure that Griff stays safe, or the boys stay safe when you're out skiing?

Heidi:
I guess that's why we've naturally gone to BR, because of the children. We love the other clubbies, but have found the BR day lodge for kids absolutely perfect, as there is a really safe, clear line of sight when they are playing outside in the snow.

Adventure Day


Ollie:
What about at Porters? So you have gone to Porters and did you use Porters to get them to a certain level before you started to head to BR etc?

Heidi:
Great point.  Porters has been fantastic for really getting Griff confident on skis.  In the early season, Griff was more interested in the toboggan and mucking around the snow which we just rolled with.  And then he started lapping the magic carpet and Poma, and became more and more confident as he was able to do those all by himself.  It was amazing to stand at the bottom and watch his progress.   

Porters has been amazing for that.   And even our two-year-old (Hugo) decided to start skiing just so he could go on the magic carpet.

Griff & Mum, top of Main tow, Broken river 

Ollie:
And where to next? You know, Griff's 5, when do you reckon you'll go to Mt Olympus, or maybe Craigieburn? Or, you know, to Temple Basin? What about the other fields?

Julian:
One of us will probably take Griff to Craigie and Olympus when you see how it goes this year, could be made maybe next year.

Ollie:
So seven years old. And by that time, maybe he'll be riding on the tows himself at BR?

Heidi:
Yeah I guess if he continues to progress as he is i'd imagine that would be right.

Julian:
Yeah, we're trying not to push him but...

Ollie:
He wants to keep up with Mum and Dad right?

Heidi:
It's true. His little brother's gonna come along and keep him on his toes.

Ollie:
Well when I started skiing, which was when I was seven, my brother started at the same time. He's a year and 3/4 younger or so - so same for me! We both started skiing on like the same day kind of, we went through the Porters thing and we did a bit of Mt Hutt and a bit of Cardrona and TC and then only really to Broken River when we could ride the tows.

Julian:
Similar sort of vibe

Heidi:
I guess that's a question we get from some people is, why bother? The thing is that both of us love the mountains. And so for us, it's just getting out in the mountains and with the kids, and if they're comfortable and safe, its an amazing adventure. And we’ve got a backpack we put the youngest one in and the lodges are really warm. There’s lots of people around to help out and it's a fun day out, it's just so nice in the mountains with the family.

Heidi:
And I'll just add, is that we're very fortunate we've got grandparents. So on a powder day we leave them behind.

Ollie:
I know!

I've got a bunch of photos of both of you in Avalanche basin and other places - sans kids. 

What advice would you have for other skiing families or for people considering taking their kids to the clubbies?

 



Julian:
Give it a crack?

Heidi:
Ideally you want to be really comfortable with the rope tow. Make sure there's lots of warm clothes, dress them warmly. And snacks. Snacks is life.

Ollie:
Okay. I was gonna say what's the most important thing for a successful family skiing trip in your opinion, but, yes, food. 

Heidi:
And then just having really low expectations. It is a day out. We call it an adventure day.

 

Beats sitting at home, doesn't it. 

Julian:
I think any parent that's into the outdoors has probably experienced that. Everything's slower. It's not a day just for yourself, its for your family.

Heidi:
And the other thing, is sometimes it won't all work and you have a day where you're like, “Why did I bother?” They're just in a grump and they have the wrong kind of mittens, but lots of times it does work and it pays off eventually.

Ollie:
Yeah. And you look back on the day and go, what were we doing today? We're in the mountains. Yeah. We weren't sitting at home.


Julian:
Yeah, and Chill is set up perfectly for families in my opinion, because it's a natural stepping stone along the Craigieburn range as you get more confident; you start at Porters, then you go Cheeseman, Broken River, Craigieburn. And throw Olympus or Temple in the mix along the way.

Ollie:

Anything else you would like to share about your experience of skiing as family?

Heidi:

Yeah. It's just cool seeing the kids grow their love for the mountains. 

Julian: 

Yeah, exactly. Just being just being stoked on the outdoors.

Heidi:

Also teaches them a bit of toughness too.  

Ollie:

What do you reckon when these guys are 12, 13, 14, 15 years old?

Heidi:

That's the dream - that they're all out there still loving it! 

You can't guarantee they'll still want to do it. But so far they're trending that way.

 

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