By Becky Edwards
Explorebigsky.com contributor

Being a single mother, I’m pretty used to harnessing my inner Sherpa. Traveling with a hefty 2-year-old, heavy bags, a car seat and all the accoutrements requires a positive attitude and remembering to lift with my legs. When contemplating taking my daughter, Kaia, skiing for the first time, I was happy to let gravity do all the work.

Kaia is always up for an adventure. She thrives in the outdoors, so getting her excited for an adventure on snow was easy.

When we picked up her season-lease skis, complete with graphics of fairies and butterflies, she took them everywhere for a few days – in bed for naptime; in the car for trips to the grocery store; she even strapped on her boots, clicked into her skis and insisted I let her sit in her high chair, skis dangling, during breakfast to “practice for the chair lift.”

Earlier this year, I loaded skis, boots and baby into the car and headed south from Bozeman to Big Sky. All the while Kaia chanted, “I’m gonna ski on the MOUNTAIN!”

I loaded my backpack with snacks, diapers and extra clothes, lashed on my tele skis and Kaia’s fairy-butterfly-princess boards, and then carried Kaia to the shuttle pick-up. By the time we made it to the base of the smaller magic carpet, I was sweaty and tired.

Kaia was beaming from under her pink goggles, chanting, “I’m gonna ski on the MOUNTAIN!”

After a quick lesson involving pizzas, French fries and bending her knees, Kaia was off and scooting around like a pro.

I cheered and romped after her in my tele boots (still hadn’t actually put my skis on yet), holding her hand on the magic carpet and thanking the carpet attendant for his patience with my squeaking toddler. By the way, it’s always more fun to sing while riding the carpet.

After several laps Kaia was tired, and we settled down on the edge of the run for some Cheddar Bunny snacks and snuggles. My little bug plopped down on my lap and exclaimed, “I skied the MOUNTAIN!”

I couldn’t have been prouder. It was my favorite day of skiing. And I never put my skis on once.

Becky Edwards is a long-time Bozeman resident and mountain lover. Kaia progressed to the longer magic carpet, Adrian’s Way, and then to the Explorer lift. Go, little ripper!