The Family that Skis Together

Gerald R. Ford, Jr., started skiing in 1937 while a graduate student in Connecticut.  He quickly grew to love the sport and passed this on to Betty and his children.  In her memoir The Times of My Life, Betty Ford wrote:

Jerry had done a lot of skiing in the East; he’d gone to Yale Law School and he liked to ski every weekend of the winter.  I had never skied.  Skiing was not yet popular in the Midwest when I was growing up.  Jerry took me shopping – we decided I wouldn’t invest in the most expensive equipment because we didn’t know how successful this experiment was going to be – and I got the poles and the skis and the boots and the pants and the sweaters and the parka and the long underwear.  Then we headed up to the northern woods of Michigan.  Once we got there, he took me out, had me herringbone up a hill, turn around, and slide back down.  Then he said, ‘Now you practice that while I go over to the Bowl and take a few runs, and I’ll come back and see how you’re doing,’ and he disappeared.  Well, he never came back to see how I was doing until the end of the day.  I had herringboned up the hill and slid down a good many times and I finally gave up and went into the cabin and got warm.

The Ford Family (l-r: Jack Ford, Michael Ford, Betty Ford, Steven Ford, Susan Ford, and Gerald R. Ford) on an unidentified ski slope in December 1966.
Courtesy Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library 

After they married and started having children, Jerry and Betty would try to take the family skiing each Christmas vacation, starting this tradition in Michigan and then moving west.  They first tried Sun Valley, Idaho, and then eventually settled on Vail, Colorado.

The Ford Family (l-r: Michael Ford, Betty Ford, Gerald R. Ford, Susan Ford, Jack Ford, and Steven Ford) pose in front of a log cabin snow statue at Boyne Mountain in Boyne Falls, Michigan, in 1965.
Courtesy Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library
Jack Ford, Susan Ford, Gerald R. Ford, Steve Ford, and Mike Ford pose during a ski trip in Vail in January 1974.
Courtesy David Hume Kennerly / Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library

How does that saying go?  The family that skis together, stays together? 

Author: Brooke Clement