Anti-Coddling Mountain-Life Dad Lets Skiing 3-year Old Tumble; Now She’s a ‘Little Ripper’ on Slopes

By Epoch Inspired Staff
Epoch Inspired Staff
Epoch Inspired Staff
Epoch Inspired staff cover stories of hope that celebrate kindness, traditions, and triumph of the human spirit, offering valuable insights into life, culture, family and community, and nature.
November 21, 2021 Updated: November 21, 2021

Dad Erich Leidums grew up “free range” in the 1990s—before smartphones and today’s hyper-realistic video games—when kids got outside a lot more than today and rode their bikes until the streetlights glowed.

The 34-year-old ski patroller knows that the outdoor life instills confidence and resilience, which is why his family chose to live in the mountains of Ferine, B.C.

Recently, their mountain lifestyle started to shine on social media, partly because of their little ones’ mad skills on the ski slopes—being what are called “little rippers” in their neck of the woods—and partly because of their ardent “anti-helicopter parenting” philosophy.

(Courtesy of That Mountain Life)

Erich’s 3-year-old daughter, Adia, may look small (and adorable), but she was practically born wearing skis, as can be seen from Go-Pro footage taken by Erich on their family skiing adventures. Adia looks resilient for her age, and able to hold her own on the slopes.

More adorably, the toddler while skiing pep-talks to herself as she maneuvers around tree roots, traces lines down hills, or attempts small jumps. She says “hi” to landmarks along the way. Hearing this, Erich got the idea of wiring a microphone to tape her cute commentary.

(Courtesy of That Mountain Life)

The Leidums’ adventures are lively, special bonding moments—but are not without tumbles and life lessons. Erich and his wife, Courtney, don’t coddle their kids, and believe “helicopter parenting” is detrimental.

“A lot of times, parents will overreact and put off this ‘Oh, no! My poor baby!’ kind of vibe,” Erich told The Epoch Times. “Kids can subconsciously start picking up on, and it almost creates like a victim mentality.

“The only way I believe a child can learn to manage risk is if they can take risk,” he added. “Obviously, as a parent, you want to have those consequences not be unnecessarily bigger than the benefit.”

(Courtesy of That Mountain Life)

On their Instagram ThatMountainLife, Adia is as likely to be seen falling on her butt from going too fast as clearing a jump and landing upright. In success, dad sings her praise. When she falls, he’s there, but not to coddle.

“Falling down is part of it, and it can hurt and it’s scary,” Erich said. “In my opinion, kids are usually scared and startled more than they are hurt.

“As a dad, I try to just remain calm, and I try to check in with them and project an energy of confidence and assurance.”

Adia has learned to say “I’m okay” without her parents’ permission.

(Courtesy of That Mountain Life)

(Courtesy of That Mountain Life)

Regardless, there are always going to be critics on the web. Erich admits he’s been accused of being “negligent” and exposing his kids to risk in search of views. He insists they are the same family whether on or off the camera, and holds firm in his parenting stance.

“I realized my content or my anti-helicopter messaging values aren’t gonna land with everyone,” Erich added. “There are a lot of people who are scared and their primary concerns is to stay safe at all costs, then I could make the argument that making safety and security the ultimate primary goal of life comes at a greater cost.”

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Epoch Inspired staff cover stories of hope that celebrate kindness, traditions, and triumph of the human spirit, offering valuable insights into life, culture, family and community, and nature.