Every kid thinks their dad is the coolest dad around, but when your dad is a freestyle skiing Olympic gold medalist and co-host of G4’s American Ninja Warrior, Jonny Moseley, you’ve got one very awesome pop. We recently had a chance to catch up with the Tiburon, California resident and father of two. So even if we can’t hit the slopes like Moseley, we can still land a sweet trick or two when it comes to freestyle parenting.

Red Tricycle: 
With the Olympics upon us, are your kids aware of how famous you are? Do your they feel like they need to follow in your ‘ski steps?”
JM: [Laughs]. Well, I don’t know about famous, but they do watch me on TV and we occasionally get out the gold medal from the safety deposit box. I’ll let them hold it. They think that’s pretty cool. And Jack has been practicing his 360s on our trampoline. But I’ll steer them away from freestyle skiing – I don’t know if I can take it.

RT: Are your kids good skiers?
JM: Jack, my 4 year-old, has been on skies since he was 15 months old. I wouldn’t really call it “skiing” though at that age. Our goal has always been to get him to like it. We want our kids to enjoy skiing, so we’ve only been taking them up on nice days in the spring, when you don’t have to wear a lot of gear. Like short sleeve weather.

RT: What tips and tricks do you have for teaching kids to ski?
JM: A bamboo pole – longer than you think you need – is a great way to teach kids to ski. They can hang onto that – almost like a water ski bar – and turn normally at a safe distance behind you. Also, if you can, go up when conditions are fair so your kids are most comfortable. And when the kids are old enough, enroll them in ski school. We’re up at Squaw Valley a lot. Their kids programs are great.

RT: What about your parents – how did they handle the safety issues, not to mention the time, intensity and dedication it must have took to get to your level?
JM: My parents are great. I was the youngest of three boys (by five years) so I think I benefited a lot from that. We were all really active and into sports and I think my parents were just looking for something we could do as a family where we would burn off some energy. I feel really fortunate that I was able to ski beginning at a young age and that my parents weren’t overly protective when it came to the safety element. Mostly they just wanted us to finish school. Almost everything else was negotiable.

RT: How has this translated into your own parenting philosophy?
JM: My wife and I really want to be good parents, and we also want to expose our kids to a lot of things and then just follow their lead in terms of what they’re interested in. Coordination and balance are really big at this age so we’ve been working on building that. I also want my kids to understand the concept of practice and determination. You can start a new sport and be pretty good at it at first, but if you really want to perform and do well, you’ve got to make mistakes. You have to do the hard work in order to succeed.

RT: Are you kids coming up with stunts – any “dinner roll” equivalents  – like the “cinnamon roll” or a “fruit rollup?”
JM: [Laughs]. No. But that’s a good idea. Jack has been doing some combos on the trampoline but he hasn’t named anything yet. We’ll get back to you later on that.

— Allison Ellis