Taylor Barbour, 3 ½, skis like it's her third winter on boards. It is.

She's fearless and full of fun, although a little shy around strangers - at least at first.

Her skill on skis is probably a result of the way she was taught by her mom, Jill, and dad, Michael.

"I started her at 18 months," Jill Barbour, a Carroll County deputy sheriff, said.

"I got strap-on skis you put regular boots into, put her in and let her walk around. We took her to Cranmore Mountain, and they let us go up the Magic Carpet. We hung onto her, skied down, got her comfortable and let her get the feel of the skis," Jill said.

Last winter, when Taylor was 2 ½, she continued to gain confidence.

"She'd go up the Magic Carpet and ski down, up and down, and she got used to going over snow. All last winter, all she wanted to do was go up the chairlift, so I brought her up the quad, and we went down Easy Street. I held her the whole way. She had a blast.

"This year we bought skis, boots and a harness. We went up the Magic Carpet a few times, and she has no fear. She's still not strong enough to hold her skis in a snowplow, so she doesn't snowplow - she carves. I have the harness on her, and just let her go. If she falls, she laughs. I don't train her, don't teach her, just let her go and have fun. When she's done, that's it, we stop," Jill said.

Jill and Michael make sure Taylor is dressed right for the weather, with her collar up, mittens on hands, and helmet warm on her head. They also put on sunblock or dermatone, to protect against sunburn and windburn in bitter weather, and they watch out for white spots.

"That happened once and we went right inside," Jill said. Taylor also lets them know when she's uncomfortable.

Jill said she found used equipment in the consignment section of Ragged Mountain Equipment, a local ski shop that specializes in backcountry and alpine touring gear. The shop also has its own line of clothing, and when first spotted on the slopes Taylor was wearing a leopard print vest of their making.

Skiing crosses generations and binds families together.

Jill learned to ski with her own parents, starting at age 6, when the family would come up from Brockton to North Conway on weekends and holidays.

Taylor doesn't often get to ski with both her parents, because one of them usually stays with her little brother, Chase, 22 months of age. Soon, though, he too will be competent on skis and wearing a harness and sliding down the slopes of New England.

As families have done for generations.