I love to ski. It’s my most favorite activity. I love to ski with my husband. I love to ski with my kids and I love to ski alone. It doesn’t really matter who I ski with, I LOVE it. When I was a journalism student at the University of Kansas, I always thought I’d do public relations for a ski resort. It was my dream job (it probably still is). My public relations professor told me that I’d more likely be promoting politicians (more on that in another post) than mountains. I didn’t listen to him, and when I graduated with my bachelor’s degree, I packed up a little U-Haul trailer and moved west to Denver.
I settled in Denver, found a job in PR, although not in the ski industry, and skied as often as I could. My husband eventually proposed to me (he on a snowboard, and I on skis) in Paradise Bowl on Mt. Crested Butte. My job in ski industry PR is still elusive, but I’ve managed to make skiing a priority in my life. I now have two munchkins and am trying hard to introduce them to the sport I love. Let’s be honest, that’s a lot easier than it sounds.
People travel from all over the country and spend thousands of dollars for a ski vacation. My family is lucky enough to be a mere hour and a half away, considering weather and traffic, from the slopes. My kids haven’t fully grasped this privilege and probably never will. It’s sort of like the Internet. My kids will have no understanding of what life was like without immediate access to the Internet.
They will assume everyone skis, that everyone gets up at the crack of dawn, sits in traffic in a blizzard all for a moment of solitude in white, fluffy powder. They will assume that everyone waits in line in the summer time at a ski shop with a giant blow-up dinosaur on top of it to get new gear for the upcoming ski season. They will assume that everyone has had mild frostbite on their fingers and toes and that sometimes they can’t actually move said appendages.
Skiing is a part of me the way being a mom, a business owner or a wife is a part of me. It just is. On a recent ski day with my oldest munchkin, it was cold, snowing and the wind was blowing sideways. Let’s face it, it was a blizzard. Mid mountain, whimpers of cold fingers began to take over. We were far from a warming hut and even farther from the friends we were supposed to meet. I could feel my frustration mounting as I tried to explain to a seven-year-old how to keep his hands warm in a blizzard. I could feel myself start to say, “this is supposed to be fun! Do you know how lucky you are?”
I backed off, got us on the next chair lift, wrapped my arm around my kiddo and stuck one of his frigid hands in my armpit and the other in my crotch. There we sat in what would otherwise have been a very awkward position, and in that moment, I realized I was the lucky one. He was being the trooper, not me. He was the one sacrificing, not me. He was the one doing what I loved, not the other way around. At the top of the lift with only slightly warmer fingers, my kiddo followed me down the mountain where we went into the lodge to warm up and eat lunch. I asked him if he wanted to call it a day or ski some more. Without hesitation, he responded gleefully, “ski!”
It didn’t stop snowing. The wind didn’t stop blowing, and it certainly didn’t get any warmer. But we ventured back out. To ski. Together. I couldn’t have been any luckier.