Through college and into my twenties I was an avid skier. Nothing stopped me… ever. The colder the better because fewer people would be in the lift lines. Fast forward into my forties and well it doesn’t take much to derail ski plans.
This past Sunday my 17-year-old son and I had plans to ski. We checked the weather for the mountain we were planning to visit and discovered wind chill warnings of -15 to -30 below… Yikes! Even he was reluctant. We checked around and found another mountain with a slightly better forecast only -10. Still chilly.
We woke up early to a temperature reading of -3. The sun was barely up and the trees were cracking and popping with the extreme cold. I think… Do I really want to do this? The old reluctance creeping back to me. I pushed on… With my son heading to college next year ski days together will be even harder to come by.
We arrive at the mountain and get out of the car. The cold takes our breath away. We lumber across the parking lot with our equipment and pile it outside the lodge. Peering at the ticket window there is a sign that says t-bar only because the winds are gusting so high that the main chair lift is on wind hold. Ugh… t-bar means no rest for weary legs.
My son asks, “Should we bother?”
“We’re here. Let’s just go for it.” I reply.
I snap my skis on for the first time in two years and scuttle over to the t-bar line. As the t-bar tows us up the mountain we realize we are ready for the cold, we are dressed for it and the t-bar keep us behind the trees and out of the wind.
We scoot off at the top, I turn around and I remember why I ski. The sun shines brilliantly in the shimmering blue sky. My breath is taken away once again, not from the cold, but from the stunning view of the landscape. Frozen lakes, wide open fields of white and snow-capped mountains stretch out in the distance.
The snow is freshly groomed corduroy which has barely been touched as we are among the first skiers on the mountain. We take our first turns and I quickly develop a rhythm. I’m thrilled my body hasn’t forgotten what to do as I glide down the mountain.
The cold is forgotten… My to do list is forgotten… Because I finally remember the joy I get from skiing.