A day gone wrong after Aspen Highlands Ski Patrol opened the gate to the Highlands Bowl hike.
Today, we woke up to rain. Determined to enjoy our weekly date together on our favorite mountain, Aspen Highlands, we tried to be optimistic and not comment on that pesky Global Warming that is putting a real damper on our skiing.
We dropped our older boys off into a sea of “sick” bright and zany colors, adorned by fellow skiophytes. The kids lunged their hellos into their unsuspecting friends, knocking them to the ground in all of their excitement, not caring that they were getting wet early. We took it as a cue to leave after watching Thumper’s instructor aggressively chuck his ski pole way off into the distant powder after being called a fart face. It takes a certain type of person to be a ski instructor for kids (I know, I was one once).
This was our third Saturday sans kids and we were excited to hike and ski the bowl without ever looking at a terrain park. It’s not an easy task being a mother of a freestyler. They should have a sign on the parks, “Not suited for mothers who are not taking Valium”.
Occasionally, I attempt a rail, wrongly thinking that participation will calm my nerves. The boys plead with me to not embarrass them in front of their fellow sagging homies.
Baddy and took off and floated through the quiet powder catching face shots in the trees until they finally opened the gate to the Highlands Bowl where we joined the frothing masses to climb to the superior powder.
I was still elated by the two laps I had done in the Bowl the previous Saturday and was ready to attempt the same that day, but I underestimated the complexities of nature. A 40 degree bluebird day does not offer the same challenges as a wet and snowy 37 degree day with eight inches of new snow to fill in the boot packed trail.
I implored Baddy not to wait for his painfully slow wife as I could tell that today was another one of those Everest-like days where I would beg him to leave me to the elements. “If we are ever in a survivor situation, just eat me first,” I always tell him. As he resisted my pleas for him to abandon me the man ahead of us turned back to tell Baddy that he was an amazing husband. He was right but I wanted to growl and possibly eat the man for that remark.
The hike was as painful as I had imagined it might be due to the funky weather and we cut in early. I watched as Baddy floated effortlessly down and then I stem-christied over the dynamite blasted snow. Having skied since I was three years old, skiing is the one place where I am not afraid, but today was different. We have lost too many friends to avalanches to ignore that there are real dangers out there.
The wet snow and the hike chilled me to the bone and I left Baddy, full of adrenaline, to take his second lap. As I skied down No Name Bowl in deep powder I encountered ski patrol stealthily maneuvering a sled through steep terrain to bring an injured person to safety. I marveled at their passion and bravado.
The Dreaded Phone Call
Feeling dry and happy in the warm restaurant, my bliss was aborted when I received the dreaded call from Baddy. He had hit a rock skiing and had fallen badly on his shoulder. I was to meet him at the bottom and take him to ER.
At the hospital, my badass husband was given morphine and the doctors listened incredulously as he told them that he had refused to be taken down in a sled with a cracked scapula.
Baddy and I got robbed of any future intimate dates in the Highlands Bowl but I suppose there are other things we can do on the Saturdays when the boys are in ski-school. I could sit with him in a hot tub while drinking champagne and feasting on cured meats, cornichons, brie and french bread.unless.it’s a powder day or a perfect blue-bird day, and then all loving sentiments are off. Of course, Ill feed Baddy a good breakfast, give him a big kiss goodbye and give him an IOU for intimacy later. He would want me to go, this I know.