Baddy and I had a rough start getting the boys ready yesterday morning. Axel was moving slower than usual and Hootie-Hoo woke up claiming that he hated ski school. Grumbling at each other I felt my mood plunging into anger.
We herded the boys into Vini-Man and finally got on the road. My mood started to improve when I realized that we were not going to be too late. It dipped again when Baddy screeched the van to a halt and raced back to the house. He had packed all the kids gear and had forgotten his own. I tried to stifle my urge to state the obvious but it sputtered out anyway, “If you would just get Vini-Man loaded in the evening this would not happen”. He did not need to mention that it was my fault we were in this level of distress. After all it was I who had convinced him to dine at our friends’ house the night before. Our general rule is to stay home the night prior to ski school but I am not one to ever pass up an invitation to visit with friends.
We dropped off Hootie-Hoo first at Powder Pandas. I was met with great resistance as I attempted to drag him to his instructor. All the tools learned from parenting classes were reverberating in my head but I didn’t have the time to use them. The boys were hiking up the Bowl and we couldn’t be late. I picked up Hootie-Hoo in all of his ski clothes and hauled his 45pound mass of misery over to his teacher. Danny pleaded with me not to leave him with my crying child but today I had no choice. I apologized as I ran away shouting, “I’m sure you’ll both be fine”. I made a note to myself to increase Danny’s tip.
Baddy raced on to the mountain as if he were driving in the Indy500. People watched as Vini-Man smoke out of the parking lot. The flames on the side of the van gave us away alerting all of our friends that the Livingston’s were late once again.
And Now The Hike Up Highlands Bowl
After dropping off the rest of the boys I took a deep breath and looked around. My veil of despondency melted away as I watched all of our friends gathering together. Saturdays on Aspen Highlands Mountain always reminds me of why I live in Colorado. After living in New York City I truly appreciate the value of living in a small town community where everybody knows one another.
In the beginning of the season the first ascent up to the top of Highlands is always a mixed bag of dread and excitement. Running into friends prior to hiking can affirm or relieve my fears. I dread the days when the bowl feels like Everest with high winds howling off the face. The days I live for are when the temperatures are in the 30’s, the skiing is outrageous and the ski patrol is about to drop the gates on all of the supreme terrain. On these days my adrenaline rushes and turns me into a hyperventilating mess.
We hiked to the top of the Bowl and Baddy was frothing at the mouth with the anticipation of hucking his skis into the newly opened slopes. He had been pent up for weeks with his broken shoulder and was ready to rock ‘n roll. I was in despair because I had forgotten to pack a surprise treat for the boys for when they reached the top of the Bowl. I demanded for Wade to leave me in his amped up state so that I could find out the estimated arrival time of the ski classes.
Waiting at the top of the Bowl I soaked in the views surrounding me. The snowy mountains filled and enlightened my soul leaving me with a resonating peacefulness. Life was good regardless of all the obstacles. My good friend and personal trainer, Lisa Chapman, hiked up to greet me. We smiled at each other and acknowledged that we were a bunch of lucky coconuts, a quote taken from John Denver.
Launching off the top into the powdery mist we inhaled the cool air and began our descent thinking of nothing but our next turn. We knew that our children were close behind us having a similar experience and we would all soon reconvene at the bottom of the slope with rekindled souls and great stories to tell.