“Skiing is in her genes,” a friend announced the other day after a day of skiing, and I believe she’s right. My love for skiing comes from deep within. There are other sports I would love to try that I’m certain would be just as exhilarating but starting as an adult is a whole different ball game.
I have always been intrigued by kite boarding and long to experience that sensation of racing with the wind through the expansive ocean. The salt water spraying on my sun lit face right before I launch off of a wake, my kite lifting me airborne. The problem is, I can’t escape the thought of open jaws lurking under the murky depths, waiting for that precise moment to gobble me up!
It’s a work in progress, eliminating my fears, and as Chanukah passes and Christmas gets ready to pounce, my unwanted emotions resurface. I feel as lit up as our Sardy House tree, the country’s largest live Christmas tree, only my light is ready to implode. “You need to get on the slopes,” my friends urge, knowing that skiing is the one place where I am free from all anxiety.
Back in 1986 I went heli-skiing in New Zealand with one of my best friends, Karen Hawkes. We rented antiquated ski gear, no doubt donated by the early ski Pioneers, and took off in the heli. Although I was gripped with fear at the thought that I might spew my breakfast all over our adorable Kiwi Pilot, all other fears were gone and I silently thanked my father for his great determination to raise little skiers.
Jumping out onto the knife edged peak with the steel blades from the helicopter whirling off into the distance I felt an inner calm. Reveling in the pure sensation of being alive, I made a mental note to add to my husband wish list, “must share my passion of skiing.”
Last Saturday, Aspen Highlands opened for the season and the man that I vowed to share that passion with crushed me in Rochambeau and took off to explore his manliness in the Bowl, while I stayed at home with lots of boys.
When it was my time to get out there, the day was dreary and windy. The kind of day where staying at home in front of the fire and playing Rummi Q was far more appealing than going outside, but the fire burning inside me to ski pushed me out the door to join my friend Patty and go skiing.
The parking lot was empty at Aspen Highlands and Patty and I looked at each other with doubt in our eyes. Downing a hot cider at the “kissing booth” I asked Ski Company Ambassadors, Rob Leventhal and Aaron Reed if they had heard any reports on the Bowl. Nothing to report except for it might be windy.
Floating on our chairlift into complete fog that feeling of adventure came over me. I looked at Patty and smiled and she looked at me and laughed. “Are you sure?” she asked. “Damn straight,” I responded.
Hiking the bowl in the wind and the fog I passed two men from the ski patrol fixing a border rope. “That’s the first time we’ve smiled since being up here,” they said facetiously. Being up there on the bowl was nothing short of spectacular and it was our little secret for that moment.
Patty and I slowly made our way down until we made it to the trees where the visibility improved and there we found heavenly soft snow. As Patty and I wooped our way down our beloved mountain, my fears and anxiety dissipated and I thought of the Aldrich family. Wanting to take their pain away from them, if just for a moment, I thought, “This one is for you.”