Monday, February 23, 2009

what makes us ski?

A few weekends ago, I took a trip to Quebec, Canada to ski Mont Tremblant with a friend (see below). When people asked where we were from, we replied “Colorado.” “Why are you skiing here?” they would ask. Everyone seemed so confused that a couple of spoiled Colorado skiers went all the way out to the East Coast to ski some cold, hard snow. And as we were skiing, we couldn’t help but wonder what really made people want to ski out here. We both agreed that is was highly improbable either of us would learn to ski on the east coast- but plenty of people do. The rental shop was stuffed with people of all ages, waddling around in their foreign-feeling ski boots, only to click into some noodly skis and fall smashing down onto completely unforgiving east-coast ice. Not my idea of a fun, possibly athletic activity.

What really makes any of us ski? In Colorado, the snow may be better, but most of us brave the nauseatingly busy drive to Summit country. We stuff our feet into what are essentially cement casts for our feet, and unless we are fortunate enough to work from home in Breckenridge or ski-bum in Frisco, most of us are forced to stop-and-start our cars back up the hill to the tunnel, only to mash our brakes the whole way back to the front range. We suffer, but for what? For the 20 or so pow runs we get a year? For the sunshine to leave us branded as skiers, our tans fading into our foreheads? For our fingertips to go through cycles of life and death as we attempt to keep them warm?

This year, with a busy internship and full time class, I have skied significantly less than my epic 60 days last year. I have missed every powder day my favorite mountain has had. I have enjoyed approximately zero soft bump runs. The trees have not held onto their stash long enough for me to enjoy it. Last year, I definitely skied for the snow- woke up early, skied late, and went to sleep early just to repeat it all for the next three days (I had four day weekends). But missing every powder day thus far has made me realize that this year, I ski for friends.

Skiing for friends is a big lifestyle change- it means sleeping in, grabbing lattes on the way to the hill, and eating Wendy’s at 2pm on the way out. Although I miss waking up in the dark and eating my smushed sandwich from my pocket, skiing for friends is a little less lonely and maybe a little more fun. I have grown happy skiing just to ski. Going all the way to Canada just to rip some corduroy (if we were lucky) is a perfect example. So the next time you ski, are you gonna ski for snow? Or are you gonna ski for friends? You know where I’ll be.

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