This morning, business forced me to turn the opposite direction from usual on the highway, downhill as opposed to up. I try very hard to avoid 395 at 8am, too much drama and skill needed at that time of day. While trying to balance “not being a hazard to navigation” and a cup of coffee in my ancient vehicle, a very nice new truck with an interesting license plate slammed my eyes open as it passed.
It read, Why Ski
I hoped that he was just a dedicated snowboarder, but it did get my mind moving a lot faster or maybe the coffee kicked in. I have never really answered that question. So with a nod to Mr. Letterman and purely from my point of view as a middle age Dad with a bunch of kids whose lives revolve around bull wheels and winter weather reports:
10.Skiing is a sport that adults can participate in until “that” day.
Not indestructible, cliff hucking, I just ordered my first beer adults, but normal, aging adults that may need Advil once in a while. At my age you are never going to see this guy in a speed suit, but I still ski race. Trees are fun to duck, the Chutes can still be managed and linking turns on a groomed run a challenge. Getting passed by someone that taught me in high school happens every weekend. I started skiing again at 42 after a twenty year absence from the sport and am having a blast!
9. Skiing is affordable. Stop rolling your eyes and let’s do some math. To get started, join Sky Tavern for cheap, borrow some gear from the Program, ski all 20 days Sky Tavern is open a winter. It works out to about the same cost as renting a few videos at Red Box a week. A full blown adult Mt.Rose season pass can be had for around $400 in the early fall, and Paul keeps the place running for five months or so. Skis, boots and poles can be found at the ski swap for under $500 out the door. Find 20 days to get outside and you are in for $45 a day. Take care of that stuff and it will last three years. Now you are in for under $30 per and when you are finished with those skis, donate them to Sky Tavern, take the tax credit and buy new skis from Bobos demo days in the spring.
8.You get to own cool cars.
OK, now this may just be one for the Dads, but now you “need” that SUV with the rack on top, chrome rims, big tires, extra lights and real horsepower. It’s snowing for crying out loud! That SUV has more computing power than NASA when we landed on the moon, and can crush a Fiat if you miss backing up with just a bump in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Mom will add heated seats to the order sheet. Congrats!
7.Sometimes a trip happens.
Here is the big buck reason to ski. Destination resorts are not cheap, but twenty years from now do the kids remember the toys at Christmas or the time three families shared a two bedroom condo in Park City and ate pancakes together in long johns? Then they rode in a cable car with noses pressed against the windows (minus one huddled in the center looking at the floor) and skied at least one run as a pack before the kids all sped up and disappeared. Later it was hot chocolate by a fire and time to tell stories about adventures that last a lifetime. Not cheap, but priceless!
6.It can be a living.
No one since Stein Eriksen has gotten rich ski instructing, but a good many have had fulfilling, no regrets lives working in the mountains at resorts. Sometimes youth is not wasted on the young and old guys follow dreams. Being happy is good.
5.The folks you meet
Chairlift rides start with a silence as everyone settles in, but the inevitable” How’s your day” or ‘Bar coming down” most certainly breaks it on every chair. Even with today’s high speed lifts, conversations flow. Backgrounds, jobs, best eateries and shared experiences dominate the ride. Chairlifts are the real social networks above 7000 feet.
Put snow on a weed covered, 300 foot tall bump in Ohio and it looks so much more inviting. Stand at the top of Diamond Peak looking west to Lake Tahoe and your breath will be taken away by the magnificence! There are places up where lifts unload that skiers gather and don’t say a word. It is what draws us together to share the power of the mountains. Even the toughest shed a tear at times.
3.An old saying. The family that plays together, stays together.
Skiing crosses generations like no other sport. Seventeen year olds hit the park with slide slipping Dads watching every move. Grandparents show grandchildren lines they skied on 210s through the trees when they were young. The kids may pass Mom and Dad every other lap down, but they are together. They saw the same things, ate on the same deck and will share the day later on the ride home.
2.Moving is good, kids are supposed to play outside and they just might pick up a life lesson along the way.
It is in their DNA. Video games all winter long give thumbs a great workout and not much else. Bodies are meant to move, run, jump and climb. At the hill they have to carry their own stuff and remember where they put it. They have to remember to meet Mom for lunch or they go hungry. There are even rules in a terrain park that have to be followed. More of life’s little lessons. Being a parent is a big responsibility and being a good example is part of it. Get out and work those quads and show up the kids. Well, give it a good go anyway!
1.It is FUN!
Sky Tavern and skiing has changed my wife’s and my lives. It made who our kids are today and that is a good thing! Even with some bumps, we would not have it any other way. Skiing is a gift given by family and friends. Share it and go make them happy! Bill
(In the end it turned out that the truck’s owner’s name was pronounced Whyski. Makes a much better story my way. I wave every time I see him. He must wonder why!)
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