At Last

They were calling it “snowmageddon” days before it hit. And days after we spent hours trying to avoid “avalanche activity”. So, the snow day was called early. As students headed to after-school practices and rehearsals the day before its arrival, a roar of joy rang through the halls.

I was there. It was loud. But I missed seeing my own kids get the news they spent all winter waiting for.

Yesterday, they had already proclaimed the snow day a great one. Survived skiing the jump they built midway down a short hill that ends in a creek. Played a two-hour game of Risk. Drank hot chocolate.

Then just before dinner, our ninth grader started screaming, jumping around the kitchen, arms flapping. An email from his math teacher regarding “a second snow day” was followed immediately by a text from the District. Power outages. Slick parking lots. State of emergency.

This time, I witnessed their response.

Two teenage boys playing air guitar. Belting out Queen’s “We Are the Champions.” 

Colorado Skiing and Broncos Football

“Are you watching the game up here?”

“You heading back before kickoff?”

On any Broncos game weekend, that’s what friends and strangers alike will ask you on the chairlift, slope-side or riding up the gondola.

This past play-off weekend, despite plenty of snow and gorgeous sunny weather, avid skiers, gunning for their “vertical-feet” record, put seasonal legacies aside for something bigger. Something worth sacrificing a perfect ski day for – our Broncos.

“We’re leaving at 7am.” On Sunday. A ski day.

Everywhere you looked Saturday, skiers wore football jerseys over their jackets. Orange and blue was everywhere. Men, women, children, boys, girls.

And then, there were my skiers and their friends. “We’re leaving at 7.” “Go Broncos!” Huge fans.

Yet of five boys age eight to thirteen, not one wore a Broncos shirt. Expressing their individuality. Egging each other on in competition for best team, best favorite player, best team trivia knowledge. They donned Packers, Falcons, Chiefs, Lions, and even Patriots jerseys and welcomed the attention they got as they sped down black diamonds and crashed off jumps they didn’t quite see.

The Lions’ fan counted ten “Go Lions!”

The Packers fan boasted five or six “Nice jersey, dude! Go Packs!”

But on playoff Sunday, we left at 7.

“Go Broncos!” “Go Peyton!” “Our defense rocks!”

And we were all home for the game. Yelling. At times, covering our eyes. Praying. Cheering. Jumping up and down. Hugging. A team worth the sacrifice of a perfect ski Sunday, because we get to do it again in two weeks.





When Mom Takes the Kids to Ski School

I will never like skiing. I will never sign my kids up for those every-weekend programs. I will never drive them up to ski school by myself. I will never ski alone.

Never say never.

Life is constantly throwing us curve balls. Lost jobs. Untimely deaths. Unexpected illnesses. Kids with talents or weaknesses we don’t share. Surprise pregnancies. Undreamt of promotions. Big moves to places we’ve never been. Kids who like to ski.

I will never… until last weekend.

I woke up at 4:45 so that we could leave for Vail by 6:00 a.m. My sons are enrolled in a weekly ski program called High Rockies. There is a bus that brings the kids up and back, but I have a morbid fear that the day I put my kids on the bus, it will be buried by an avalanche. This year, with almost know snow on the cliffs overlooking I-70 that would be virtually impossible, but logic has nothing to do with it.

So this past weekend, even though my ski-loving husband could not come with us, I vowed to get the kids settled in their lessons and ski… all by myself. After only three weeks in the weekly ski program, my kids can already out-ski me. They go faster and higher and more dangerous. I figured I should practice.

I picked a slope I had skied with my husband, so that I could remind myself on the steep spots that I’d survived it before. Simba. On my fourth run, near the top, I skidded on ice, spun around and lost my ski. It is important to note that I have never stood up from a crash on my own before. I am cautious enough that I rarely fall. My arm muscles are non-existent. I am slightly uncoordinated. A second crash while trying to stand is certain to send me into panic.

Deep breath. I will never do this again. Just get me down the mountain. I will never like to ski…

…until I actually made it down in one piece with two skis attached… all by myself.

Still shaking, I grabbed my book out of the car, found a nice table in the sun with a view of the mountain, ordered a glass of chardonnay, and was quite pleased with myself.

What a great way to enjoy a warm day in January! Ski until you fall. Drink wine in the sun with ski boots off. If I hadn’t taken the kids to their weekly ski program on my own, I would be back in Denver worrying that an avalanche was going to hit their return bus and doing laundry. Did I say I would never like to ski? Silly.

Then, half-way through the glass of wine, the phone rang. “Are you still in Vail?”


“Can you come to the top of the gondola? Your son has a fever.”

Did I mention that gondolas give me vertigo?

I will never, never, never… until next weekend.

The Marriage Contract

How bad is it if you re-neg on your marriage contract? Is it okay if it’s not in writing? What about if all you agreed to was to “love to ski” despite the ridiculous odds?

When I said “yes”, I couldn’t fathom that I would ever “love to ski.” I could see eventually getting down a blue without throwing a temper tantrum, but love doing it? No way.

His part of the deal was that I got to choose where our future kids went to school. More important. More practical. Much more expensive. But also more likely to be achieved.

Then we moved to Colorado.

I can now make it down most blues without cussing out my husband. I finally got ski pants that look okay, and I even wear a helmet. I discovered hand warmers.

I love the scenery. I love spending the day outside. I adore hanging out with my husband, and the fact that he always skis with me even though I slow him down. I like how rosy the kids’ cheeks get after time on the slopes. I love an après-ski Bud Light on a sunny afternoon, and the feeling that I survived the day. It amazes me that an entire day can go by, and not a thought enters my head expect getting down the mountain. Turn, ice patch, turn, lean forward, feel your shins on the front of your boot, turn, ice patch….BUMP!!!!!…phew.

I do still feel like I am going to puke on the chair lift. I can’t make it through a day on the slopes without yelling at another skier for skiing too fast or too close — road rage in the snow. I wish they would close the slopes to all other skiers but me. I would rather be drinking an après-beach Bud Light. I can’t sleep in the night preceding our first return to the slopes each winter. I dread it. I fear the mountain.

And then, deep breath, I have fun. Some of the greatest days are on my skis, though you would never guess it to see me flailing, grimacing, cussing, slowly making my way down the hill. But it’s true. I just may love to ski.


Marriage contract in tact.