I miss the smell of snow skiing. I know that sounds strange but moist, snow-covered evergreen trees under a sunny sky emit a wonderful aroma nothing like those cardboard pine-scented car fresheners. On your first ride up the lift that fresh smell fills your senses, and you’re off!
We gave up snow skiing almost two years ago by choice. I planned my 70th birthday around skiing for free at Monarch Mountain, surrounded by as much of our family as we could gather. I was crying when I popped my bindings off for the last time, but I knew it was right.
I had made a conscious decision that I wanted a healthy old age that allowed me to take long walks, travel, go to Zumba class, and spend time keeping and playing with grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It was no longer worth it to me to risk being wiped out by a 300-pound Bubba from Oklahoma who decided to try snowboarding for the first time! God love his sense of adventure, but I’m staying out of his way.
To be truthful, I was a “fair weather” skier anyway. More than once my husband and I got out of the car at a ski area where the wind was blowing so hard we could barely open the car doors, thought “no thanks,” went to breakfast and drove back home. We preferred fresh snow, bright sun, and temperatures at or above freezing, so a couple of days of March skiing were enough for us. But oh, the memories of skiing over the years.
I first skied at age 22 by default while living in Germany. My then husband convinced me to ride the lift up to the top of the Zugspitze in Garmisch because the views were fantastic! Somehow I got down that day, praying all the way that my five-month-old baby boy wouldn’t have to grow up without a momma. Eventually I took lessons from an Austrian ski instructor whose only English was, “Bend zee knees, UP!” That was enough information to keep me happily cruising the blue, intermediate slopes safely for 48 years.
But the time on the slopes is just part of my bank of snow memories! How I remember two little rosy-cheeked boys in zip-up snowsuits struggling to carry their skis through the parking lot because it was time to “hit the slops” as one liked to say! I remember returning to ski condos with a real fire crackling in the fireplace and the smell of chili in the crockpot. I remember hot tubs with family and friends, hot mulled wine, and a lot of board games.
I know there are more snow memories for my husband Jim and me to make in the future. Maybe we’ll take up cross-country skiing again, or try snow shoeing. Maybe we’ll tag along on a family ski trip and just enjoy stoking the fire and stirring the chili while everyone else walks around with bowling balls on their feet and tries to keep their fingers and toes from freezing.
It will happen because the snow still calls to me. This morning the sun came out after a healthy dump of snow over the last two days, and something in my soul said “ski day!” Several Colorado resorts are already open before Thanksgiving so it should be a great season. But this morning, it was enough for me to wake up my husband and convince him to take an early morning drive to a diner for breakfast. Feeling the fresh snow crunching under my feet as we walked in made me happy, as did the hot coffee and scrambled eggs. Of course our view of the snow-covered mountain range against the blue Colorado sky was more than worth our travel over frosty streets.
I’m grateful for all my snow memories. Those in the past and those still to be made! Hope you also find something for which to be grateful this Thanksgiving. When we look for them, blessings abound.