The Putin

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If you’ve been reading this blog, then you’re familiar with our Whiskey Wednesday tradition. If you’re new, here’s the Cliff’s Notes: Every Wednesday night, a bunch of dads descend on our local ski hill for a few hours of skiing and light-hearted camaraderie. Each of us has a flask full of whiskey and we spend most of our time racing and trying to push each other down. The night usually ends with a Chinese Downhill, a tradition borrowed from Hot Dog the Movie, an ‘80s ski flick that serves as our group’s moral compass. Google it if you haven’t seen it. The rules for the international Chinese downhill are simple: There are none. First one to the bottom of the hill wins, regardless of the tactics he/she employs. Thank god for helmets and health insurance. This season, we added a new tradition, where we all do a lap shirtless. We call it, “The Putin.”

You could make an argument that we’re all too old to behave this way. It’s an argument my wife feels compelled to make every Thursday morning after the photos from Whiskey Wednesday surface on social media. But here’s my counter argument: Everyone should take one day out of their week to be this immature. Flying down a mountain with no shirt feels crisp. That’s the only word I can use to describe it. And just like the polar plunge (and petty theft and trying to push your friend off the side of a mountain), it makes you feel alive. On a Wednesday. How many 40-year-old husbands and fathers with mortgages and jobs and adolescent braces to pay for have a blissful moment like that in the middle of the week?

A cold snap allowed our local hill, Breckenwolf, to make just enough snow to justify running the lifts and we were able to start the annual Whiskey Wednesday tradition before Christmas, which is an unprecedented treat. We celebrated with a Putin and finished the night with a dinner of Miller High-Lifes (the Champagne of beers) and ham and cheese Hot Pockets at a dive bar half way between the ski hill and our neighborhood. Again, we’re way too old to behave this way, on a Wednesday, but we’re all self-aware enough to realize that’s exactly why we have to do it. 

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