Almost Heaven

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Ever since having kids, I’ve actually managed to score more days on the ski hill than when I was child-less and the only responsibility I had was remember to take the trash out on Tuesdays. Making sure my kids love skiing is important to me and my wife, so we’ve spent a lot of time and energy reinforcing solid ski family values to our children since their first winter out of the womb. My kids are only eight, but they understand that there are no friends on powder days, and it’s okay to miss work or school if you can get solid turns in. And bagging first tracks are way better than straight A’s.

When they were babies and toddlers, I made a harness for a sled so I could tow them on cross country ski days. When they got to be two or three, we got them plastic skis that fit over their winter boots and would take them to the local ski hill for an hour at a time. We fed them chocolate constantly and as soon as they started to whine, we’d whisk them away to the lodge for more treats. Then we’d get ice cream on the way home from the mountain. The plan was simple: trick them into thinking skiing is fun.They got older and grew into hard boots and real skis, took some lessons and got better. For a while, skiing still sucked. They were always uncomfortable and spent half the time crying. We persevered. They finished last season able to ski all of Breckenwolf and picked up this season without missing a step. It’s been super fun, but they’re still little so I’ve never pushed them to ski anything too hard. All season long, we’d stick mostly to the blues and take it easy. And as soon as they said they were tired, we’d make a bee-line for ice cream.

But right now, I’m typing this blog in the midst of a golden parental glow because my wife and I just spent an entire day at Snowshoe skiing black diamonds with our kids. This is the sort of thing we’ve dreamed about since before we even had kids. It’s actually one of the arguments my wife would throw out there when she was trying to convince me to knock her up. 

“Just think: one day, we’ll be able to take ski trips as a family. And ski all day with our kids. Don’t you want that? Wouldn’t that be great?”

I did want that. And it is great. At one point today, we cruised to the top of a seriously rutted out bump run that was steep and narrow. It was legitimate black diamond territory, even by western mountain standards, I thought my daughter was gonna lose it and say she wanted to find another way down, so I stopped short and waited for her and her brother to catch up. She didn’t even pause; she blew right past me into the mogul field and said, “come on dad, you got this!”

I almost cried. I wonder if I’ll feel this proud on her wedding day? I guess it depends if the guy she marries is a skier.Really, it doesn’t matter what beer you drink after a day like this. Colt 45 would taste fine. But I chose Almost Heaven, an amber from Mountain State Brewing. Because it seemed appropriate given the situation.

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