Yesterday I spent hundreds of dollars to ski by myself on a cold and snowy day on one of the steepest mountains I have ever skied. I couldn’t help it. Whenever I am in a ski town I recall childhood ski trips with my mother and younger sister, which I didn’t always enjoy but which nevertheless are so embedded in my life experience that I ache with nostalgia in such places. I remember loving to ski on snowy days. Powder cushioned the falls, making me less fearful, and dark skies added drama and mystery to the tedium of chair lift rides. I remember days with my sister on some of the steepest glade trails in Vermont where we did not belong, looking ridiculous, laughing at our awkward maneuvers to get down the worst of it and having a blast.
Times have changed. Riding up the #1 lift in Taos, I longed for the sun which teasingly peeped out now and then. I stuck to the blues because the blacks were too scary. I fussed with my rented equipment which didn’t seem quite right. After a couple of hours I tried to take a break to get some hot food, picturing the bowls of chili and mugs of hot chocolate that warmed us up as kids. But there was a line to get into the lodge. Maybe a COVID thing?
I had no patience for the line at $100/hour of ski time. I ate a granola bar and went back up the lift. I think I covered most sections of the mountain, although certainly not most of the runs, the bulk of which were rocky vertical drops. The views were gorgeous like so many places in this state. I got stuck once between a sharp mogul and one of those lovely aspens I admired so much in Santa Fe. When years ago I would have found this hysterically funny, I now found potentially life threatening. But I got out of it ok.
I had to stop at 3:00 which in my youth I would have thought lame. (Got to ski ‘til the lifts close.) But I reasoned that I hadn’t had a lunch break and my hip was killing me. So I limped back to the truck and relished the comparably safe trip back down the mountain to our cozy Airbnb in town.