I grew up wearing skis. My parents had me in my first ski lessons on Mt. Bachelor at the wee age of five years.
Thirty years later and I don’t ski at all. I don’t miss it. It always seemed like too much work. Too much money, too much gear, too much cold, too much exercise. I was always happier sitting inside near the fire drinking hot chocolate and watching movies. I can admire the view of snow and mountains from inside a warm cabin. I don’t mind a walk through the snow, a short hike to an amazing mountain vista, or the occasional snowball fight, but the truth is I’m not a highly physical person. I prefer reading and writing to speeding down the side of a mountain.
But, the memories of childhood ski trips are some of the best on record.
The Christmas I spent at the mountain with my aunt, uncle, and cousins. I was nine years old and remember the practical jokes, the Charlie Brown Christmas tree (literally a branch from an outside tree, shoved into a Coke bottle and decorated with paper chains and popcorn), and an impromptu Christmas pageant in which I played Mary. I wore my pink nightgown and a Cabbage Patch doll took the roll of baby Jesus. I remember the many yahtzee games by the fire, the impenetrable dark of a mountain cabin, and the constant roll of laughter. I remember the last time I went skiing. The lift tickets had been purchased, my cousin “T” and I went up the chair and down the mountain then spent the rest of the day in the lodge. Two wasted lift tickets, but two content young girls warm with cider and hot chocolate.
I remember the time my little girl bum froze to the seat of the chair lift and I had to leap from the seat after it had passed the exit point. A little jump that felt like a million-mile drop. I remember following my parents, my little brother behind me, through powder up to my knees as we found a “short cut” through the woods. I remember moguls beyond my ability and my mom telling me, “Do not be intimidated by the mountain” while all I could think was “What does intimidate mean?” and “Please God, don’t let me die.” I remember being the only people left in the lodge late one night. My brother and cousins and I racing up and down the stairs in our ski boots while our parents laughed with the bartender in front of the lounge fire.
I remember the peace of snow. Drifts taller than any person I had ever known. Several feet of white fluff piled high on car roofs. Trees coated in a frosty dream. I could breathe in the cold. I may not be a skiier, but mountains are in my bones.
Looking out the window today I audibly said, “Ohhhhh!” Like a small child in a candy shoppe. The view of Mt. Hood, Wy’East, was stunning. A perfectly peaked piece of land pointing up toward the sun. And I remembered the mountains I have loved.
Here is a writing prompt: Tell me about the mountains you have loved. In the words of Natalie Goldberg, “Go. Ten Minutes.”