I Like Skiing

One of the things I love about blogging is that you put yourself out to a global community, and you find kindred spirits. It’s so powerful to admit my weaknesses and observations and little vanities here, and have them meet with people from all sorts of different countries and cultures and social groups. I especially love how people are so willing to share with integrity and vulnerability. I know I say this over and over, but I’m so grateful for that. To that end…I will share with you about a little issue I have…and one which yesterday, I put to rest.

I have lived in a ski town for seventeen years. This would be the answer to many people’s prayers. There are hundreds of people who live in my town who work whatever job(s) they can find just so they can soar down that ski hill. I am not one of them. I have never felt comfortable on skis. I can’t really deal with the whole scene, plummeting down the mountain in total white out so that you can’t see whether you’re on ice or a foot of carved up snow until you are upon it, in temps so cold your nose hurts, people careening down all around you, cutting you off. I say over and over, “I like skiing, I like skiing” the whole way down. Until I get to the chair lift and fanataszie about the hot cocoa I’m going to have at the lodge, but then think about how much money it costs for a lift ticket and force/guilt myself to go up again. To be apart of what my children and husband adores and my town’s culture. In the lift line, it’s all about the fresh pow pow and the gnarly moguls and the forecasted snow which is described by words like puking, dumping, croaking and vommiting. And then there’s the ride up on the chairlift which contains the possibility of dangling fifty feet in the air for a long long time, due to mechanical issues– a lot of fun for a person who likes to ask the question, “How do I get out of here,” and have a logical answer. I’m the one who knows where the exit row is on an airplane, for instance. The one in front, and the one behind. In other words, I’m a real treat to ski with. Usually I get left behind by my family. Usually I ski alone. So in the last years, usually I don’t go up at all. I am what you might refer to as a ski-widow. Luckily, wintertime makes me want to write books so I’m home all weekend by the fire, writing, and cooking something yummy for my family to enjoy upon their return.

But yesterday I had a come-to-Jesus conversation with myself. My family was going up skiing and the kids complained that I never join them. It was a stunning day– not too cold, not a cloud in the sky, views of Glacier National Park all the way down through the valley to Flathead Lake. The snow conditions were stable the way I like them, and so really…I had no excuse. So I went. Both of my kids ran into friends in the parking lot and off they went. “See you at the lodge at the end of the day,” they chimed. I wasn’t about to MAKE them ski with me. And my husband got called in to work before the first run. So I spent the day skiing, alone. BUT I refused to feel sorry for myself.

I decided I’d do an experiment. I’d go slowly and pay attention. I’d pretend like I’d never skiied before in my life. Like I’d never seen a mountain peak or even snow. Like everthing was new to me– the pines laden with snow like ghosts, the chairlift, a miracle invention, allowing me to have those views, those fiberglass skiis a genius appendage I could strap on and slide on like a kid in a candy store. I took away all the pressure of being any good at this thing I’ve battled with for seventeen years. This thing you can’t buy a cup of coffee around here without hearing about. This “club” that I’m not really apart of. I would just be with the moment of snow underfoot. And I would go as slowly as possible. I would stop. I would take a half an hour to get down the mountain. I would carve my turns instead of formlessly speeding down the mountain to get it over with. I would lie on my back in the sun and be thankful for vitamin D in all this season of grey and fog. And you know what? I had a great day. It’s amazing what can happen when we go easy on ourselves, remove our head noise– all the shoulds and musts and what ifs…and just be with the moment.


Filed under Little Hymns to Montana, My Posts

11 Responses to I Like Skiing

  1. Jaime Stathis

    I love this! A couple of years ago I finally decided to be honest with myself about the fact that I’m not crazy about downhill skiing. There’s a lot of sit-and-wait which is not exactly my specialty, and I much prefer to take the dog snow shoeing. I’m always up for a hot chocolate.

    Apart or a part? I could tell if it was intentional or a slip. It works either way and made me think…

    Merry Christmas!

  2. Donald J Stifler

    It is called “Loving What Is”. We find blessed moments when we can let go of expectations and replace that with openness or expectancy. When we spend to much time judging something we have no room to love it. Your day became a beautiful experience of what can be when we get out of the way.
    Blessings to you and your Family this Holiday Season.
    With Love to you All

  3. Laura, you sure had a beautiful day! It is amazing what is available to us when we decide to receive it. AMEN!

  4. Bonnie Hannigan

    You should ski with me Laura! I always get left and I have an extra helmet I will give you. Chiama mi cara! xx

  5. Yay! I came late to skiing. But now I love it.


  6. Kathy O'Neill

    Dear Laura
    Not only are these word truly inspirational on so many fronts, but these photos are gorgeous!!!

    I am so glad that you found the time to reconnect not only with your family, but with yourself and the beauty and peacefulness that surrounds you. Thank you so very much for sharing these thoughts and photos. I believe we all are in a fight with the conflicting feelings of what we should be doing and what we want to be doing, At least today the internal struggle between these two opposing forces brought you to a place of calm, peacefulness and personal achievement….all in all, not a bad day!!!

    Thanks for sharing.

    All the best,


  7. Janis Schmier

    More of living in the moment. You’ve successfully taken a fresh look at a deed you have not appreciated prior to now and changed the experience to one that you now enjoy. Good job, Laura!

  8. Frume Sarah

    Wow…I love how you really lived in the moment and took your time experiencing it all.

  9. I love this story. Of course, I’m a skier, having learned before I could walk. I’m clumsy in real life. But on skis I can glide across the slopes, whip past trees, and sail through the snow. Nothing makes me giddy and happy like snow. So glad to know that you, too, have found the joy in skiing.


  10. I went skiing on Christmas Eve – for the very first time in my 39 years. My children are avid snowboarders, and I went for them more than for myself. I think that it would take A LOT more for me to love skiing…but I loved being on the mountain with my not-so-little ones.

  11. I, too, struggled with hitting the slopes with my family when all I really wanted to do was sit by the fire with a book. In addition to disliking the cold, I found it challenging to be so bad at something that seemed to be so effortless for everyone else. That is why I took up snowboarding instead. I am still stuck on the bunny slope, but at least I am having a good time, and there is always someone even newer than I am! Glad to hear you embraced the challenge and had a great day, with beautiful scenery to boot.

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