Skiing is a crazy sport. You wake up before dawn, make the sleepy kids put on their ski togs, pile a ton of gear into the car and drive on dark slick snowy roads to some far off mountain. The coffee runs out an hour into the drive, but the wintry mix (read: slush) turns over to snowflakes on your windshield. Your steering wheel grip remains tight as darkness turns to morning light.
The sun is up with you now, and then the first sight of snowy ski slopes come into view with a glow on the summit from the early rays. This is your beacon, reminding you why you came. You can not exactly run to the restroom (too much coffee) since you have squeezed your feet into clunky plastic ski boots in the parking lot. You schlep to the lodge carrying sharp pointy gear, plunk down serious dough on tickets, and you are ready for lift off…at last.
You click in and line up for the lift, and finally your chariot (or chairlift) arrives. High fives, or mitten thumps, with your family as you swiftly ascend the mountain signal the start to a good ski day. The long ride is forgotten, though the kids will not verbally forgive you for disturbing their slumber.
Then it happens, you push off – the silky smooth snow sparkles like a glittery invitation to come slide your skis. You make turns, hearing the swift sound of your boards under foot, and a whistle of the wind as you fly by the trees. You watch your daughter making her swooping turns. Your husband is ahead sweeping side to side, deciding the next trail of choice. The snow is perfectly corrugated ripples that succumb under your ski edge as you carve. Yes, this is why you came, why you got out of your warm fuzzy bed and beat a path to the ski resort.
At day’s end, you and your family have rosy glowed faces and the waning endorphins from the outdoor exhilaration. The thigh muscles are tired, albeit a satisfied soreness. You gather by a fire or around a table of food, and share your tales from the trails. That wipe out now seems funny, and the long car ride is long forgotten. The anticipation for your next ski day is as big as the appetites for a hearty dinner.
Eric Wilbur is a lifelong recreational skier who spends most of his winter and spring in the mountains of New England. He does not ski in jeans. You can read more of Eric's work here.
Heather Burke is an award winning ski journalist with over a decade of ski news coverage. As a former ski instructor and a ski parent, she knows the ski biz from the inside out. She and her family visit New England ski resorts, as well as the West and Canada, to report on the latest trends and their best family finds. Her husband Greg takes all the accompanying photos, and their work can be seen at www.familyskitrips.com and www.luxuryskitrips.com.