Ticket to ride

This time, it’s really over. Seriously. No more empty promises, half-assed attempts or lame excuses. Stick a fork in me, because I’m done.

That’s right, I’m talking about winter. But in case you’re one of those die-hard types who’ll hike 12 hours through no man’s land to scrape down a 3-foot swath of rotten crust in mid-August, don’t take my word for it. As of tomorrow, spring officially begins. I know, it’s still pitch black when you get up in the morning, but trust me. Calendars don’t lie, or the crocuses in my back yard, or my blindingly pasty legs, which are just beginning to flirt with the idea of bike shorts.

Sure, there’s still plenty of time for slush bumps, dawn corn patrol missions and maybe even some extra-heavy pow in those farflung north-facing nooks and crannies. But for me, I’d just as soon end what was without a doubt my most pathetic attempt at a ski season ever (including the years I was pregnant, and the year I got my new, $20,000 knee.)

And the worst part of all is, I don’t even have a good excuse. OK, so the every-Tuesday storm cycle wasn’t exactly conducive to my work schedule. But in these parts, not even that is considered a valid excuse.

In fact, as ashamed as I am to admit it, if I was a two-fingered sloth, I could count my powder days this season on one hand/claw. My skis are so rusty that they’re a tetanus hazard, and my boots have become just another piece of porch decor. I guess you could say I fell hard off the family ski wagon, which dutifully left our abode every weekend morning, rain or shine, white outs or wind chills be damned, with two small skiing protégés in tow. See, several years ago, I sold my soul to the instant gratification devil, trading in long days bagging vertical for the quick fix of the Nordic track or hockey rink. Of course, to justify it, I played economic martyr, arguing there wasn’t enough room in the family budget for both parents to have season passes. But little did I realize, as I waved goodbye to the crowds on those winter morns and stole off to the serenity of well-manicured corduroy track, the price I would pay.

“Mom doesn’t know how to ski blacks,” my kindergartner protested one recent morning when it was announced I would be making a rare guest appearance on the slopes. Needless to say, the declaration shot through me like a late-December arctic blast.

It seems that while I was perfecting the art of the V2, my offspring had graduated from The Graduate. Edgie wedgies were for babies and asking for help getting on the lift was a humiliation only rivaled by your mommy kissing you goodbye when she dropped you off at the mountain in her dorky cross country gear. Somewhere along the way, my sweet snowplower had turned into a high-speed terrain park terror.

Never mind the numerous bump runs and powder days he enjoyed while still in utero. Or that the best years of my life were spent stooped over his 2-foot frame in a perma-wedge, trying to keep his rubber legs from hyperextending like a camel’s. Or that I threw away a small fortune in the form of ice cream cone and hot chocolate bribery. In his limited window of memory, it was true. Mom was a wuss (which may or may not be true, but can we at least go on living the lie until they’re tweeners?)

“Mommy can ski blacks just fine,” the primary ski chaperone in the family spoke up in my defense whilst I tried to remove the ski pole that had been driven like a stake through my heart.

But no use, the damage had been done. In his eyes, I was nothing more than the gear shlepper, his personal ski caddy only capable of the occasional fair weather cruise through Animas City or Angel’s Tread.

The gauntlet had been thrown, and in response I did the only thing any good economic stimultor could: I threw down the plastic. After more than a decade, I stepped up to the big desk, flashed a cheesy smile for the camera and walked away with my very own neck ornament for the 2009-10 ski season. That’s right, from here on out, the only couch-surfing I’ll be doing on weekends will be on the six-pack. Bring on the fat boards and the phat air.

OK, so I partly did it out of pride, to prove that the old lady may have a little more junk in the trunk, but everything under the hood checks out fine. But mostly, I need to prove to myself that just because there’s a little rust around the edges, the inside is still untarnished. Sure, my lackluster winter of malcontent may be coming to an end, but just wait’ll next year.

– Missy Votel



In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows