Fighting off the onset of the jaded skier’s blues
I’ll never forget the time I sat in my car on my day off just staring at the peaks of Breckenridge Ski Resort. All my gear was in the back, and the plan was to spend the day on the mountain.
This is why I live here, I told myself. Sick terrain, beautiful views, an off day with not much else to do but play on the hill. I had dreamt of days like this for as long as I could remember, through grade school, college and into last summer. I had boasted of the mountain lifestyle and challenged friends to break free from city life, even if for a weekend.
And now here I was, living the dream on a bluebird December day, with all the skiing anyone could ever want right up the road, and I just sat there.
The radio voices debated war, I witnessed the car clock tick from 11:59 to noon, I watched bundled people hustle up and down Ridge Street and I became increasingly enamored with my heated car seat, which soothed in violent opposition to the windy ridge top of Peak 8 in the distance.
And in that moment, which lasted close to a half hour, I realized I had become one very jaded skier. I just didn’t want to go. Instead, I spent the afternoon with a bottomless cup of coffee and a stack of paperbacks.
People had warned me this might happen, people who have been down this road before. A friend who grew up in Steamboat once told me he only skis when it’s good. Having recently moved from the land of loose granular to Colorado, my response was, “Well, it’s always good.”
But he meant powder, and in Steamboat, there are enough of those days to get a skier through a winter. On the cold, windy ones, when it hasn’t snowed in two weeks, skiing doesn’t even enter his mind.
I’m not quite to that point yet. I still consider getting out on those down days. But more and more I end up finding something else to do. In my seventh season in Colorado and third in Summit County, my transition to becoming a good-day-only skier is in full bloom, and I am embracing the inevitability of it.
Then friends come out to visit – those same friends to whom I had boasted about the life of a mountain freak – and suddenly, my motivation to ski hard every day comes pouring back into my soul. Crust, groomers, powder, it doesn’t matter. I am ready to carve everything with equal fervor.
I show these old friends around the mountains for three days, and it is like my first three days in Colorado. I see the slopes through their eyes, which are as wide and sparkling as mine once were. A few weeks after that dreary moment in my car on Ridge Street, I am a skier again.
If I ever do leave this place, I know I’ll spend hours, years even, dreaming about its perfection. And perhaps that simple thought alone can help me put off becoming a snow snob for one more year. In fact, maybe I’ll hit the slopes right now. My skis are still in the back of my car.
Jason Starr can be reached at (970) 668-3998 Ext. 231 or at email@example.com.
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