The glare of the sun off the snow is intense. Thank God for polarized sunglasses. Still, within 20 minutes, I realize I have massively overdressed. My ski pants feel like a suit of armor on my legs, and my ski parka makes me feel like a giant potato baking and crinkling in the early February sun. Forty-five minutes into the lesson and I can’t take it anymore, heaving my jacket onto the snow, leaving me standing on the bunny slope in only a long-sleeve top. Even then, I feel too warm, wishing for a tank top and shorts.
With their goggles steaming and fogging from sweat on their brow, the kids are hot too. They keep taking their gloves and mittens off, and I keep reminding them that they have to keep them on despite the roasting temperatures. I keep prompting myself and the kids to keep drinking water, but despite this internal reminder, I feel completely parched and dried up by lunchtime. There is no amount of water that will keep me from getting dehydrated today.
It’s hard to believe in mid-winter at 9000 feet in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, I would be worried about heat exhaustion, but it’s on my mind. A little girl gets sick in the morning, and I can’t help but think it’s a combination of the altitude and the heat that has gotten to her. We quickly usher her inside and have mom and dad take her back to their lodging. The sun is radiating off the snow as the temperatures inching up towards 40, one of the warmest days on the ski slopes this season.
It doesn’t help that it’s a never-ever skied class, so the day is filled with shuffling and falling, which adds to the sweat and amount of energy being expended by all of us. The kids are spending a lot of time figuring out how to get up, and I am spending a lot of time hiking up and down the hill assisting them. As we take a break, everyone’s hair is full of sweat and perspiration covers their faces. I’m regretting my choice of wearing long underwear underneath my ski pants as the day wears on. But there’s nothing to do except persevere and try to keep an upbeat attitude for the kid’s sake.
The one positive thing is the snow that was so hard packed and icy this morning has become soft and mushy with the warmer temperatures. This at least helps the kids do their wedges and “pizza” stops more easily and I’m heartened to see that many of them are getting the hang of skiing as we near the end of the day.
Thankfully, we reach 3 p.m. and the lesson is over. I can’t wait to get all this gear off. It’s so hot, that one of the kids has left her parka laying on the ground and didn’t even realized she’s forgotten it until 30 minutes later, when she returns with her dad.
I can’t wait to take this helmet off my head, to get out of these ski pants and slip into street clothes that are cooler and roll the windows down in the car to let cool air envelop my body. I buy a liter of water that I quickly consume, but still don’t need to go to the bathroom. This can’t be a good sign. Finally dark comes, and the night air cools things off. Aaahhhh…
All I can say is that I can’t wait until the next snowstorm…