“I think we should go skiing today” Bryon said.
“I don’t know, I’m not feeling that well.”
“It will be good to have some fun like we used to and get away from all the stresses.”
Begrudgingly, I put my ski pants on, grabbed my jacket, skis and boot bag and headed to the car. I knew this would be one of the last days we could just spontaneously decide to go skiing. Winter Park would be requiring reservations for all skiers, including passholders, effective Saturday.
I felt a sense of dejavu. The drive felt so familiar, one I’d done probably hundreds of times since we moved to Nederland. Around a curve on the Peak to Peak, driving through Central City, up and over Berthoud Pass.
Making the turn to Mary Jane, parking in the C Lot. And that’s where “normal” ended.
As I pulled open the door and put on my mask. I eyed others in the parking lot. Not only were they fellow skiers, but they could be fellow covid spreaders.
Clipping on my skis, I remembered my last day skiing the previous spring. I had thought Coronavirus would be a fleeting disease — a few weeks of discomfort. Now it seemed like this was my life and I strained to remember “normal.”
Signs were posted at the lift, before entering the corral. No longer is there a singles line. What a foreign concept – to pair strangers together to fill the chair.
“Masks must be worn before entering lift corral.”
“Maintain six feet of distance between your party and the next.”
“Skiers and snowboarders have the option to ride the lift by themselves.”
Instead of skiing up to join our twosome with another, we hung back. It took longer to get on the lift, because the 6-person lift only took two to three people at a time.
Suddenly, those 2-seater lifts that seem so antiquated and inefficient seemed like a good idea. Riding the Pony Express double chair meant we didn’t have to worry about saying no to someone who wanted to join our chair.
Getting off the chair, meant leaving Covid behind even if just for a minute. The tilting of the edges of the skis, the burn of the thighs, the sting of cold air on my cheeks. This was familiar. This was what I fell in love with as a teenager — that feeling of freedom.
The first ski day of the season is always about finding a rhythm. How to find the right pressure of the ski, so the turns feel effortless, balanced. Seeing that perfect line through the moguls and navigating the bumps with ease.
While it required more effort to follow Covid protocols, it felt good and relieved my anxieties over the world we live in, even if just for a few hours.
And we could all use a little more fun and freedom in our lives these days.