Monday, March 16, 2009
The whoosh of the snow beneath the skis, the sun, the flirtation with disaster, the mastery of control over speed, the scenery, the thrill of racing down the hill....
The fried cheese curds, the hotel pool, the beer and pizza, the laughs, the friends, the puzzle, the cutthroat game of Hearts, the freedom from home routine, the delightful exhaustion....
Spring skiing doesn't get much better than this past weekend when ten families from our neighborhood came together to ski and eat up north. It wasn't much of a hill (1,800 feet-ish) but it's a family resort with the basic amenities of fabulous ski destinations out west. A fast chair lift, a multitude of fried foods in the chalet and a beautiful patio that serves beer and gets sun all afternoon. The ski runs...well....Wisconsin is not known for its altitude.
For many of the kids of this trip, who don't so much as acknowledge the remotest connection to one another when in Madison, they happily come together and play again like little kids in whatever pairings or groupings suit the needs of the moment. A "love the one you're with" scenario if ever there was one. After running the hallways in their bathing suits and causing all manner of havoc together, they return to school on Monday, strangers once more, until next year.
For the adults of this trip, it's a commune weekend of energetic and at the same time, sketchy parenting. It's not a trip that, say, nervous types who keep track of their kids, should attend. "Have you seen Allison?" "When was the last time you saw any of our kids?" "I'm ready for a beer." "He was skiing the trees last time we saw him." "One more run? C'mon....I'm sure the kids are fine." And so it goes. We sort of become teenagers again ourselves. Teenagers with kids....and we know how well that generally goes.
It's the kind of trip I never had when I was a kid. Skiing requires a fair amount of money, which my parents claimed to need for food. My dad was determined to teach us to ski though and so we took day trips to the local mountain and I started my lessons with him. And so full circle, we took him skiing with us this weekend. He did pretty well, only falling a few times and with a good sense of humor and a load of determination to enjoy himself and work his technique. He was a mere babe in the woods on the slopes. The 94 year old guy was out there on Friday.
Thanks, Dad, for the lifelong love of this wonderful sport, fried cheese curds and beer inclusive.