Ski Dreams

Vail After One of Our Big Spring Snowstorms

Vail After One of Our Big Spring Snowstorms

I dreamed of skiing last night. I felt the joy of doing sweet turns on soft, slushy snow on a bright and sunny spring day. The sky appeared bluer than blue, even bluer than a Colorado sky, making the scene feel surreal. It was, of course, just a dream. But still, when I woke up, I felt the sense of freedom and exhilaration one feels after doing some great turns on the slopes. Those feelings are fleeting now but it was swell while it lasted.

I chatted on the phone with my boyfriend yesterday and he told me the skiing is fabulous in Keystone. “Nice corn snow, Hun. Really great spring skiing,” he emphasized.

I guess those words have stuck with me, particularly since I remember with great fondness a week of skiing we shared at Keystone and Breck, A-Basin and Vail this time of year a couple of years ago.

Actually I’ve been following the Colorado ski season ever since it suddenly ended for me on March 22, the day my father passed away.

Some might think that winter is over and so is the skiing. But those in the know, know that some of the best days may be relished throughout the end of March and all the way into the better part of April in the West. Those can be big snow weeks and with the base that most Colorado ski resorts have benefited from this season, even without fresh pow, the good skiing can go on and on and on.

Pond Skimming on Closing Day in Telluride

Pond Skimming on Closing Day in Telluride

Woo-hoo!

Woo-hoo!

Closing Day Party in Telluride: One of Many Fun Times at Rocky Mountain Resorts

Closing Day Party in Telluride: One of Many Fun Times at Rocky Mountain Resorts

In my mind, I followed my fellow ski and snowboard instructors from Telluride finish out their last weeks of spring break busy-ness, I delighted in seeing the fun-filled images from closing day, I cheered the victory of The Ghostriders, Telluride’s synchronized ski team, in the championships in Aspen, I marveled at my ski mountain hitting the record-breaking number of 500,000 visitors for the year–truly I’ve been with my ski family in spirit every step of the way.

Aspen

Aspen

This is the first time in twelve years I’ve missed all the end-of-the-season hoopla and the extended season that I so love at other Colorado ski resorts once T-ride closes early April. For years, I would go to Aspen for much of April and May, spend time with Dad, where he had a condo, and enjoy some of the best skiing and fun of the year at Ajax and The Highlands. I’m thinking about the Aspen scene now as I recall times shared there with my father: Tomorrow marks the close out of a week of activities presented in conjunction with the Skiing Hall of Fame, as well as the legendary end-of-the-season parties at Snowmass and The Highlands. Aspen Mountain rocks on through April 17. And best of all, as in many years past, The Aspen Highlands will be reopening for two bonus weekends April 23-24 and April 30-May 1.

I love this time of year in Colorado! After a season packed with teaching, training and taking care of others, this is when I’m able to cut loose and just ski for me. Normally I ski about ninety days a season. This year I skied only sixty-one. But what a year it was. I trained over a hundred hours toward my PSIA Level 2 certification and then took two parts of the exam, which I passed. (The third part I had decided to save for next year.) Professional Ski Instructors of America run a tight ship, so receiving any kind of an uptick from them marks a huge accomplishment.

Doing MA

Doing MA

Whooping It Up at Nastar After Making My Run a Silver

Whooping It Up at Nastar After Making My Run a Silver

During the training for my Level 2, I had at least a half a dozen ski dreams that were more like nightmares. Throughout those restless hours of sleep, my brain was processing all the technical information–mostly MA, or movement analysis–it was trying to absorb throughout the day’s training. I’d wake up exhausted but still, I guess it was all sinking in.

I had put so much effort into the preparation for the exams that I couldn’t help thinking Please don’t let anything happen to Dad–just let me get through this. I couldn’t handle any distractions. Dad remained supportive and cheery throughout it all and as usual, was with me every step of the way.

“I got a silver in Nastar, Dad,” I told him one day. “It was one of the requirements for my exams.”

“Oh, that’s great, Hun,” he replied. “That’s wonderful. I loved doing Nastar. It was always so much fun to get out on the race course.”

I took solace in knowing that I had conjured up some fond memories for him. Then when I passed my sections, I felt an avalanche of pride from him. I could see his beaming face on the other side of the phone. And no, we weren’t face timing.

Vail Village

Vail Village

I will hold that emotional imprint in my mind as long as possible as well as all the memories of times shared in Aspen in April. I’ll think about my boyfriend back home working in as many last turns as possible on the front range, in Vail and perhaps even in the backcountry of Telluride.

I am indeed in two places at once these days. I’ve remained in upstate New York for a while with Mom and I will stay as long as it takes. (I’m grateful for the ability to work remotely now that I’ve shifted into travel writer mode.) She was married to my father for almost sixty-two years after a year of courtship: She had been with him since she was nineteen.

We are spending lots of time processing his passing. We’ve been chatting and reminiscing day and night.

Finding Dad on My Daily Walk in Troy, NY

Finding Dad on My Daily Walk in Troy, NY

Dad is with us in spirit. I have felt him all around me. And when I haven’t, I’ve chosen to see him in the cold and snow we’ve experienced this week, in the bright bluebird sun that shines today and yes, most definitely in my ski dreams of April.

Skiing in Aspen

Skiing in Aspen

2 May 2016, 3:39pm
by John Harrington


Maribeth,
I could not find your personal email address. Hence, my message here on your webpage. I just wanted to express my sympathy regarding your loss of your father. The loss of a parent is huge – particularly when it is unexpected, as I understood that yours was. I hope you are over the initial shock and are beginning to heal emotionally.
Looking forward to being with you again next season in ski school.
Kindest regards,
John

 

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