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Letter From the Editor — Resort Guide 2019

Letter From the Editor — Resort Guide 2019

My mom was never the biggest skier in our family.

Don’t get me wrong, when I was growing up in northwest Connecticut she would always pilot the van up to Killington on the weekends and would join my dad, brother and I on ski trips out west to Winter Park, Aspen or Vail. But, she was never one to jump at the opportunity to wake up early and head out into the cold, preferring the familial aspects of those outings rather than the sport itself. Generally, it was my dad, brother and myself who were spearheading trips to the mountains.

In 2014, a few years after I moved to Colorado, my parents bought a condo in Winter Park. My dad spent each of the next three winters there, skiing almost every day. My mom stayed in Connecticut, as my brother was finishing high school. He graduated in 2017 and enrolled as a freshman at the University of Denver. When the snow began to fly and it was time for my dad to make his now annual journey west for ski season, my mom joined him on the cross-country drive for the first time.

Based on her past interest in skiing, I expected her to head to the hill occasionally last winter. Boy, was I wrong. Armed with new, perfectly fitting boots and planks that have made skiing easier for her, she was at the Mary Jane parking lot at 8 a.m. most days of the week. She and my dad would ski until their legs couldn’t bear to make another turn. It became their daily routine. My wife and I spent most weekends at the condo when we weren’t traveling and didn’t have other commitments. As winter progressed, we noticed a visible change in my mom each time we’d visit. Her skiing had improved dramatically, she had a near-constant smile on her face and was, simply, exuberant.

I remember one moment distinctly. We had just arrived at the condo one Friday night and were sharing a beer in the kitchen. My mom, bubbly as ever, busted out of her bedroom, into the kitchen and exclaimed, “Donny! I skied Bradley’s Bash from top to bottom today!” She was referencing a classic blue-black mogul run on Winter Park’s front side. She followed her exclamation by doing a silly dance for us, hopping to and fro while pumping her arms, saying, “I did it, I did it,” in a musical rhythm.

The next day we all skied Bradley’s Bash together, and when we reached the bottom, I could tell how much it meant to her to share her newfound success and passion for skiing with us. It was one of the worst winters in recent memory for Colorado, but that didn’t matter to her, she was just happy to be progressing and discovering a newfound love for the sport.

PHOTO: Andrew Strain | | LOCATION: Niseko Moiwa, Japan

It’s an attitude I believe more of us need to embrace. There will be good winters and bad ones. There will be powder days and ones when the slopes are bulletproof. There will be days in-between. Regardless of snow quality, nothing should deter us from rising early and heading to the mountain with smiles on our faces. Hell, head out late if you have to. We should be skiing every day we’re able, and reminding ourselves of the reasons we fell in love with the sport in the first place.

I encourage you to do that this winter: to ski no matter the conditions and to step outside your comfort zone. Even if you’re “the best skier on the mountain,” focus on improving something every day—consider it your practice. Take time to enjoy the little moments that make life in the mountains special. Travel to a new resort or head to one of America’s countless small, mom-and-pop ski hills—you may even get to ski with a legend like Glen Plake. Snag tickets to a concert and revel in the unique experience of listening to live music in the mountains. However you choose to maximize your winter, remember that when it comes down to it, skiing is supposed to be fun. And no matter your age, you can push yourself, improve and stoke the fire in your heart for skiing. I’m thankful my mom reminded me of that.

— Donny O’Neill, Editor-In-Chief

 

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