18,250 divided by 365 is 50, which just so happens to be how old I am today! Happy birthday to me – I’m going skiing to celebrate. ;)
Ed Viesters described 50 as the new 30, but in any case, I’ll take it as it is better than the alternative, which is not turning 50 as far too many of my skiing buddies have done, may the shred in heaven. I’ve always assumed that at some point I might have to stop or curtail my skiing, so I’ve tried to enjoy it as much as I can, as often as I can, while I can. But, I’ve somehow managed to avoid getting sidetracked and one good run has led to another, and then before you know it, it adds up and turns into a lifetime of skiing. On a skiing trip to the Grand Teton, Doug Coombs mentioned that he never told his sponsors how old he was, which I got a laugh out of, as skiing had kept him eternally preserved at 18 and smiling, so it hardly mattered, at least to me.
I started skiing when I was four and some of my earliest memories are of skiing at Alta, although at the time we were living in the East Coast and skiing at Mohawk Mountain. My mom taught skiing for years and was the main skiing instigator of the family. We’d go every weekend, regardless of sheet ice, gushing rain or huge crowds. We later moved to Washington state where I spent many years skiing at Alpental, which I still consider my home mountain. After a series of jobs I ended up moving back to Utah (where I was born) to work for Black Diamond Equipment, which is how I first got into backcountry skiing. Since then, “skiing” for me has changed from racing and riding lifts to almost exclusively backcountry skiing. I never would have predicted this years ago, but that is one of the great things about this sport – it has so many avenues to explore.
If I was to be hurt and not be able to ski, I think the thing I would miss most would be all of the fantastic people and friends I have met along the way. Sure, they would still be there and we’d still be friends, but there is something about sliding over snow-covered mountains with good friends that is far greater than the sum of its already great parts. May it never end and a heartfelt thanks to everyone who has been a part of it.
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