As a child, my local ski hill was Mulligan’s Hollow — a sand dune in Grand Haven, MI and rope tow. We didn’t have a ski race team at my high school and our ski club drove an hour and a half to ski a whopping 350 vertical feet at Bittersweet. It was a big deal to go to Crystal or Boyne — and a really big deal to go out west.
I wish I could attribute my love for skiing to my parents. While I got my stoke for sailing from my father, my dad occupied his wintertime restoring antiques in his workshops. My mother had a pair of old Rossi alpine skis in the shed next to the XC skis, but I never saw her use them. She once had been a state champ tennis player, but I always dubiously raised my eyebrows anytime she would declare that she was once a great alpine skier. Adding to the general lack of interest, skiing took cash that my parents didn’t have. I had part-time jobs in high school and college that paid for lift tickets and gear. Thankfully, ski club was cheap; and I was lucky enough to get out west by tagging along with friends, and in college went as often (and as cheaply) as I could.
When I was young I liked skiing, but I wasn’t fast. I had a lot of friends from the neighboring schools who were on the race team— I admired them for their talents. I just got out to play around and have fun in the snow.
At 35, I am older, still on skis out to have a good time — but now with two kids in tow on the slopes. It might just be my kids that get me to up the ante and get a bit more ballsy and perhaps even — wait for it: faster.
My kids are on their 5th season skiing, they are little groms full of stoke for freshies and first tracks. My daughter is a competitive ski racer in the making and was glued to the screen as she watched Mikaela Shiffrin win slalom at the Olympics even as she was puking her guts out with norovirus in Beaver Creek (blech). Our local hill is Cannonsburg, but we spend most our weekend ski time at Crystal Mountain. The lucky dogs get out west at least twice a year (for winter ski and summer hiking) and already have a deep love for the mountains and mountain life.
Now though, the kids are at an age (and skiing ability) where they heckle me as being both old and slow. They.are.really.harsh.
BUT I don’t ignore their jeers. To admit I am not fast is one thing. But to say I am not competitive is another (did someone say marathon??). As the kids tease, they egg on my competitive streak, taunting me with their challenges. I might not be Wendy Fisher, but I am always up for a good run… To them I say, “Bring it.”
I may be that mom that makes sure the crockpot and sandwiches get packed into the station wagon, but I am not the mom that stays in the lodge ~with~ the crockpot. I get out there and have fun. Whether it’s taking a glades route home (I am really superstitious of woodland sprites, trolls and pixies so it’s uncharacteristic for me to ski trees) or dropping in with the kids for some Nastar racing(they ridicule for my age group racer times), I get the most out of my runs and my kids appreciate my style to just have a good time.
More importantly — they like to be out on the hill with me. We have fun when we ski together, and as a mom that makes me really glad that we can share this common love for the sport. It’s what makes schlepping their gear and having ski boot meltdowns in the slushy parking lot worth it (er, sort of) and I am always looking forward to our next day out on the hill, ready to take on their next challenge.
About the skier: Lisa Rose Starner is an author, herbalist and forager. She is a Mitten gal, born and bred and enjoys all four seasons the Great Lakes has to offer with gusto. Starner loves running and sailing as well as skiing, and is training for her first ultra marathon later this year. Follow her random journeys and musings on Twitter: @LisaRoseStarner.
Written by: Lisa Rose