Outdoors

Santa and His Reindeer

Just being fortunate enough to be at a ski resort during the Christmas holidays is really hard to describe

It is the time of the year when children all over the world are eagerly listening for Santa Claus and the clatter of his reindeer hoofs on their roof.

This Christmas was the 90th time I have heard those reindeer hoofs on my roof. It did not matter where I was living at the time Santa Claus always visited me when I was sound asleep.

There must be something hypnotic about the clatter of those reindeer hoofs because each time Santa visited me, he left very memorable presents.

Probably the most life-changing Christmas for me was in 1945 when the war was over and I was able to get five days leave and spend it skiing at Badger Pass in Yosemite National Park.

I think those five days were given to me by Santa Claus that year and that set the path that I would follow for the rest of my life.

This was my 69th Christmas at a ski resort and my 15th Christmas in Montana, which just happens to be the fourth-largest state in America with barely 1 million people living here.

Just being fortunate enough to be at a ski resort during the Christmas holidays is really hard to describe. From 1945 until three years ago I skied every Christmas Day until I fell and had the freedom of skiing taken away from me. I fell right out in front of our house at three miles an hour and landed on a ski on its edge and somehow managed to break my back.

Quite often people write about skiing and they often include this three-word sentence and I quote, “It is indescribable.” And skiing truly is. When you get to ski on Christmas Day it is indescribable.

Maybe Santa Claus lives on Mars or Jupiter or the other side of the moon? The greatest Christmas present of all unfortunately lies in the hands of the federal government.

There are enough long lift lines in Colorado to immediately support several new major resorts so that when you take your vacation, every day will become a Christmas Day from when the lift starts in the morning until it closes in the afternoon. Why not?

Anyone who reads this and says he or she is not a different person at the end of a good ski day is in complete denial. Unfortunately, a complete ski resort cannot fit in Santa Claus’ bag to be hauled all over the states of Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and California. Not to mention Washington, and Oregon. Untold billions of dollars change hands every year in the ski business. More resorts would only help local economies.

As you read this, those reindeer are working out at the local gymnasium adjacent to Santa Claus’ toy factory. If you write Santa Claus today asking for a new ski resort, he can still draw up plans for that resort and it won’t be too heavy a load for those reindeer to haul and drop off where appropriate.

Come on, what have you got to lose? Remember when you used to write a letter to Santa Claus and quite often what you asked for in your letter appeared under your tree Christmas Day.

Don’t be a pessimist. Santa’s letter worked for you then, it can work for you now!

Santa has blessed Montana as it has 16 ski resorts, 10 of which are only open on Thursdays through Sundays. Some offer several thousand vertical feet and only one chairlift and no accommodations. This is not skiing how it used to be but rather skiing the way it should be, and that’s according to Santa Claus.