I don’t know why I should be surprised that my son, at the age of 3, is already obsessed with skiing. We are a skiing family – one that spans a few generations of moms and dads and grandparents who greeted winter with waxed skis and a pair of goggles that hopefully weren’t too scratched. My son’s been waiting all year for the snow to fly, and in the months between he still wears his ski helmet around the house, or on the playground, or to school. Some days it’s not for skiing but an astronaut helmet or part of his firefighting gear. Some days it’s simply comfortable to don it on his head. And there are many times when he smashes into the wall after jumping off the back of the couch. I’m thankful that his daredevil spirit is at least tempered by his love of goggles and helmets.
Now that we have some snow on the ground, he’s not only wearing his helmet around the house but his ski boots too. When the first snow melted, he sobbed. It’s hard to explain the fickle nature of snow during the early onset of winter to a 3-year-old. But while I didn’t outwardly throw a temper tantrum when the snow disappeared, I could totally relate to his angst. When you’re a skier, you want it to be winter and not suffer through the teasing of early season snowfall. It’s a torturous time of year, I told him. But the snow will come. It just takes time. Then he wants to know when there will be enough snow to ski. I can’t help but smile.
I know that I’m beyond lucky to have grown up as a skier as it’s a sport that doesn’t come cheaply. My dad worked at the ski hill during the winters after being laid off from his job in road construction so that we could get free ski passes. Our gear was used, and we brown-bagged our lunch. Yet those days skiing with my family are the happiest memories of my life and ones that shaped me into the person I am today. Last winter when my son took his first “ski run” I wept for joy. I now know why my parents did whatever they could to keep my brother and I on the slopes: skiing is magical fun and an experience you want to impart on your loved ones. The grandparents on both sides of my family were more than overjoyed to receive the photos of my son’s first day on skis. He’s proudly the next generation of our combined family of skiers.
Hopefully it won’t be too much longer for the snow to pile in our yard and for my son to get more than a few snowflakes on his helmet.
Maggie Doherty is the owner of Kalispell Brewing Company on Main Street.