In between the not-normal life of the pandemic and having a second baby, my first born — still a preschooler — has somehow gone from sometimes skiing is fun, only when hot chocolate is involved, to skiing is life and I only ski black diamonds. Oh, and mom, when can I ski double black diamonds like Picture Chutes?
I think I’ve hit the golden ticket with skiing with Charlie. And yes, he’s notched a few black diamonds this season, but I’m not so certain we can safely tackle double blacks this winter. I’m not quite certain where this major leap of confidence and skill occurred, especially after a year where family life was difficult with a new baby and all that Charlie had really known and loved — going to school, seeing friends, traveling to Michigan in the summer — came to an abrupt halt. This year the one spot of normalcy is taking to the slopes. So perhaps it does make sense that when the world feels upside down, skiing goes from more than “sometimes fun” to, holy cow, this is the best sport imaginable and I don’t even care if hot chocolate is involved because snow is fun, and the feeling of flying down a mountain is the best.
Kudos to Whitefish Mountain Resort for adopting COVID-19 safe practices, including their strict enforcement of wearing masks, so that we can have a ski season. I’ve thanked the lift attendants countless times for their diligence on skiers and riders wearing masks and wearing them correctly. You know what? Everyone around us in line complies or is quick to do so without protest. We all want to have fun, to feel that magical release of when our skis meet snow. In a year that’s been marked by deep division and grave loss, skiing gives us that sense of freedom and fun. I know my Charlie feels it, as do I.
Charlie’s bravado can be a bit much — he’s the first to tell you that he’s the best skier on the mountain. But I can tell you that the most fun I’ve had in recent months is when I’m on the slope, chasing after him and his friends as they zoom over jumps or race through the trees. Their laughter buoys my spirits, and I marvel at how quickly these littles have quickly taken to the sport.
Picture Chutes or any double black diamond isn’t likely to be conquered this season. I remind Charlie that he’s got other winters ahead of him, but then I get that classic kid groan, as in: come on, Mom, why not? Truth be told, I guess it’s me that’s not quite ready.
Kids, they just ski so fast.
Maggie Doherty is the owner of Kalispell Brewing Company on Main Street.
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