Ski Diaries Part Two

I’m here with my family at Mammoth Lakes, a ski resort in California, but I no longer ski. Mike still skis, but has added more than goggles as part of his headgear, he now wears a helmet. I don’t ski for three reasons: 1. Fear of falling, and getting injured; 2. All the heavy gear; 3. I never liked it in the first place. I sit in the lodge and meditate on all the fond memories we have as a skiing family.

To many, skiing is a fun sport, but for me it was a laborious task. We always did winter skiing, and we had to protect ourselves from the elements that Mother Nature threw our way. The turtlenecks, the sweaters, the jackets, the hats, the gloves, the pants – and this is all before stepping outside. Next came the ski boots, and skis, adding more weight. So by the time I hit the slopes I was already exhausted. Even in a blizzard, I was sweating by the time I got on the first chairlift.

The chairlift is a moving object that you have to mount with strangers. There is no room for error. I suffer from dyslexia, and I could never figure out what hand to hold my poles, or which way to turn. It was a small miracle each time I got on safely.

Dismounting the chairlift was no different. I’d just look for a soft landing. One thing I did master as a beginner/intermediate skier was how to get up after a fall, I was proficient at recovering from a fall

When Sonja was 5 years old, I accidentally knocked her off the chairlift. You can imagine the shock seeing her little face through the opening slates of the chair as I was going up. This is when I discovered that I could only be responsible for myself, and I had to forget that I had small children while loading and unloading the beastly bench on cables.

Deer Valley became our favorite ski resort in Utah. When Mikos, Sonja and Carter, Mikos’s best friend, were still in their teens, we invited our best friends, Larry and Helen, to join us to ring in the New Year. Larry and Helen were not skiers but agreed to meet us in Salt Lake City. On the morning of their scheduled arrival, I asked Mike if we were going to pick them up at the airport. Mike waved one of his ski gloves in a downward motion saying, “Forget them, we’re going skiing!” There were no cell phones available, so I could not forewarn them.

So many things went wrong after that, and I was the subject of all the punishment. I took a really bad fall on the first run. My right calf was injured to the point of tears. I immediately skied back to the lodge and waited for the rest of the family. I could barely walk, let alone ski, but Mike would not hear of it. I had cried wolf one time too many, so he made me go back out.

I was being extra careful not to re-injure my right leg, so when I fell again, I placed all the force on my left side. With the weight of my body facing forward, I heard a loud crack as I fell. Thank God it was my boot that cracked in half and not my leg, but now both of my legs were injured.
God always sends special agents to help, and I know this is the only reason I got down in one piece. My pain was so intense when I removed my skis, I became delusional, and had no idea where I parked them.

“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, And rescues them.” Psalms 34:7

Once again no one believed me, but this time I had tangible proof. I showed them the cracked boot and convinced everyone, with the exception of my son Mikos.

When it came time to leave, Mike asked Mikos to carry my skis. One problem: I had no idea where they were. Mikos was 18 years old and had the patience of a hungry newborn. Mikos did not appreciate the hide-and-seek game either, so he and Carter finally found the skies.

I wondered if all this happened because we left our friends hanging at the airport. Larry and Helen traveled with Selena and Jason, their teenagers, and Richard, Helen’s nephew, along with Bea, a good friend of Selena’s. They waited for us at curb side, but we were too busy creating our drama on the slopes. Larry told Helen that maybe we’re going to pick them up at baggage claim; they finally gave up and rented a vehicle.

One of the highlights of the trip was eating at “La Caille,” a French Château. This restaurant is situated at the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains, and long meandering cobblestone road leads you to the door of the one of the most beautiful eateries in the US. We wanted to share this experience with our friends. We were a party of eleven, driving two SUV, the teens in one and the adults in the other.

After dinner I struggled getting into the vehicle; with both legs injured, I could not get in without causing a small scene. Larry got impatient and helped me into the vehicle with a shove. I let out a loud scream, that was followed by unsympathetic laughter.

That night one leg hurt more than the other, so I could not remove my cute leather boots. Mike was fast asleep and had grown tired of my moaning, so I called Sonja to help me. Mike ended up driving us to the ER. This would not be my last visit to the ER while skiing.

The injury separated my calf muscle, leaving a permanent reminder. It appears as if I’ve developed a muscle from working out, but it’s not. And this, my friends, is just one of the many reasons why I no longer ski.

We had a wonderful trip with Mikos , Jenny, Maddie, and Will. To see them interact as a family made my heart glad. Mikos and Jenny’s lives are so busy that I cherish these special bonding times spent together. I always worry about our grandchildren occupying too much time on electronic devices, but this time a 2,000 piece puzzle kept us all busy.

“And now these three things remain; faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

Larry has a much more interesting version of this story, and always reminds us how we abandoned them at the airport of a strange city. Happy to share that we are still best friends.

May the Good Lord Bless Your New Year!

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