Ski Tips and Tumbles in Golden Winter Sunshine

Article excerpt

We took care of Ash and Ingrid's Ski Shop in Sumpter, Colo., for part of that winter, and Ash gave us a good deal on used skis, boots, and poles.

My sister, Cheryl, skied down the hill as I carried my gear out to attempt to ski. She asked, "Do you need a skiing lesson?"

I said, "Yes, I do." On the snow-covered driveway, Cheryl showed me the push, glide, push, glide that gives the skier forward motion. I tried it and found it simple and effective. Each glide forward was not much more effort than taking a step, but it carried me yards rather than feet. I skied to the highway, up the shoulder of the highway, and up the first street. Cheryl called after me, "Don't you think you might need to know something else?" I thought I did, but I became so absorbed in the smooth gliding movement, I thought all else would have to wait a while. Sumpter's steep gravel streets hadn't been plowed. I crossed the slope and skied back down toward the highway on another street. I sped over packed snow in golden winter sunshine. As I picked up speed, I thought had I lingered, Cheryl probably would have taught me how to turn and how to stop. Buildings blocked my view. If I kept rocketing down the hill, I would ski onto the highway, so I dropped onto my back and kicked my skis up to keep them from tangling under me, hard to distinguish from, but more intentional than falling, and I stopped. I skied back and found Cheryl again. We continued my skiing lesson. We lived in Whitney Valley, 13 miles over the mountain from Sumpter, a perfect place for skiing, with the meadow's gentle slopes for easy gliding, with a steep drop from bench ground onto low ground by the river, and with open ridges rising from the meadow for those who would achieve downhill speed. My daughters, Amanda and Juniper, and my wife, Laura, finished home school for the day when I left my skis on the porch and walked inside. I helped fix lunch, and we ate. Amanda said, "I'd like to ski. Can we all go skiing?" "Sure." We walked north of the barn. Juniper and Amanda skied down the gentle hill several times. …

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