When we moved to Colorado nine years ago, we had plenty of sound reasons for uprooting our children and saying goodbye to my east coast hometown. Fresh air, quality of life, leaving behind immediate reminders of 9/11 and the realization that life is fleeting.
The Eastern Shore of Maryland has many wonderful attributes, but big mountain skiing is not on the list, or even in the state. And we wanted to ski. As an end cap to a dream that began ten years prior, we once again found ourselves driving cross country to Colorado, but this time with two kids and two dogs in tow.
We arrived in town after the slopes had closed for the day, so it took a whole 12 hours before we were able to get our then three-year old on skis. Adair was non-plussed. But we knew our children would soon love skiing as much as we did.
Adair began lessons when she was four. To our dismay, they were nothing more than a duty she tearfully endured. Around the age of eight, she actually started to enjoy skiing, by ten she switched to telemark and now we have to hustle to keep up with her.
Taylor showed great promise - at first. As a saintly instructor pried Adair from my leg, Taylor would walk into class, deposit her gear in a cubby and help herself to the assortment of morning snacks. The payoff came during the glorious year when they both loved skiing. And then, just as Adair was gaining confidence on the slopes, Taylor decided she hated skiing, snowboarders, hot chocolate and everything associated with the sport.
Our rationalization to her protestations was that, when you live in the Rocky Mountains, skiing is a fact of life. Plus we would be remiss in our parenting if she didn't learn the basics. We agreed she could stop upon passing level 7. More years of tearful drop-offs ensued, and many a day ended with one of us carrying Taylor down a slope, to the base.
She progressed to a level six by the end of last year, yet regressed to a level four this season. We were on the brink of waving a white flag, when Taylor said she wanted to learn to snowboard. Sliding on snow and being happy is our goal. But John, Adair and I telemark--all of us. Of course she wants to snowboard.
Lessons begin tomorrow. While Taylor snowboards, the rest of us will skin up Buttermilk--Adair's first time. If snowboarding truly makes Taylor happy, then it's a beautiful thing. John even volunteered to take up snowboarding to keep her company. I didn't. Maybe freeing the heel doesn't always free the mind. But as long as I see a post-lesson smile, we can be a family divided.
Didrik Hermansen Pre-2016 UTMB Interview
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