Ski Report

Amazing! We survived the slopes of Utah without breaking any bones or losing any children. Permanently, that is.

I think that everyone had fun, though it’s hard to gauge impressions from the 3 dependents on this adventure. One can’t say anything, one can’t remember anything, and the other answers “yea” to most questions (as in: Cayden, did you like skiing? “Yea!” Did you wash your hands? “Yea!” Do you want to eat poop for dinner? “Yea!”)

So who really knows. But Mom, Martin and I had a good time. Ski conditions were primo, Alta has tons of slopes, it wasn’t too crowded. Or frigid. Or icy. The hotel was pleasant in a homey sort of way. Good food. Kids traveled well. They stow nicely under the seat in front of you or in the overhead compartment.

Highlights from the trip: skiing back-country slopes against craggy rock faces; racing each other down the mt; watching gray, snow-packed clouds roll in; feasting on big breakfasts; and witnessing Martin’s instant transformation from beginner to savvy skier.

Actually that last one isn’t a highlight. It’s downright irksome. And it violates the natural law of skiing. Normal people perch nervously at the top of a slushy run the length of a suburban driveway, then inch their way down in snow-plow fashion. That’s just what they do. A college room mate (and most excellent skier) called these people “Spores”*. (see below).

That should have been Martin, with his next-to-nothing experience, back in 8th grade, at a rinky-dink ski resort in western Md.

But we plunked him on equipment at the top of the mt, and swoosh, off he went. Skis hugging one another together, cutting evenly through the snow. By day two, he was tackling black diamond slopes. So irritating!

Behold, the evidence. “hmm, don’t see what’s so hard about this skiing thing…

I will say this, however: skiing in powder stumped him. Once in powder, that natural style was replaced with that herky-jerky, what-are-these-waxed-sticks-doing-on-my-feet movement. He wiped out in yard sale** fashion.

Martin also suffered from acrophobia on the lifts. He was okay the first few days, but two incidents fostered his fear. One, when he told me he was getting spooked dangling in a chair up in the air, I felt this sudden urge to push him off to see what would happen.

And I told him that. Frequently.

Secondly, in one of his many dementia flare-ups, Dad failed to get himself on the chair lift. As it rolled along, he flailed around before falling off…

…taking Martin with him.

They only fell about 8 feet and the operator stopped the lift, dug them out of the snow and got them back on. But still, it freaked Martin out. (Dad promptly forgot.)

My father was a wild card the whole trip. Mom must have said “Peter, come on” or “no Peter, this way!” about 80 times a day. He skied just fine, but stalled out when the time came to get on a lift. Sometimes he forgot to get off as well. He lost a ski here and there, and did his gosh-darn best to lose himself on the mountain, despite being guided and monitored by a leader/follower combo.

Then he’d yell at us when we tried to give him directions…which made me want to lose him a few times.

We wrapped up each day on a lighter note: springing the kids from daycare and shuttling them back to our hotel. Transport options consisted of a local bus or ski tow-ropes. Too impatient to wait for a bus, we skied along the tow lines and piled the kids on this boogie board-type thing. It took a few runs to work out the kinks — we lost them a couple of times when the tow line got taut (like “crack the whip,” for any who remember that game). They tumbled off the board like trash from a truck, rolling over and over until they finally stopped, clumped together on the snow. But they figured it out.

Bottom line, I’d go back to Alta. But I’d take the advice offered by two veterans of the hotel: pack a hip flask. That place is a police state in the booze department!

*”Spore” is an acronym for “stupid people on rental equipment.” Admittedly, I’m probably Spore-like on occasion.

**”yard sale,” to fall down leaving a trail of gear behind you.