By Jessie G.
I’ve had this debate for years now. But I know I’m right: a ski trip beats any beach vacation. Ski goggles over sunglasses, winter coat over bathing-suit, a hot-chocolate over a piña colada, helmets over a baseball cap, rosy cheeks over a golden tan. Skiing ALWAYS wins.
But, my friends seem to disagree. They argue that on a beach vacation, you get to relax (boring), you get tan (a tan fades), there are amazing views (all beaches look the same and have you seen a snow-capped mountain?), and a ski trip is too cold (I haven’t gotten hypothermia… yet).
I’ve skied since I was 3 and my love for the adventure only increases each time the temperature drops or the trail steepens. A pink and flowery kid jacket graduated to a light blue plain mature bomber. A sticker laden helmet became a solid black one. Black overall snow pants transitioned to chic, plain white. Ever since I hit the slopes as a clueless 3-year-old who couldn’t leave her parents’ side, skiing has been second nature for me: an engraved passion, a boundless adventure.
I admit I am a little envious at times of the beach bums in 90-degree weather who sit amongst the calming ocean waves with a book in hand. Yet, I keep returning to the slopes: where I am grateful to eat a mouthful of snow from face planting, freeze in 10-degree weather, worry about lack of circulation from my cutting tight boots, and savor this time where I feel invincible and unstoppable.
Of course, my love for skiing stems from the adventure and freedom the sport brings. But my love equally comes from the different people I interact with on the lifts and slopes. With the same passion and purpose, people from all over the world come together on the same mountain to enjoy skiing.
Over my 12 years of skiing, I have met all different types of people that have helped my love for the sport grow and grow. Let me introduce you to the world of skiers:
Let’s start with the one who founded it all, “The Christopher Columbus,” the one with the constant desire to hold a map in their hand wherever they go. My mom is a Christopher Columbus. These skiers never allow for any activity that is outside the boundaries of the map. They create a detailed schedule for the day where they map out every single trail. They typically prefer only to ski down blues, even though their ski pals want to test out the scariest and steepest double black diamonds. They must wear prescribed goggles to read every single 7 point font word on the map. Their map is their best friend, one tucked into their left pocket, and 5 hidden in the kids’ jacket pockets. They can be found on any chairlift with glasses on and a map in hand or on any local blue or green trail.
Next, we have the “Loco for hot cocoa.” The one who can’t withstand the weather and claims that they NEED a hot chocolate every hour to make it through the day. They think it is vital to have 5 hot chocolate breaks a day, to “debrief” and “stay warm,” even if there is a clear blue sky, a burning sun, and 30 plus degree weather. They do not accept a hot chocolate without scoops and scoops of marshmallows and a plop of whipped cream. They can be found in any of the many over-priced ski lodges.
Here we have the “The Early Birds,” the family who is first on line when the chairlift opens and use all of their cumulative points earned through the year to get the best deals on lift tickets, plane fares and hotels and love to brag about it. This is my family. Thanks, The Points Mom (aka my mom, an overly obsessive credit card guru).
Conversely, I present to you “The snooze you lose.” They are the ones who need their extra beauty sleep and are out on the mountain at 10. Ugh! Long chairlift lines! They must wait on a 2-hour long chairlift line, just to be put on the singles line, where they are all split up to different chairs. Poor kid, separated from his family and stuck with 3 other snowboard dudes who will never lower the chairlift bar. They do not pre-purchase lift tickets, so they must wait in line every day to buy their tickets. And I’m sorry, but your 16-year-old son can no longer pass for the 12 and under discount. You can find them reluctantly on the singles line of the chairlift or arguing at the ticket booth.
Here is “The Heliski Mom” (like the helicopter mom but at the ski resort), the most annoying ski resort “goer” there is. Catch the mom sitting against the window at a ski lodge, frantically searching for their kids on the slopes. They make their kids wear bright orange and pink jackets so that they can be spotted everywhere. (I feel embarrassed for these kids). They have their laptop in one hand while they browse Amazon Prime. They hold their phone in the other, while they constantly text their kids and husband to see where they are, whether there have been any injuries, and to complain that they haven’t received any photos. I recommend you put your phone on do not disturb if “the heliski mom” is a part of your ski crew. They live vicariously through the photos they receive and post them on Instagram to make themselves seem like “a cool mom” who skis. They will buy the “double black diamond” sticker at the souvenir shop. You can find them in the lodge with three cups of coffee or in a souvenir shop buying out the store for their kids.
Last but not least is the “let’s throw them in ski school” kid, the spitting image of my childhood ski life. They ignore their instructors’ words and zoom down the mountain in french fry position. Pizza position is a sin to them, as they aspire to become “professional olympic skiers.” They bother every snowboarder in the terrain park as they try the 5 feet jumps and celebrate like they just jumped off the Empire State Building. They feast on chicken fingers and mac and cheese in their small “cub” ski groups. They struggle to put the chair lift bar down and are always responsible for the chairlift stoppage. Thanks, guys! You can find them speeding down the mountain even after passing the “slow down” signs or attempting their 100th jump in the terrain park.
The world of skiers has enhanced my love of skiing. The sport has come to be a part of who I am. I will continue to ride the trail and take in the adventure until I am “The Mom,” where I am making certain that my kids love the sport as much I do. Until then, you can find me on the chairlift, with a smile frozen on my face (literally), snowflakes sprinkled in my hair and donning pink skis that my dad always urges me to rent for the season.
So, next time you try to tell me that “a beach trip is better than a ski trip,” reconsider. In fact, I bet that you now urge your parents to sign you up for ski lessons and to head to the mountains next December break. So, welcome, “too old to be on the bunny hill.”
You fit in already!