Thoughts from the Eldora parking lot

It’s Sunday morning, and I’m sitting in the car in the Eldora parking lot while Scott skis with the girls. I’m 3.5 weeks out from a torn quad muscle (I don’t know how I did it- probably running. I guess my body just isn’t meant for anything faster than a 12 minute mile. My mom says I should make up a story about what happened, so let’s pretend I tore it running up Bear Peak and setting a PR, and not on the Bobolink Trail doing alternating intervals of attempting 10 minute miles and walking). So, I’m support crew today—helped Scott get the girls dressed, carried some skis to the bottom of the lift, took some videos of them on the magic carpet, and now am sitting in the sunshine with tea and the computer. It could be worse.

I am sad to be missing out on some of the first season when all four of us are skiing. Scott started skiing with Julia when she was 3, and Margaret was a newborn. I’d spend snowy winter mornings at home with Margaret while Scott and Julia established ski rituals and routines that made her look forward to their Eldora mornings all week. Last year, I finally skied a few days with Julia, and this year, we have four season passes—my first season pass since the ’09-’10 season. I’m crossing my fingers that my physical therapy sessions will continue to help my leg heal, and that I’ll be able to squeeze in some spring skiing after all.

As any parent knows, there are many activities that are far more fun in theory than in reality. How many failed hikes have we taken? How often have we sat at a restaurant and thought, it would have been far easier to stay home? I wondered if skiing as a family of four would be like this—would we drive 45 minutes, spend almost as long gearing up, and then find ourselves miserable on the slopes? I’m happy to report, however, that with one exception (Margaret throwing her mittens down in the middle of a run in Steamboat and declaring herself “done with skiing forever”), skiing together has been fabulous. We've loved being outside all together in the sunshine (m&m's on the lift are an added bonus), and it makes me excited for ski seasons to come; I know the day is coming when both girls are better skiers than I am.

One of our first days out this year, Julia and I took the big lift to the top while Scott and Margaret hung out on the bunny slope. As we skied down, I had the sense that I was supposed to be doing something fun—that I should be playing games, or doing something different than what I was doing, which was, well, skiing. When I asked Scott about what he does with her, he rattled off games, activities, jokes. And Scott is the first to say that while it’s fun to be skiing, skiing is really the vehicle for connection and fun together. It has been nice for me to experience a bit of role reversal in terms of which one of us is taking the parenting lead. During the week, it’s all me; Scott is gone for twelve hours per day, so by default, I’m in charge of meals, of activities, of knowing various preferences. But, when we ski, I get to enjoy learning from Scott about what makes it all work. I pour my tea into a travel mug, help get the kids in the car, and I’m along for the ride.