I had just completed the application for Ski for Light, 2015, to be held in Grandby Colorado.
My finger was resting on the submit button, just lightly, ready to press, but hesitating for one more minute to be absolutely sure. It was going to cost a lot of money. I wasn’t sure my back pain would allow me to ski. What if I would not be able to get up quickly when I fell? What if the altitude would make me sick? What if the airfare would be ridiculously high? What if I didn’t have the energy to ski anymore, since I had not been skiing in 3 years? Then I did it. I hit submit. I was commited.
Last week, as I glided alongside my guide on the perfectly groomed trails of Snow Mountain Ranch, under a brilliant sun in a perfectly blue sky, I was keenly aware that for the first time in years, I could think to myself, “I am happy.” In fact, I kept remarking to my guide, Betty, that I was so happy. It truly was a Rocky Mountain High. One night after dinner, our entertainment was provided by Jim Sailstrum, a well known folk singer in the area, and the song he sang that clutched my heart and brought tears to my eyes was Rocky Mountain High. That’s what Ski for Lightis all about.
My third SFL was in1989 in Bozman, Montana. One of the first time guides, Betty, was assigned to be my guide. We loved skiing together and found that we had a lot in common, and we chattered along gayly as we climbed hills and skied across the meadows. My confidence in Betty’s guiding ability was boosted by knowing that she was a PE teacher of children with disabilities. Over the past 26 years, we’ve kept in touch, seen each other at subsequent SFL weeks, and hiked together at the last several Hen Hikes. When they announced the guide matches at the first meal together last Sunday night, we stood in amazement that here we were, 26 years later, sking together again. Who knew? Who could ever predict that we would still be at it at our age, and loving it? I was so glad I pressed that submit button. Did my back hurt? Yes, but I pushed through the pain. Did I fall? Of course, but I amazed myself by being able to pop right back up. Did I run out of energy? I had enough to ski 50 kilometers in 6 days. Did I dance the night away like I used to? Sadly, I’m afraid those days are over.
I have other stories to tell about this year’s wonderful SFL, but I think you get the idea that I discovered that illusive state, happiness, which is still warming my soul.