I remember the first time I saw snow.
I was five years old and my family was moving from Southern California to New Mexico.
Along the route, my father stopped the car and headed down an embankment as the rest of us waited at the car. He came back with a large handful of snow. It was my introduction to a marvel of nature that would play an important role in my formative years.
My father was a biochemist working for the Atomic Energy Commission in Los Alamos.
At least during the week.
On weekends, he was a ski instructor at Pajarito Mountain.
He began teaching me to ski when I was five, but it took a couple of years before either of us was comfortable with the process.
I skied that mountain from the time it opened until closing every weekend all winter long for years.
I remember lacing my leather boots (inside and outside laces), whacking the snow from the bottom of my boots with my poles, snapping my feet into Cubco bindings, and using the rope tow gripper to get myself up the mountain (imagine a nut cracker that would attach to the moving rope).
Once I graduated to the bigger hills, I’d ride the T-bar and ski the longer slopes of Pajarito.
I skied in Lange boots that I’d inherited from my mom, and I thought that Jet Stix were going to help me ride the moguls like a pro.
I joined the ski team and started racing on the weekends when I was 12, with varied results. There used to be a few trophies around here from those years.
For many of my adult years, I spent six weeks each winter skiing in British Columbia at Whistler/Blackcomb. The Olympics are going to be held there this year.
I’ll be watching.
*photos from our most recent snow storm (16 inches)