For most of my life I’ve considered snow skiing to be my favorite of all sports. Mostly because it’s the only one I can say I’m any good at and not be stretching the truth in some way. I’m a decent shot, especially from behind the three-point line, but to say I’m better than decent at basketball would be grossly inaccurate. I have every intention of getting better at golf, but I’m not going to bring the sport up in conversation until I can shoot a round in under 100 strokes (which means you won’t be hearing about my golf game any time soon). And I just plain suck at softball.
But skiing’s a different story. Maybe it’s because there isn’t any easy way to measure your skiing proficiency, on an ordinary day on the slopes. Perhaps if there was, I’d find that I’m just average. Or worse. But since the sport is an individual effort, lacking any clear benchmarks (number of falls, perhaps, first one down the mountain?), I can consider myself to be a pretty damned good skier (for a Kansas boy) and not have to worry too much about people trying to correct me.
Anyway, this is basically just a roundabout way of saying how unfortunate it is that a sport I’m so good at and love to participate in, is so hard to come by. In my life, I’ve probably been less than a dozen times, at an average of about 3 days per trip — say 30 days of skiing, total. So whenever I get the opportunity to go, it doesn’t require much thinking or hesitation.
So when my good friend Brett called me up this week and said he had the idea of hitting the slopes this weekend and was I at all interested, hell yes was my reply and now we’re scheduled to leave first thing tomorrow morning. I’ve been skiing with Brett, who’s actually a snowboarder, once before when we went over Spring Break a couple years back. His brother, who went on that trip also, is going with a bunch of his friends during the same timeframe, though separately, and we’re planning on staying with them in a condominium to keep costs down. Brett’s arranging most of the plans, but I think we’ve got lift tickets for Keystone for two days and Breckinridge for the third. If we had our way, it would have been one day at each Keystone, Breckinridge, and Vail, but those passes were a little harder to come by.
The news about this trip, though, is that I’m going to do something different. I’ve promised a dozen times to a handful of people that the next time I go skiing, I’d rent some skiboards/snowblades instead and try them out. It’s a gamble for sure, especially when we plan on renting skis in Denver, so there’d be no easy way to swap them out if I end up disliking them. But I guess I’m not too worried. Skiboards, for those who don’t know, are just very short skis (technically any under 100cm long). Most people swear they’re incredibly easy to learn and if you’ve skied before, will pick it up immediately. You give up a little bit of the speed of the longer skis, but gain a whole lot of mobility, letting you handle moguls, jumps and even snowboard terrain parks, without much of a problem. I’m excited to try them and I hope I come back converted.
Our itinerary is as follows: Drive to Denver tomorrow and stay with Brett’s cousin (after buying me some ski apparel — ski pants & gloves basically — no time to get mine from home first). Saturday morning, rent skis, drive to Keystone and ski all day. Ski Keystone Sunday. Ski Breckinridge or Vail Monday. Drive back on Tuesday. See ya then, wish me luck.