Courage at Twilight: Skiing

Utah boasts the “greatest snow on earth.” I hear people avow it.  They come from all over the country and the world to ski Utah’s slopes, some moving here.  My first ski adventure was in New Jersey, in 60-degree weather, in freezing rain, and I fell when my skis slid into a mud patch oozing up through the slush.  An inauspicious beginning, as they.  I never skied again, sticking instead to the plastic sled at the neighborhood park.  But several of my children have taught themselves to ski and snowboard, and they love the slopes.  Dad told me he tried skiing once, in the early 1950s, with a group of friends.  One friend lent him a pair of jumping skis—very long, very wide, and grooved on the bottom—made for skiing straight down and off the ramp.  Beginning his descent, he found he could not turn, of course.  As he quickly picked up speed, he knew the only safe course was to not crash.  A voice belched from the loudspeakers mounted on poles along the slope.  “Skier, you need to slow down.”  Dad heard the instruction, but did not know how to comply.  Moving really fast now, the voice became urgent: “Slow down!  Slow down!  Slow down!”  Dad would have liked nothing more than to obey the order, but was powerless against the jumping skis and gravity and ice.  Finally, the voice frantically appealed to everyone else at the Solitude resort.  “Watch out for that skier!  Get out of his way!  Let him through!  MOVE!!”  The skiers standing in line for the ski lift looked up and separated as Dad sped through.  The throngs trudging from the parking lot to the lodge looked up and scrambled as Dad zoomed through, past the lodge, and across the sparsely occupied parking lot, where a short rise on the far side finally slowed him enough for him to topple safely sideways and end the harrowing run.  He felt so relieved and grateful he had not hurt anyone and had not died crashing into a building or a car.  Dad never skied again.  He, too, became an enthusiast of the plastic sled.


(Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay.)

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