I don’t like snow. I don’t like it in town. I don’t like it in my yard or on the street. If I had my way, there wouldn’t even be snow in the PARKING LOT at the mountain. I don’t think it’s romantic or cozy; I think it’s wet and messy and unpleasant in every way except one. I only like snow under my skis.

But oh god, do I like it then.

I’ve only been skiing for about 12 years. I had always wanted to try it when I was younger, but my mother was fundamentally opposed to me doing anything “yuppies” would do (point of fact, my three favorite sports are now skiing, golf, and tennis. ha) When I became an adult and could choose for myself, I made it my new favorite thing to do. I was unemployed one glorious winter, but still drawing a weekly check. I’d often ski 3-4 times a week. God, those were the days. I spent most of my time at Skibowl, but did a fair amount of time at Timberline as well. I was pretty much terrible, but I loved it.

Motherhood put the brakes on my skiing career for a while. One ought not ski while preggers, and convincing anyone to stay with a shrieking infant for the better part of a day so I could go hit the slopes was not as easy as it might sound. Once Hodie was older and spent time apart from me, it was back up the hill for me. Even better, when I started taking college classes it turned out YOU COULD GET CREDITS FOR TAKING A SKIING CLASS!!! This was, and I try not to exaggerate, one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

I showed up for class all excited and ready to tear down the mountain. The instructor had other ideas. He asked me how fond I was of my skis. I was fond of them in the sense that they were mine and they allowed me to go more often than if I had to rent everytime. He asked if I was aware I was wearing skis that were both a) about 4 sizes too big and b) 10 years out of date. I was not, in fact aware of this. He told me it was impressive I had even managed to stay UPRIGHT on these relics, let alone get down the hill at all. I scampered right out and got myself some new skis that fit. Holy Mother Of God, what a difference. I had always LIKED skiing, but this was a whole new ballgame.

I could carve, I could hit turns super hard, I could manage any run at Timberline pretty much at full speed. It was a revelation. Music blasting in my ears, knees bent, body leaning into my skis as hard as I could manage. This was joy. Pure and cold and unadulterated. Joy.

And I rarely feel that. An all-consuming pleasure that brooks no competition. Something so absorbing that I cannot hear me chasing myself around in my head. Something that causes every part of me to be entirely engaged in enjoying the moment.