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Shredding the Slopes My Winter Skiing in the Idaho Mountains
W hen I was a young kid, my mom’s cousin, Terry, was the coolest person I knew. Skiing was a popular hobby for his family, and Terry inherited and perfected the skill to carve a mountain. I remember watching in awe as he went off ramps and performed expert aerial tricks. I wanted to be just like him. I can’t pinpoint exactly when, but my family also took up skiing together. I remember zooming down Bogus Basin as a little kid, and when I got older, regular trips to the mountain were common for my friends and I. My parents would even drop us off at the base of the mountain, and we’d hitchhike our way up to the resort — though I can’t imagine that’d be a popular mode of transportation today. It became a sport that everyone I knew was fond of. Unfortunately, my participation faltered a bit when I got older and made friends with people who knew nothing about skiing. For example, my wife, who grew up in the Midwest nowhere near the mountains, didn’t know how to ski. As an adult, I’ve been able to jump back on the ski lift and take regular rides down our Idaho mountains. I can’t really explain what I like about it so much or why I picked it up again. I’m not sure if it’s the memories of Terry’s talents or the familiarity of a hobby I enjoy, but it would be hard for me to give it up again — even considering some of the injuries I’ve incurred. About five years ago, I had a pretty serious fall that knocked me flat. I’m sure I had harsher wipeouts as a kid since I was braver, a little less destructible, and naive, but this injury left me with some scars. I tore the cartilage on the front and back of my rib cage, sustained a contusion on my liver where my ski pole wrapped around me, and suffered a
concussion. For some enthusiasts, that may be enough to make them hang up the skis and quit, but shredding a mountain is pretty addictive. Since we grew up in vastly different parts of the country, my wife and I disagreed on the age our kids could start skiing. She thought they were too little in early elementary school, despite my insistence that the sport is common for that age group. I saw little kids on the slopes all the time, but skiing seems very dangerous when you look at it from an outsider’s perspective. Finally, when they were older, I got my kids to the mountain late one February, just to try it. Terry, who still lives in Boise, was even able to help teach my family how to ski. By the following season, they were all in lessons. We spent some time as a family learning and practicing, and my wife even adopted the habit. At the time, our country was going through the Great Recession, and since skiing isn’t the cheapest hobby, I jokingly called this “the Amorebieta stimulus plan.” My eldest daughter and my son both enjoy the hobby, but my youngest daughter is a fanatic. She has a passion for shredding the slopes, and she and my son were on Bogus Basin’s race team. I often wonder if my eldest daughter’s college social life will be like mine was or if she will make friends with people who ski. But I know her sister will choose a college that gives her ample time to ski. It’s pretty cool (pun intended) to see my family become involved in an activity I’ve been doing since I was a kid. Even if it’s not a sport they do forever, I’m just glad they got to learn — and that they witnessed Terry shred it on the slopes.
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