Downhill Skiing: Time’s Up!

This year I decided would be my year to either become a better skier or let it go. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the sport for many years (as I’ve written here: , and here:

and with creaky bones and achy muscles have felt I’m aging out. Yet plenty of older people ski forever; we’ve met people who enjoy it well into their 80s.

My husband loves the sport and our daughter has joined us in recent years. So when we booked our ski trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, I arranged for three half -day lessons. I asked for an instructor experienced with older people, and someone good at instilling confidence to mitigate my fear.

To clarify: fear of heights, fear of snowboarders and fast skiers plowing into me, fear of falling and subsequent injury.

And I’m less enamored of crowds, long lift lines, and getting on and off lifts in general. Add wearing cement block type boots that cut into my shins, goggles that have to be worn over my glasses, and feeling cold, and I’m hardly a downhill cheerleader.

Robin, my instructor was very good. She demonstrated what I was doing wrong—lots of bad habits to break, and had me practice repeatedly new techniques. I weighed the pluses and minuses in my mind, and asked myself, what do I love about skiing? I came up with one answer: being outside. With that, and my knees talking to me a little each night, I made my decision.

Goodbye downhill. What does this mean for the annual ski vacation? Will I continue to go or not? Does stopping skiing test a 37-year-old marriage? I tend to think not. We have plenty of other common interests—like cycling—and other things to do on vacation. My husband can go without me once a year.

I’ve been cross -country skiing for years and rented a pair, planning to hit the trails that are part of the Grand Teton National Park. Cross country is everything downhill isn’t: no crowds, no lines, no noise. Just nature, fresh air, and great exercise.

I drove into the charming town of Jackson Hole and found my happy places: a bookstore, a yoga studio, and a yarn store. A young woman working at the yarn store shared that she’d recently stopped downhill skiing and now only does cross-country. She and her husband moved to Jackson because they worked for the National Park Service. While she no longer does, her husband is currently furloughed due to the government shut down.

As for skiing? Our grandchildren are ready and want us to take them. We’re waiting for snow in the Northeast US. Alas, climate change has kept temperatures mild with unrelenting rain. I’ll happily help them put on boots, make sandwiches and hot chocolate. Who knows, maybe I’ll even do a run or two on the bunny slope with them.

An article in the local paper here cited how people are breaking all the rules enforced by the park service in the parks. Piles of trash, overflowing outhouses, and illegal parking are threatening the local ecosystem and wildlife.

Here’s hoping the new Congress will don its skis and tackle the hardest, most challenging slopes: restoring government and addressing climate change among them.






This entry was posted in aging, environment, exercise, Family, Grandchildren, Nature, travel, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Downhill Skiing: Time’s Up!

  1. I never knew you were so ambivalent about it. Good to take care of yourself!

    Jacob Winkler, LCSW, CGP


    This e-mail is meant only for the use of the intended recipient. It may contain confidential information which is legally privileged or otherwise protected by law and must not be disclosed to others without consent. If you received this e-mail in error or from someone who was not authorized to send it to you, you are strictly prohibited from reviewing, using, disseminating, distributing, copying, or retaining this e-mail or any part of it. Please notify the sender immediately of the error by return e-mail and delete this message from your system. Thank you.

    Due to the electronic nature of e-mail, there is a risk that the information contained in this message has been modified. The sender cannot accept responsibility or liability as to the completeness or accuracy of the information.


  2. Great solution, Lisa!


  3. NPF says:

    Love your words that took us to your
    thoughtful decision about life-on and off skis!


  4. Letty Sue Albert says:

    For all the reasons you so perfectly detailed, I too decided against downhill skiing some years ago. But still love going on winter holidays and walking in the snow…when one is fortunate to find it with climate change!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the cold– wearing sweaters and scarves– and walking in the snow too. Climate change– no snow or even cold weather in NJ this year.


  6. Drjcwash says:

    Great idea, skiing with the grandkids. Yes, the yoga and the book store seem wonderful. Happy New Year.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s