Bayens: Frozen in the face of adversity
A few weeks ago, our 10-year-old son found himself face to face with a formidable challenge, one many adults would find intimidating and anxiety inducing. The task before him was not a surprise. He knew what lay ahead. But any doubt or hesitation he had was instinctively masked by the tough-guy, brave-face bravado often activated in the face of peer pressure. But this time, even Dad was nervous. I was looking up the same hill.
And so, on a perfect bluebird day, under hero snow and minimal wind, Bridger and I, along with his ski class, instructors, and other parents, grabbed our ski straps and boarded the snowcat with Highlands Bowl looming ahead and above. As an avid fan of ski lifts, I prefer the rewards of what I consider a downhill sport. It had been years since I had prepped for the hike to the top, but this day, my focus was on my son.
Like his Dad, Bridger is not the most extreme of the bunch, so days prior to our attempt I worried he might chicken out. I was concerned he might bonk halfway up and ask to turn back. For those of you who don’t know the route, the only way down from halfway is to ski the steepest section. And lastly, once on top, I wondered if he’d have the chops to tackle the turns and powder through the G-zones to the bottom.
Any concern I had for him and his experience proved baseless and unwarranted. One of Bridger’s many strengths is his ability to observe, take it all in, and then decide independently whether or not he’ll proceed. He’s not the one to immediately follow the others kids off the cliff, but once he sees it can be done, you can be sure he’ll start to gauge his courage, weigh the risk and reward, attempt it, and succeed. It’s a delightful process his mom and I have seen many times and love to watch play out.
And so there we were, me and other parents, watching our kids strap skis to their backs and boot kick nearly 900-foot vertical to the top. Bridger and I were the last of the group to finish after a brief moment of despair below the summit. As we caught our collective breath, I encouraged him to look around at the surrounding peaks, relax, and take it all in. We glanced down at how far we had come and how close we were to the top.
When we got to the radio tower, he laid down, a huge smile on his face — exhausted but proud as a peacock. It was great to be up top again, having overcome my own doubts as well as for him. We rested up, got the obligatory pics, and then geared up to head down. It was a run I’ll never forget.
Life is full of defining moments. But ironically, verity provides we can be ignorant of their existence in real time. Sometimes it takes years to absorb the true significance of events that change the course of our experience.
Conquering the bowl together reinforced the notion of predetermination. It required we look fear in the face, set aside any apprehension, and just start walking. Doubt would have derailed us. There was one way down, and that was up.
I can’t help but equate our challenge to the issues we face today. On the national front, inflation, higher interest rates, the stock market, and slower home sales are feeding fears of a recession. In our little bubble, it’s locals vs. tourists, development vs. preservation, bridge vs. preferred alternative, new ideas and progressive leadership vs. the old guard kicking the can down the road.
And while we can’t control the national economy or the price of gas, we can work to solve our problems here at home if we stop staring up the mountain, frozen in our boots. Local headlines use words like “delay, wary, question, disagree, battle, criticism, dismiss”; it goes on and on. I’m flabbergasted and frustrated by the number of elected officials, candidates, and letters to the editor offering impractical and unrealistic fixes. Idealism is not leadership.
We must avoid becoming victims of the sad story we tell ourselves, lest it become a self-fulfilling prophecy. One example, the sky is not falling in the local housing market. In fact, it’s on par with prepandemic levels that were quite healthy. There will be no “crash.” I’m advising my clients to take advantage of the uncertainty now before another busy summer of buying and selling.
We have more power than we think, but there can be no more hesitation or indecision. Our obstacles are not insignificant. Nor are they insurmountable. Even a 10-year-old boy gets that.
Scott Bayens is a Realtor with Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty. Visit his website at http://www.scottbayens.com.
Mountain Mayhem: Spring flings
Casa Tua hosted a dinner last month in partnership with Wyld Blue, the chic boutique in the Elks Building downtown featuring a collection of housewares, childrens’ clothes and women’s fashion.