Bowling with Dad

Marta Darby

Aspen, CO ColoradoASPEN On Tuesday, I got my wish. I hiked Highlands Bowl with my dad.A year before, we made the attempt. A train of people snaked along the ridge. We stood in line for two rounds of the snowcat – powder day in the bowl – before we decided to continue on foot. The snow at Highlands: unbelievable. No time to waste. At the main gate we turned around, too many people, too much pressure to keep pace. Ever since, I have yearned to share Highlands Bowl with my dad. I wanted him to experience the views, the journey, the terrain.On Tuesday, we returned to Highlands together. We timed it perfectly. The cat had yet to begin ushering skiers to the main gate, leaving us with an open trail both ahead and behind. We took our time, appreciated the view and, most importantly, we climbed to the top together.For a half an hour we soaked in the view at the top. We sat on the chairlift, relaxing, swinging our legs, before jumping into the G-zones. The skiing was good – soft, cut-up fluff – but not epic. But, for me, the run was one of the best I have had in Aspen since arriving here just before Thanksgiving last November. I skied the bowl with my dad. It felt like a dream.We spent the rest of the day racing each other down bump runs and groomers. We celebrated with a lunch at Cloud Nine, where we joined a contingent of my dad’s friends from his ski group. The perfect day.My parents threw me on skis when I was 3. Ever since, my dad has been one of my best ski buddies. There is no one I enjoy skiing with more. He will go anywhere and ski anything – the Dumps on Aspen Mountain, Steeplechase, the Hanging Valley Headwall. We finish our days racing to the bottom of the hill, and as much as I hate to admit, I have not beat him yet.