I was 4 years old, and it was a blizzard. The lift at Park City was bouncing like a leaf in a stiff wind, back and forth, up and down, as sideways snow stung my cheek. She had her poles across my waist (she did the same thing on calm, sunny days) and her arms around my shoulders. Everything was OK. A winter earlier, I had taken years off her life by unloading from Mammoth Mountain’s Chair 3 a little too early. After emerging from the metal safety net that separated my head from a sizable drop into jagged rocks, I pummeled her with my tiny fists (as if it was her fault). But with two sons and a ski-obsessed, overgrown kid for a husband, my mom can endure anything, including my nightmarish teens, when I nearly drove her insane. And she can hang with anyone on the mountain, in any conditions, which is just so cool.I’ve skied by her side in whiteouts and dangerously deep snow in Alta, screaming winds in Mammoth, long smooth cruisers in Sun Valley, and nasty boiler plate at Arapahoe Basin. She’s hung with us in stinky, loud, ski-town bars and endured more than a few childish tantrums when forecasted storms disappeared into thin air. And over the years, she’s poached plenty of my powder stashes. So when I learned that she may never be able to ski hard again due to side effects from breast cancer, it was a bad day. In the last 25 years, not a winter has gone by that I haven’t skied with her. What would we do on the hill without her? Who would be there to push my dad’s buttons and make my brother and I laugh? Skiing is my life, and when you take out a piece that significant, it just isn’t the same. So when I learned that my mom’s health is so strong that her doctor gave her the green light to live her life fully without any inhibitions, it was a very good day. And according to my dad, she’s ripping it up again.