On the hill: Crime and punishment
ASPEN – I might have found it funny 10, 15 or 25 years ago during my more rebellious times, but it wasn’t funny this past Sunday.
While on the West Buttermilk high-speed quad, my 10-year-old son asked me to lift my snowboard up before we approached a red sensor, located some 15 yards in front of the midway loading station.
I didn’t ask why, and simply obliged. He did the same with his skis. Next thing you know, the lift op was chewing us out, saying “don’t ever do that again!” No wonder the liftie was ticked: Because the sensor did not detect our presence since we had raised our footwear, the lift stopped for the skiers waiting to load at the midway point. Our antics essentially threw a wrench into the West Buttermilk lift system.
There sat my son, his face hunched down. He knew he’d done wrong, and he was about to get a tongue lashing.
“You know, you can get your pass pulled for that kind of stuff,” I chided him as we rode up.
I felt like a dimwit, too, since I didn’t even question his motives when he asked me to lift the board. Once we made our way down the hill, we detoured to the scene of the crime and apologized to the liftie, who was more than understanding.
But my boy’s antics gave me some leverage for the rest of the day, since he wanted to tool around the terrain parks. I used it by heading to Tiehack, for it was a truly beautiful bluebird day (and if anyone knows why they call it “bluebird day,” let me know. Yes, the skies are clear and blue, but I have yet to see a bluebird on these so-called days. But I’m digressing here.).
The Upper Tiehack lift is a haul – a good 15 minutes to get to the top. But on this day, riding that lift was like spending a day on the beach – soaking up the rays, enjoying the views and forgetting about those little things in life, such as time and work.
An afternoon of exile on Tiehack could hardly be considered a stern punishment for a kid who was simply testing his boundaries like kids do at this age. It was, in the grand scheme of things, a fairly harmless deed.
And to my advantage, I parlayed it into an outstanding day enjoying one of Aspen’s most under-appreciated ski areas, with a son who was in the doghouse. Somehow, I doubt he grasped he was actually being punished.
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