On the hill: Speaking for the trees | AspenTimes.com

On the hill: Speaking for the trees

Stewart Oksenhorn
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

SNOWMASS – It wasn’t shaping up to be a banner day at Snowmass this past Sunday. On the first chair ride up, my daughter, Olivia, was complaining of the cold, and informed me that the order of events would be lunch first, skiing second – that is, if there would be any skiing. Hoping to salvage her mood, I agreed to stop at Up 4 Pizza at the top of Big Burn for a snack and some warmth. The pit-stop – topped by a few minutes in front of the very old-fashioned wood-stove – seemed to do the trick.

But once outside, in the gray and cold and wind, a minor equipment hitch seemed to halt our momentum. I feared that the most memorable part of my one-day-a-week on the slopes would turn out to be the slice of pizza.

I hadn’t counted on the trees, though. As we made our way through Sneaky’s Glade and Powerline Glades, it came back to me – the magical formula of skis mixed with pines.

I picked my way part way down the glades, and turned around, expecting Olivia to be well behind (and half-expecting that look that says, “This Will Be the Final Run of the Day!”). Instead, she was on my tail, grinning big. Olivia – no expert on wide-open blue groomers – expertly handled every bump and stump. At the bottom, she bombarded me with the one word I most wanted to hear: “Again!”

Those trees. It seemed as if, all her skiing life, Olivia had been searching for trees such as these. Something about those tight turns, the closed-in feeling, the enhanced visibility, the need to react spontaneously agreed with her on all levels.

The trees have a mystical appeal for me: Where trees are, that’s where my board goes. It is my favorite outdoor activity in the world.

It’s nice to know I’ve handed something down to my daughter apart from brown eyes and an obsessive love of the Denver Nuggets.


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