On the hill: The storming of Panda Peak | AspenTimes.com

On the hill: The storming of Panda Peak

Bob Ward
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – In order to give my wife a ski day last weekend, I agreed to watch our 2-year-old for the day. And since I couldn’t stand the idea of staying at home all day, I took him skiing.

He got a baggy, puffy snow suit from his grandparents for Christmas, and there were hand-me-down boots, skis, goggles, gloves and a helmet in our garage, so off we went to Buttermilk.

It’s been a few years since I’ve taken a rank beginner skiing, especially one this small. So I re-learned a few things. For example, I hadn’t calculated that it would take Johnny (also known as John-John, JJ, J-Bomb and Dilbert the Destroyer, among other names) about 20 minutes to wobble his way across the Buttermilk parking lot.

No matter. We reached the snow, I clicked him into his skis and pulled him over to the Panda Peak lift using my pole. On the chair, he was stoked at the view from above, and commented on passing snowmobiles and crashing skiers. Not knowing how to get him off the chairlift, I just lifted him up and carried him like a football with one arm. He was fine with it.

The first run we skied in a wedge; I held his hands, and he skied between my legs. I heard a couple of cackles as we descended, but I think he was part-scared, part-exhilarated. At the bottom he asked for hot chocolate, and, seeking to avoid an early meltdown, I obliged.

Back atop Panda Peak a while later, he announced, “Daddy, I scared.” So I skied in front of him, facing uphill in a reverse wedge. This time he took a spill on the way down, and announced in the lift line that “I don’t want ski.”

So we turned around and went to lunch instead. At Bumps, he inhaled a banana, half an orange and a bowl of buttered pasta, and we went back out. On his third run, he fell twice and stuck his lower lip out in saying, “I want go home.”

No use fighting this battle. He was cooked.

He completed the long march back to the car and, after a deep drink of water, fell asleep in his car seat.

In the end, we completed three laps on Panda Peak, although the highlights for Johnny were probably the chair ride and the pasta. We all have to start somewhere.


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