The first-timers |

The first-timers

Steve Benson

My parents first came to Aspen in 1967. They had never skied before. When they married in 1961, they decided there were two things they wanted to do together: learn to play tennis and learn how to ski. Being two Southern Californians, the tennis part came easy. The skiing was a little tougher, since they didn’t even know where to go. “I’d heard of Aspen, so that’s where we went,” my dad told me. Aside from the skiing, Aspen was the first time they saw snow, and where they had their first snowball fight. But it was also the beginning of a lengthy love affair with the mountains – an affair that, like their marriage, has only become stronger over the years. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if they hadn’t made that trip. What would I be like, where would I be and what would I be doing? I wonder because without my parents, I probably never would have learned how to ski. And if I hadn’t learned how to ski, I probably never would have developed a passion for the mountains. And if I … well you get the point.That fateful trip to Aspen opened a new world to my parents, and they embraced it, despite a rough early going – they ended every day that week by downloading off the mountain, because the lower section at that time was too difficult for them to ski. “It was humiliating,” my dad says. About 10 years later, they would teach my brother and me how to ski. Suddenly, every winter vacation was spent skiing. Eventually, it became more than a vacation, it became who we are. My parents never skied Aspen again after that trip. Now, after close to 40 years, I think it’s time they get a little redemption. If I could only tear them away from Sun Valley. Steve Benson’s e-mail address is

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