Tree trail trauma | AspenTimes.com
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Tree trail trauma

Bob WardAspen, CO Colorado

I once believed that hard-packed thoroughfares like Little Nell and Jerome were the most dangerous runs at our local ski areas. That was before I became a dad, however, and began skiing “tree trails” with my kids.I’m not talking about skiing powder in the woods on Bell Mountain or Temerity. When I say “tree trail” – and local parents understand what I’m saying here – I mean the meandering, braided routes with names like Devil’s Gut and Bombalooga, which are tucked like shrines in the corners and nooks of our local mountains. Some of them are signed and some aren’t, but if your kid’s in ski school, then he or she knows them and insists you ski them. Chances are your kid also skis the tree trails much more skillfully than you do. For an adult on adult-length skis, navigating a tree trail at Buttermilk can be likened to steering a sailboat through a kayak course.As your kids dart through the trees like squirrels, hooting and squealing in one of those shoulder-width stances, bouncing over the unpredictable bumps like human shock absorbers, you will boldly attempt to follow them. But your tips and tails will be knocked and rocked every which way until you end up on your heels and nearly wrapped around a tree.Eventually, you will give up and just use the damned wedge. Likely the tree trails will linger forever in your mind as the first sign that your children were soon to become better skiers than you.It’s a bittersweet feeling. You’re proud to watch ’em rip, but you know they’re getting older, and before long they won’t want to wait for you anymore.Devil’s Gut, indeed.


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