The lazy indulgence of owning a season pass
When I was a kid, we had a free skiing program for local kids that I grew to love. This implies that I wasn’t nuts about it all along, and that is true. I hated it.
No, those words aren’t strong enough to describe the feeling in my heart for it. I loathed, despised, dreaded and rued the day some knucklehead in the ski school came up with the idiotic idea of providing a program taught by trained professionals to teach local children how to ski at absolutely no cost to their parents other than dropping them off at Tiehack early on Saturday mornings during the winter. It pained me all the more that my best friend, Mike Dodge, won the contest to name the program “Aspenauts” after the beloved heroes in our national space program that were going to the moon.
One day I spoke to my father like a man about my abhorrence for the program. “I hate the program,” I said. “I hate the nervous energy early every Saturday morning when you drop me off with everyone else trying to meet up with their groups. I hate hurrying around the house with breakfast getting cold searching for my goggles and gloves. I hate getting behind on what’s happening in my favorite cartoons. You know Saturday is the only chance we get to watch them. I’m afraid it’s all making me resentful about the sport of skiing and you and mom for making me do it.”
It has been many years since I told my father this, so my memory may not serve as a tape recording to prove these were the exact words I used in the arguments I presented to him, but suffice it to say that these were my sentiments exactly and he got the message.
Now, he was a wise man and wanted me to love skiing as he did, so he told me that he understood what I was saying and added that skiing should be a joy in life and turning it into an obligation is the certain way to ensure that it would be the opposite. He thought deeply about it and came up with a brilliant solution to make me happy while ensuring that I would continue diligently in my skiing apprenticeship.
“My son, I release you from this obligation with my sincere blessing,” he told me. (These may not have been his exact words, either.)
I slept in the next Saturday until noon. What a luxury to treat a winter morning like it was the middle of summer! By one o’clock, I was bored stiff. The next week I woke up at 11 and asked my mom to give me a ride to Tiehack. I knew about where my group would be on the mountain and so I skied around until I met up with them. The rest of the winter I showed up early for race days and whenever I pleased on the others. Once in a while I didn’t show up at all. It was great. I was on my own schedule, and I was an Aspenaut!
Yes, I came and went like a spoiled brat, but it worked perfectly because it cost neither me nor my parents anything and I ended up loving skiing, which was the plan all along! This came back to me on an 18-minute solitary ride up the Bell Mountain lift on Sunday. My season ski pass allows me the freedom to be a spoiled brat today. It’s definitely not free, but once it’s paid for it sure feels like it.
I recognize the great temptation to treat the ski pass as an obligation. You’ve got fourteen-hundred bucks invested in it and you want to get your money’s worth. Don’t fall for that trap.
The best thing about owning a season pass is that you don’t have to use it, but you can anytime you want. You don’t have to go up all day, but you can take an hour at lunch for one run. If you don’t feel like going up at all, it doesn’t actually cost you any more than if you force yourself to ski every day. Your money is already in Skico’s bank account. They don’t get any more if you take a rest day.
The last thing we need in this life of hustle and bustle is another obligation. It’s a crime to turn your season pass into one. The great luxury of owning it is freedom. With it, we always have tomorrow to ski. Today we can afford the extra time to ride the Bell Mountain lift and enjoy yesterday.
Roger Marolt knows that taking the time to hike the Bowl is also an indulgence of the season pass. email@example.com
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