Friday, March 16, 2012

So there we were, at the top of the world...

Me and my mom at Revelstoke
It's been a week since I was on the slopes in the Rockies.  I suppose I've stopped dreaming about it now. I was just looking through a few of the photos posted and got a bit of heartache.

Vacations are always hard for me to come back from. I suffer from a bit of "but why can't I ALWAYS be on vacation?" And a bit of "why can't I run away from life? It's kind of hard."

So, when I returned from vacation feeling down, I guess I knew why. Don't get me wrong: I wished I didn't feel that way. It's so impractical, afterall. Of course you can't always be on vacation. Of course I need to have a job so that I can actually afford to go skiing. And likely, the very reason I appreciate my vacation so much is that it isn't all the time. It's special. It's called a getaway for a reason. I'm getting away from the usual, every day here.

Our family skiing vacation is pretty amazing though. How often do you hear about grown families spending an entire week together in challenging conditions (no, we don't actually go luxury), and not killing each other? Or at least having some pretty loud difference of opinion? OK, maybe we're just a little bit more quiet and inward, but we really do get along for the most part. A bit of eye rolling and deep breathing about covers the extent of our conflict.

We stay in cheap motels and pack ourselves in (although not so much this time - there was lots of space) and make our dinners using groceries kept in the mini-fridge, prepped on the hotel tables, warmed in the microwave or mini-stovetop. We hang out in wool socks and fleece sweaters, reading books, preparing for the next day and watching hockey (or HGTV). We go to bed at 10pm -- sometimes earlier. We wake up at 7am (or earlier), eat, clean, dress, pack the car and off to the hill. Buy tickets, up the gondola, down the mountain, finding the powder. Lather, rinse, repeat. Eat the bar you've stashed in your jacket on the ride up the chair lift if you can manage to take your hand out of your mitt.

Yep, that's me in the trees
Found some fun terrain? Go back to that spot! Fall into the deep pools of powder so insulating you can't hear anyone more than a few feet away. Maybe your ski falls off, maybe you fall off the side of the mountain 'cause you can't see the edge. Maybe you get lost in the backwoods and can't figure out how to get back to the main trail and you have to fight tears and panic and remember this is, afterall, a vacation. For the most part, your focus is finding good snow, a fun run, and enjoying it all as much as your legs will let you. Sometimes there aren't even a lot of other people and we feel like we're alone on the mountain.

We ski til we're hungry. Eat the lunch we made and left in the chalet. Get back out on the pow. Ski til the lifts shut down. And then we're back at the hotel again.

I don't even have to worry that I ate a Mr. Big today -- I just skiied off 10 of them. All I have to worry about is making sure I get enough sleep to do it all again tomorrow.

For this trip, we managed to make it out to Kicking Horse in Golden, BC, Revelstoke, BC, and Lake Louise, AB. There was pow. There were vip-vaps (little jumps and jaunts into the trees). There was silence and laughter and a few minor temper tantrums (like when I bashed the snow with my pole when I couldn't get my ski back on). But it's the tough stuff that makes the memories. I will always remember getting stuck in the woods at Revelstoke for an hour.

And then there are the days off. When we went skating at the Olympic Oval instead.

It was magic, skiing at the top of the world. In that magical reality.

And now, back in regular life, I can look at the pictures and think about how I can make my life right now more like a vacation.


KarenSD said...

You are SO lucky to have a family that plays together, and such play. Helps keep me inspired to get and stay in shape so I can do the same with my own...

KarenSD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.