No Matter Where, Skiing is Home

Looking at the snow-covered Rocky Mountains I couldn’t believe my eyes. At the summit of eleven thousand feet, I was breath taken by the sight. This was my first reaction after stepping out of the Silver Queen gondola on top of Aspen Mountain. 

At the age of three, my dad put me on skis and from then on I fell in love with the sport. My dad always told me stories of his ski trips out west, especially to his personal favorite-Aspen, Colorado. One day, he hoped to take me out and on February 14, 2020 our dream came true. 

Once I saw the majestic mountain range, I came to understand why he fell in love with this little ski town. We flew in with mountains on both sides of us so close it felt like we could touch them as we descended. Unlike many ski resorts, the slopes are only minutes away from the airport. Aspen is surrounded by four unique mountains: Buttermilk, Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, and my personal favorite and that of the locals, Highlands. In the center of town stood Aspen Mountain. This quaint, mountain town lined with cobblestone roads, fabulous restaurants, and little boutiques was fitting for anyone with expensive taste.

Four days flew by and before I knew it I was looking back at the mountains fading away in the distance. This was an incredible trip that I will cherish forever, especially having shared it with my dad. Late night shopping at Moncler, eating on a cliff overlooking the mountains at eleven thousand feet in the restaurant, Cloud 9, and having my dad be my personal photographer the whole trip were just a few of the unforgettable memories made together. 

A few weeks later I was looking out on a smaller scale, only three thousand feet, thinking to myself this is definitely not the Aspen view or the 100% powdered snow beneath my skis, but it was a familiar place, where I had found my love for skiing. 

Seven Springs is where it all started 15 years ago. Over the years, my dad has spent lots of money on not just ski lessons, but new skis, boots and accessories.

When I first started skiing, my dad took me to Seven Springs Ski School where I learned how to do “pizza” to stop and “french fries” to go. The magic carpet always excited me as we made our way up to Ski School. From day one, I loved going fast, which to this day is still my favorite part.  

One of my least favorite parts is putting on all of my gear. As my dad would say, “by the time you put all of your gear on you’re too tired to even ski.” For my dad, he not only had to dress himself but also my sister and me when we were younger. The worst part is putting on ski boots, which is still a pain.

Before I skied with poles, I struggled to move my way forward in line, thankfully my dad would let me grab onto his poles and pull me along. I would get anxious as we neared the ski lift, as I needed my dad to be ready to help me on and off. 

Wagner was only a blue square in difficulty, but to me it was a huge hill, the first one I would ever ski down. I loved feeling the cold wind in my face as I made my way down the hill. As I got older and more advanced, I was ready for my first black diamond, North Face. I was intimidated as I peeked my head over the edge looking down at the steep vertical drop. My dad told me to go slow, make s’s, and to not stay on my edges too long. Ultimately, I made it down successfully.

Not having ideal weather makes for conditions that are not always up to par. Sometimes it is icy and other days the visibility is so terrible you can’t see three feet in front of you however, my dad and I always make the best of it.

One thing that is special to my dad and me is our sign. Normally he gets down the slope before me and with so many people gathered around the lift area, we put our poles up in the air cross them to make an x, and in this way we can easily find each other. 

Usually we stop to get pizza before going up to ski, but before New Years my dad and I go to Out of the Fire for lunch, where we reflect on how fast the year went and what we are looking forward to in the new year.

I love skiing with my dad, but as I have gotten older, I love to ski with friends. A few years back, both Courtney and Laurin were not as confident as I was, so I helped to make them less fearful of the bigger hills and eventually they could ski down everything. Whether it was ski club or going up with them separately, we always had a great time with lots of laughter.

Although this is not Aspen,  the memories made at Seven Springs are the real treasure. No matter where I am skiing, whether it be in Colorado or Seven Springs the people will make it memorable.