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  • Peggy Simonsen

Mountain Skiing Again!

“Not what we have but what we enjoy constitutes our abundance.”

Jean Antoine Petit-Senn

After a two-year hiatus with my ski trips to the west cancelled, I finally got back to Colorado in February. My ski club trip to Breckenridge reminded me how much I enjoy skiing in the mountains. The wooded mountainsides, the brilliant blue sky, the enjoyment of gliding (sometimes fast) on soft snow is all glorious.

Our first day was Sunday, after a few inches of new snow had fallen on previously groomed slopes. While very cold, the sun was bright and the skiing just about perfect. As is often the case, I was the only woman skiing with a handful of good fast skiers for the thrill of great, almost effortless skiing. On Monday, Sue and Mike joined us for another speedy day so I had female company. Breckenridge is built at the base of several bald peaks. We took the lift up to one of them- above the tree line and windswept. So we could claim having skied a few runs on the treeless black runs, then went down to the more protected areas in the trees.

As the week wore on, and no new snow, I slowed down and skied with other friends. The opposite sensory experience in the mountains from speed is skiing to enjoy the view- literally. As I wrote in Wandering the World, I have a friend who has heightened awareness in nature and alerts me to see, hear and smell the woods. And indeed I did see a beautiful red box running across the trail into the protection of the woods.

With a background of rocky crags, we stopped for a photo in the valley and proceeded to explore the whole area for five days.

Chicagoland Club 50 is a ski and sports club for people over 50 years old. Some of us are well over 50! (My goal is to keep skiing until I am 90!) I joined after my husband died and our group of skiing friends dispersed. My family- sons and granddaughter especially-ski exceptionally well, but I only get a few days skiing with them each year, and in 2020 our visits, as well as our Christmas ski trip, was curtailed because of the pandemic.

In December 2021, I joined my family in the San Francisco area planning to ski after Christmas, but there was too much snow! With 16 FEET of snow on the pass to the Tahoe area, the interstate highway was closed and we heard of 12-hour traffic jams. The ski areas couldn’t open because the lifts were buried and there was imminent danger of avalanches. Formerly Squaw Valley, now Palisades Tahoe near Mike’s mountain house, usually gets feet instead of inches of snow, but even after the main roads were clear, this much show made getting there impossible.

I do have another ski trip planned for this winter, to an area I haven’t skied before, which is always a great exploration. We will be heading to Mt Tremblant in Quebec, north of Montreal. The eastern part of the continent is not known for the soft snow of the west, but like skiing in Europe, you go for the cultural experience not the powder. Stay tuned!

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