On a lucid-blue evening, five of us drove upvalley to “skin” up Buttermilk to a party in a hut.
Suddenly Julie, with a resolutely dulled gasp of “Oh, no!” dropped her face into her hands. “I forgot my boots.” We swiveled to look at her feet. She was wearing clogs. On cotton socks.
Julie is extremely efficient ” but she has a toddler and a job. (She was later able to borrow hiking shoes from someone.)
It took me back … to a day, for example, of trying to get the kids to ski school at Buttermilk. Though I had set everything out the night before, even put lunch money in jackets, it was still a melee, especially when the father of a friend of Teddy’s, in all kindness, called inviting him swimming afterwards. We got to ski school on time, and the kids had everything: skis, boots, poles, goggles, helmets, mittens, neck gaiters, and sunscreen (on); also: swimsuit, towel, underwear, pants. I drove over to Highlands to ski ” and had forgotten my boots. I had to rent them. I’ve forgotten my skis, too.
My friend Jenny, mother of toddlers, once dashed out of Basalt to ski, thinking gleefully: “I’m on time, I’ve got everything!” only to look down and see her legs in just long underwear.
One weekend I promised the kids I’d take them to closing day at Ajax. We’d skied there the week before, and my younger son had had a gruesome time when we hit mid-mountain slop, and left convinced he couldn’t ski Ajax. I just wanted him to do a few runs up high, and end the season well.
But I had also agreed to help with gardening at Teddy’s school. So the night before, I packed for skiing, including lunch; and gardening, including three sun hats, snacks and drinks, garden gloves for me and for Teddy, rake, and hoe; also bikes for them to ride there, and Teddy’s scooter in case his friend Thorne wanted to use it, and bike helmets. I have a small car.
We drove straight from the school to Aspen, and dropped off the skis and poles at the gondola plaza (I had to take the bikes and hoe out to get to them), then continued five blocks to park.
We skied two runs, had hot chocolate; it was everything I’d hoped for. Dropping skis at the plaza, we trudged to the car, both kids now tiring and out of sorts. At the car, Teddy, then 7, clung, overwrought, to an earlier notion of riding bikes around town. Roy said he was too tired, and I said we’d go home.
“This whole day has been about Roy! You haven’t done anything for me,” Teddy accused me passionately.
“How about weeding at your school for two hours?”
“You were just having a good time!” The argument was so bad we actually started laughing.
Finally I started the car; both were asleep instantly.
I drove to Carbondale, unloaded bikes, put them away; garden tools, put them away; went back for skis and stared aghast. They were still at the plaza.
When Roy was a baby, my husband would leave early to ski. I’d meet him at noon, bringing the baby and 3-year-old, with baby as well as ski accoutrements. Mike would take Teddy on a few runs, then drive both home while I skied.
Each time Mike met us in the lodge, he’d say, with faux innocence, “What did you do all morning?”
“What do you think I did all morning?!”
On our first ski day the following December, Mike dashed around looking for his skis. “Have you seen them? … Have you seen Teddy’s?”
Suddenly he said, “Oh, no! … I left my skis at Highlands!”
Gathering up baby, toddler, carryall, pack, and boots, he had proceeded to the car, leaving his skis and Teddy’s at the base … the April before.
” Alison Osius lives in Carbondale and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org (write GSPI as subject heading).
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