When I was 6 my family moved to the mountains in upstate NY. Before that the closest I had come to skiing was trying some of those ghetto red plastic skis at the sledding hill once. In the new hometown, they offered free rentals and lessons at the local mountains through the school. Some of the teachers were also pretty avid skiers and would come along to chaperone us kids. There was one teacher that was always pulling myself and some friends aside to go down some of the steeper terrain(probably blues lol). Helping us conquer small challenges in skiing, while having the best time ever.
I remember one lap with him at the home mountain(Oak). He had me following him as he dipped off into a jug handle with speed. Around the corner was a cut up back into the trail. He blasts towards it and sends a helicopter/360. Still the sickest thing I've ever seen! I've seen plenty of crazy rail tricks, and even triple corks in person, but nothing captured me the way that one spin did. It blew my mind, took everything I thought about skiing and blew it up. I grew up at, and generally was only able to ski a small mountain. There wasn't a park, and it was honestly rare to see anyone even do a trick. That one little 360 changed my perspective of the sport. It hooked me, reeled me in. This was skiing, this is what I wanted to do.
Browsing ski shops looking at gear and watching some of the old movies on the TVs. Music bumping while people ripped the most insane lines down mountain faces, or threw ridiculous tricks in the park(that a 5 year old could probably do today)The big contests, and the early years of Xgames. Glued to the TV unable to move. Flipping through magazines geeking out over the photos and articles.
The other day, my friends convinced me to go out for some laps. We had worked a long snowmaking shift and I was tired, but they insisted and I finally caved. It took a couple of beers and simply growing tired of the relentless nagging. We ended up heading to a zone that had just opened. The snow wasn't deep but it was fresh and though semi low tide, there were some goods to be had. That feeling of weaving in around trees and hitting small features at high speed with good friends. It was the stoke all over again.
I ride much less than I used to now. I do actually need some sleep or I'm cranky.(And I work nights) But there's something about those days, those friends, and those turns. Nothing like getting low on fresh cord, or that perfect pillow line to shed some years and become that child again. Knees slightly more used, I sure as hell am not riding from 9am to 10 at night ever, but I'm just as happy for my time on the mountain. Big mountain, small hill, ridiculous park, no park, groomers, trees, friends, or solo. The mountains and winter have become such a pillar in our lives. Whether you get out 5 times a year, or 100+ hold onto that stoke. Let the bullshit in the world go, and take that adventure one turn at a time. Click into your gear, throw on your favorite song, and let the world melt away.
If I've learned anything from life, skiing, or the movie step brothers, Don't lose your dinosaur!