Spring Skiing

Last night after dinner I interviewed two very special individuals.  I learned so much about them, their character and what makes each tick wildly, move creatively.  Click {HERE} to read this week’s article at Today’s mama.

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On Winter’s last weekend, we left the island.  After waiting in the ferry line for what felt like an eternity, we boarded the boat well aware of our weariness for tourist-season ahead and longer, much longer wait lines.  Once atop the car deck, our girls asked, begged, pleaded if we could ever sleep over on the ferry.  Oh, I hope not I answered, knowing it would mean some sort of engine failure in evening crossing’s darkness.


The puzzles have such a view, Mama.  I think in a wish our ladies would connect a dock to our home, place a ferry at end and create the best dream playhouse.

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Upper deck’s phenomenal views make great gusty dance spaces, silly sister steps and, really, this mama holding a camera very, very proud to have grown all three in my belly.

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On the mainland, we drove from Fidalgo Island and honored it as Olive’s birth island.  From Fidalgo, we drove across the Deception Pass Bridge to Whidbey Island, an island honored with the lovely and different births of Betty and Lucy.  This bridge was completed in 1935, is a quarter mile long and 180 feet tall, depending on the tide.

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It freaks me out to walk across, but I stood, slightly swaying in the sea breeze and automotive bounce to peek at our home, San Juan Island on the horizon.  From South Beach on a hazeless day, I can make out Deception Pass.  Quite another view and another feeling to stand on an island’s bridge we used to call home and look out to our new home, new island.

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We could tell Spring was around the corner when a sunset like orange sherbet laid across British Columbia’s silhouette.

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We traveled to the home of our good buddies in honor of a little boy’s fifth birthday, a little boy I watched be born.  Love him.

S’mores tasted great under a moon supposedly 14% larger.  One rare, large moon we wanted to reach out and touch hid all night behind a thick, damp dewy Northwest haze.  Oh, well.

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It was so great to watch Olive slide right into the group that plays so well together – a group of buddies since birth all about nine months apart.  She seemed like such a big girl with the big kiddos, all wide-eyed, eager, joyful.

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We woke at dawn to drive three hours to Mt. Baker, arguably the greatest inbounds mountain we’ve ever skied.  Luke and I mostly believe our ladies are game for anything, adaptable and easy to hop from one destination to the next.  We like to believe our life is still free, flexible even with three ladies aged six and under.

It started with a CD a gal pal had given Betty.  I need it played loud so I can hear the lyrics, Mama. Karma is coming back to get me.  I used to say the same thing in the back of my parent’s Saab.  Somehow, maybe just out of love of music all together, my parents never complained when I played Tiffany, Poison, New Kids on the Block.  They never laughed at me when I bought tickets to my ninth (yup, that’s right, ninth) New Kid’s concert.  When I started seeing Phish in tiny rooms across Vermont and Massachusetts, they wondered how someone had ever thought to play a vacuum, but never laughed at me singing along.  And when I fell head over heels for The Grateful Dead they completely understood, with their own personal histories with The Who, Fleetwood Mac and Studio 54 Disco in NYC.

But, Luke and I laughed uncontrollably while Betty sang along to Justin Bieber.  Then came a Miley Cyrus song and some other Teen Beat magazine’s cover  band.  Gone are the days when we drive to the ski area with gangster rap, hip hop or uninterrupted segments of NPR.  Gosh.  Bieber, really?

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I think it took an hour in the parking lot to find six mittens, three long john sets, three ski suits, etc.  Some girls were too hot, other too cold.  One sister had to pee right now.  One sister needed to eat right now, another wanted to hurry up and get into her skis.

Eight skis, four poles, one baby, and four little feet walking in ski boots didn’t travel easily.

Later in apres ski conversations, Luke and I revealed to one another we had each considered giving up skiing for six years or so.  Too much stuff, too much whining, too much work.  We were both so aggravated and spent on the long, long walk to the lodge we almost couldn’t deal.  If there had been a martini stand by the ski racks I would have given the drink I’ve heard so much about a first chance.

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Oh, how quickly frustrations melt away when you’re in a powdery blue land and welcomed by the warm, spring sun.  It was like we’d traveled through some parking lot version of hell to enter a picturesque, dream-like ski area land.

Betty wiped her tears and tried the hardest thing [she’s] ever done in [her] whole life.  True, the rubbery j-bar knob is tough, but it brings such great results once atop the line.

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Lucy remembered what her favorite thing to do with Daddy is.  For a few moments back in parking lot hell, we’d thought it might have been to refuse to ski-boot-shuffle and enter a world with labels of non-compliance.  Man, kids can bounce from one emotion to the next so quickly.  Inspiring.  Amazing.  And, so is my middle lady on skis.

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For fourteen years, I’ve telemark skied.  I’ve taken maybe twelve, real tele runs in the past six years – usually just a quick jaunt away while our babes feed and lounge in the lodge.

On this day, back on alpine gear I got.  I rented in order to know if I wanted to make the alpine switch.  Turns out, I do.  It was so great to be on the same type of gear our kids are learning on.  I could really use the right language to describe exactly what I wanted our girls to do.  I wish I could say we’d had the kids in lessons. Damn, it’d be a lot easier and we could really use the time away.  But, that won’t work for a number of reasons, namely the first ‘financial’ reason.  It’s so expensive to put two girls in private lessons.

I guess by teaching our babes to ski, it really becomes a family event.  We know where they’ve begun at, which makes the growth all the more celebratory.  And I loved, loved, loved doing what exactly Betty was doing.  It was fun to be her teacher in an entirely different light.

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Sometimes when I stand in this light of my family, in this light of my babes it hits me.  I want to freeze time on the ordinary, casual moments.  Such beauty in these moments, such joy.

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Such beauty in these moments, such joy.  Such beauty in the mountains, such joy.

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Such beauty in these moments, such joy.  Such beauty in the mountains, such joy.

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Such beauty in the mountains, such joy.  Such beauty on the mainland, such joy to be found.

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If you’re so inspired, I’d love to hear how you and yours welcomed Spring.

4 Comments

  • What a beautiful and inspiring post, Jenn!
    A part of me wishes we'd welcomed spring with my in-laws on Vancouver Island (where spring is actually arriving) but we celebrated by building snowmen in snowy Alberta.

  • Bridge says:

    that looks perfect my dear. I cannot wait to take a day out tomorrow. Spring skiing always feels so novel and unreal and like the opposite of what I should do and then I get there….
    these same mountains are where we mountain bike just two short months from now and search for chantarelle and porcini mushrooms in late summer.

  • I'm still kind of getting over the fact that you guys get to take ferries regularly. So cool.

  • Oh Jen…I wish I savored my joyful moments as you are now! This post brought tears to my eyes! Thanks…

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