For Telluride moms, skiing provides a space to focus on one thing—getting down the mountain. There are no dirty diapers, carpool schedules or lost mittens. For a few short hours, life is simple; the goal is clear. And, for a few short hours, on those Friday mornings, the ski bum comes out of even the must seemingly put-together mom.
I love skiing with moms because moms are rarely late or cancel (unless a kid is sick); for a mom to ski she has to plan it. When moms ski, they keep moving. Moms don’t stop to watch each other; most could care less if you’re better or worse than them (yet they’ll always notice a new helmet, goggles, jacket or pants). Stopping is what you do at the bottom and talk is for the chairlift. Interestingly, the chairlift is one of the few places where moms talk about themselves, not their kids and not their spouses.
Once on the mountain, moms have limited time so are strategic about getting the most runs in the allotted time. They know exactly how long each chairlift takes and can estimate within seconds how long a run takes.
According to one mom friend, a Gold Hill lap, including the chair ride, is about eight minutes. On a powder day last year, she put her estimation to the test. We were headed from Gold Hill to Lift Nine and I had to go to the bathroom. I suggested stopping at the bathrooms outside of Alpino Vino. After some quick calculations — a four-minute Gold Hill lift ride, eight-minute lap and a five-minute pee break – she figured one more lap would equal my stop plus three minutes. She took the lap; I did my thing and waited the three minutes and about eight minutes later we were back on track and on our way to Lift Nine.
I love skiing with moms because when moms ski, they never complain. They are grateful for every second they spend on the mountain regardless of the conditions. Last Friday, it hadn’t snowed in over a month and a mom friend was on the fence about going up on the Mountain. “It’s freezing cold and hard as a rock, why go?” she texted. “To show you still believe,” I texted back. She showed up, the late morning sun warmed the air, and we skied the Styrofoam-like snow down The Stairs, Lower Plunge and even Kant-Mak-M. Every turn was worth it.
Moms will take what they can get, but on a powder day, they pull out all the stops to get on the Mountain. A go-to-powder-day move involves the ski switch (put the kids in one house and take turns skiing). On a snowy Saturday a few years back, a mom friend (the same one who snuck in the extra Gold Hill lap during the pee break) showed up at my house with all of her ski gear, her two kids, one of whom was still breast feeding, and snacks at 8:45 am. The plan was for my husband and me to take the first ski shift, then one of us would come down to relieve her so she could ski.
“I can’t believe you got everyone dressed, out of the house and here by 8:45,” I said.
She looked at me a little confused and stated matter-of-factly, “It’s a powder day. You guys need to get in the powder line.”
I love skiing with moms, because when it snows, it’s go time. It just takes a little more juggling. And this week, now that the snow is finally predicted to come, the texts are flying – Who wants to share a sitter? Who wants to do a switch? One, on Friday, asked who wanted to follow the snow and take a last minute trip to Alta. The moms were serious, and they’re on their way to Utah.
My skiing posse of Telluride women may be a bunch of moms, but deep down, they’re ski bums at heart –- just with sun block and snacks in their pockets.
Snow Sunday is a weekly column by Jesse James McTigue and sponsored by Jagged Edge intended to deliver tips, news, musings and stories about the people, places, events and experiences that make the Telluride winter an epic adventure.