Not a bad day

Yeah, it’s sunglasses all
the way down. Like turtles.

Tahoe – did I mention? We’re doing a bit of a family roadtrip this week. A couple of days of Spring skiing with the kids, then the long drive down 395 to LA. Looking forward to the drive – 395’s supposed to be second only to the Pacific Coast Highway on the gorgeous index. Down the east side of the Sierra, past Mono Lake, Mount Whitney, Mohave – bunch of the big names in California geographic spectacular,uh,ity.

But that’s tomorrow. Today? Today was a good day. Kids both damn near knocked themselves out getting the most out of their last day on snow until next season. Jem always seems to make progress in punctuated equilibrium, and today he “got” the knees and ankles thing: knees bent to keep the weight forward, ankles as close as comfortable for the steepness of the slope. Everything else just fell into place – posture, fall line, the works. Devon and I had a hell of a time keeping up, and he wasn’t just doing the A-frame bomber routine – he was just cruising through the turns, blam, blam blam, all the way down like an Energizer bunny. Didn’t matter whether it was one of the light blue slopes at the base or one of the black diamonds down the back, he just, well, he just skied it: blam, blam, blam. And when we finally caught up with him at the bottom each time (staggering and breathless), he asked: “Can we do that one again? Can we? Can we?” We’ve definitely reached the when-you-can-snatch-the-pebble-from-my-hand point. Next season, we need to find him a ski buddy he won’t run into the ground.

Miranda too – she’d decided that this was the time to try snowboarding. Yeah, snowboarding. Where you strap both your feet to the same plank and repeatedly throw yourself at the ground, only gradually learning how to miss. Two days in, and she’s linking turns: heel, toe, heel, toe. Yes, I got it on video. No, you’re not going to see it – she’d kill me in my sleep. She’s bruised in more places than Indiana Jones, but she stuck with it, and when I met her at the end of the second day, her instructor was unequivocal: “Yeah, she’s a snowboarder. Definitely a snowboarder.” Makes a dad proud. Both of them.

D and I got in some good runs, too. Snowed just enough last night to leave a few inches of powder at the ungroomed edges of the slopes, so Devon got to cruise in her comfort zone while I played in the margins.

Decided I’d try going back to my board, after spending the past few years on skis. I swear, the whole snowboarding thing still feels like Peter Pan you-can-fly magic. I don’t understand how it works: you’re going down the slope on your heel edge, and when it’s time to turn, you sort of throw your weight forward, down the mountain, like you want to smack your body into the ground in a spectacular stuntman-style full-frontal impact. And somehow, by grace of physics, human kinematics and pixie dust, your feet and board swing around under you, and you find yourself going in the other direction, cruising along on your toe edge. It just happens.

Except, of course, when it doesn’t. When you forget to believe in fairies, or whatever, and you have that brief oh-crap-this-is-gonna-(WHACK!)-hurt yard-sale moment as the ground rises up to smite you like an enormous fly swatter. Had plenty of those, but by and large, the pixie dust held, and I emerged from the encounter with nothing that Ibuprofen and a couple days rest won’t take care of.

Anyhow, it was a good day. I know we don’t celebrate these things often enough.

(BTW – a couple of people pointed out that the Barb Ross link in yesterday’s post was broken. Fixed it now, but if you haven’t given it a look, it’s over at – enjoy!)

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