What's Tony Thinking

Skiing With My Grandchildren

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I took up downhill skiing six years ago, at age 67. If I’ve already shared the story of how that came to pass, my apologies.

Anyhow, we bought a Subaru from a dealer in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. At the time Carter Subaru was giving, with the purchase of a new car, two season passes to a nearby ski area, Stevens Pass, and a free pair of skis. I am not one to pass up a good deal so I decided to take up skiing.

Now, six years later, I am a decent intermediate skier who enjoys the outings, the beautiful snowy mountains (see Mt. Shuksan in the North Cascades at right; look closely at the middle of the photo and you will see the blue ice of the mountain’s glacier), and skiing with my grandchildren.

When I started skiing none of my grandchildren were skiing. Three of them weren’t even born. Now, all five (ages 4 – 10) are skiing, the oldest down black diamond runs (!), the younger ones in their first year on the slopes.

But the great thing for me — unanticipated six years ago — is skiing with my grandchildren, which I’ve gotten to do five days this season.

At the moment, my oldest son, Joe, and his son, Colin, and I are wrapping up day two of a three-day skiing trip at Mt. Baker in the North Cascades, not far from Canada. The Mt. Baker area has Mt. Shuksan on its north side and Mt. Baker on the south.

I’ve found the skiing here at Baker a bit more challenging than some other areas, but still fun. My grandson, Colin (he of black diamond runs), likes to find routes through the trees and urged me to join him on one yesterday.

It was like barreling down a chute, the sort of the thing you see bobsleds doing on the Olympics. I bounced out of it onto the main run, more or less intact, glad to have shared it with him but having zero desire or intention to do it again. (At right, a pair of wooden skis on the wall at the place we are staying, dating from the 1920’s – 1930’s. How in the world did people ever make a turn on these stiff boards?)

So it goes. Life is full of chance happenings ¬†— a Subaru dealer with free skis — and unexpected grace, skiing with grandsons and granddaughters. There is new life even when you are no longer young or new yourself! There is grace for the young and for the old.

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