Skiing was always another father-son bonding tradition. Unfortunately, it hasn’t happened for some time. I do have my 70+ Ski Club patch but haven’t been on the slopes since Portland and year-69. It was only an hour drive from our home to Mount Hood, so a few times each year I would make the drive with friends. We never got Adam’s family of five to visit us there, the 3,000-mile distance too far to navigate, but before he was married, we did ski together at Mount Bachelor in Bend, Oregon. My good Elkhart and I.U. friends, who lived in Portland, joined us on the mountain that year. It might have been the last time that father and son skied together.
Adam learned to ski at the same time I did, but at an age when he had no fear. I worked at a radio station in Fort Wayne, Indiana (WMEE), and Timber Ridge Ski Resort near Kalamazoo, Michigan was a client. They convinced me to try the sport when I was nearing the ripe old age of thirty. I really struggled the first few times but stuck with it for several more visits. We enjoyed it as a family and bought equipment instead of renting. I then arranged for a week-long trip to Monarch Resort in Colorado, a big step up in degree of difficulty. A few weeks before we planned to leave, we did one last tune-up at Timber Ridge. Adam ended up in the Emergency Room after twisting his knee, so we nearly canceled the Colorado trip after watching him limp around the house for a week. A few days later, he seemed back to normal, so we proceeded with our vacation plans.
We flew into Denver and rented a car. As we neared Breckenridge on our way to Monarch and saw the mountain peaks filled with skiers, I got the urge to buy some afternoon passes so that Adam and I could enjoy the sun and blue skies. We got on the lift and his eyes got big as he noted the massive size of these runs when compared to Michigan where he learned. As we got off the lift, he began to awkwardly gimp, hesitant to ski. I stopped and pointed out that he was limping on the opposite leg from what he injured. He was obviously faking, and I didn’t fall for it. He had much less trouble getting down the slopes than I did, and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon, along with the week of skiing at Monarch that followed. We were all hooked by the time we left Colorado, ready for future adventures.
We tried other resorts over the next few years, like Cannonsburg, Crystal Mountain with the White’s, and less-challenging Swiss Valley that was closer to home. Next, we made the long drive into Northern Michigan to ski Boyne Mountain. We also joined the Clark family on a trip to Steamboat Colorado, where Adam took daily lessons with ski instructors as part of their Polar Bears program.
When we moved to Indianapolis, too far for regular excursions into Michigan, I went on to ski with friends in Utah, Montana, and Vancouver without him. We did venture down to Paoli Peaks before the two of us made the journey to Mount Bachelor. We also went back to Steamboat, but the last few times that I’ve been there in recent years, my wife and I stayed with friends that we met in Decatur. Her brother also owned a home at Breckenridge, so I skied with him, returning to the slopes that were so intimidating to Adam the first time he saw them.