Ski Bum

This may come as a surprise to the people that know I’m from North Dakota, but I have never once went skiing. This really shouldn’t be much of a shocker. There are 2 essential ingredients to a good skiing area: snow and elevation change. While we have plenty of the former, we are severely lacking in the latter. In fact, I have a theory that North Dakota actually curves up slightly at the edges to compensate for the curvature of the earth. This allows you to actually see across the entire state without any obstructions. That’s how flat it is.

My wife, on the other hand, loves skiing since she was raised in the Salt Lake City area. She grew up on the slopes, and has been asking me to take her for a few years. For various reasons (lack of resources, lack of time, lack of stable ligaments, etc.), we’ve never had the opportunity to go. Well, this last week, we took a vacation to Park City, UT, and while we didn’t go skiing, I got a feel for the atmosphere.

We wanted to take the kids to Gorgoza Park which is a small hill where they have set up some tubing runs. The provide the tubes, and you can even hook up to a pulley system and be pulled to the top of the hill. All you have to do is ride down. It looked like a lot of fun, so we wanted to do it. (On a side note, they also give incredible military discounts.) One of the problems is that, according to the website, snow pants and boots are required. This meant a shopping trip for me. To the best of my knowledge, I have never owned a pair of snow pants. Once again, this may be surprising, but in North Dakota, if it’s snowing, you get the hell inside. Winter is not a destination there. In fact, the concept that Southern Californians take vacations to go see snow absolutely blows my mind. Regardless, we ran by a store and got me some fairly inexpensive supplies.

When the day of our park visit arrived, we got the kids so bundled up that it looked like the Staypuft Marshmallow Man decided to start a family with a manatee. Then, I started putting on my gear. Parts of it made no sense. So, I put these pants on over my regular pants??? Do I wear a belt??? How does this ski tag thing work???

When I was finally done, I looked at my wife, and she had a twinkle in her eye. Now, I’m very much used to the “You look like an idiot and it amuses me” twinkle, but this one was different. It almost looked like an affectionate twinkle. I asked her what she was thinking, and she said, “You look really good.” I shook this statement off with the grace of a drunk moose and continued with the day.

Several times over the next couple hours, I would look over and see her staring at me. At one point, she actually looked at me and said, “You know, I like you better in that outfit than when you’re in your cammie uniform.” Trust me when I say that this is high praise.

It turns out that CinC HOUSE kind of has a thing for ski bums. Specifically, she has a thing for me as a ski bum. Of course, in true Military Dad fashion, I only figure this out after 8 years of marriage and at the end of the ski season. You better believe that I’m going to hit the slopes next year though, ligaments be damned. In the mean time, I just need to figure out a way to incorporate ski pants into my nightly routine…

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