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Live to ski; ski to live. Ski la Vie.


Twenty-one years ago, on the east side of Sandia Mountain outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico, the hook was set. After a half a day of instruction — Enduring Lesson: how to fall — and most of the other half stumbling from the highest point to the base, I surprised my friends, all of whom had been reduced to unprintable epithets, and myself by skiing back onto the chairlift. Mostly though I surprised the woman who was already standing there waiting for the chair. We became close friends on the ride up.

Within five years, I happily left a high-paying job, moved to Whistler, British Columbia, became, in order, a ski bum and a ski writer, and haven’t looked back since. If you’re gonna waste an education, waste it on something worthwhile.

Skiing is worthwhile.

I don’t know why everyone doesn’t ski. On the other hand, I don’t know why anyone skis. It can be cold, terrifying, painful, crowded and expensive. It can also be wonderfully invigorating, life-affirming, endorphin-releasing and, well, more fun than anyone should be allowed to have with their clothes on.

It’s also a helluva good way to get over the winter blahs.

But there are problems in skiville and I’m sorry to admit I’m part of the problem. Oh, I’m not contributing unduly to global warming, rising lift ticket prices, the obesity epidemic or the simple fact some stubborn folk keep insisting cruises and beach vacations are better than skiing, which, of course, they aren’t.

But imagewise, I’m part of the problem. Everyone who writes for the ski media is part of the problem. If anthropologists from another planet came to Earth and researched skiing just by perusing the popular ski media, they’d report back that skiing was all about young dudes and dudettes hucking cliffs, flying through the air above terrain parks, or otherwise hurling themselves down mountains at breakneck speeds.


Skiing’s about freedom. Skiing’s about that ironic interplay of gravity and weightlessness and lets us slip effortlessly downhill. Skiing’s about friends and family having a wonderful time despite the occasional nattering a ski day entails. Skiing’s about the warm glow of tired muscles at après. Skiing’s about pushing your personal envelope whether all that’s inside are green runs or double black diamonds. Skiing’s about greasemonkeys and CEOs sitting in the same hot tub swapping stories about the fantastic runs they skied earlier in the day.

So I’m going skiing.

Ski la vie. January 2008 will be all skiing, all the time. I’m traveling outside my comfort zone — Whistler and Blackcomb mountains — and skiing at a couple of dozen great ski hills for a month. I’m writing about each and every one of them, big and small. And while there might be the rare extreme athlete who pops up, mostly I’m writing about you, me, and the folks I meet skiing for a month. It’s my contribution to becoming part of the solution. Ski la vie.

Come along for the slide. From little Angel Fire resort in New Mexico to Taos to Purgatory to Telluride, to the great mountains of Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, come along, tell me what you think, tell me what I ought to see and ski and, well, just enjoy. If I’m skiing and you’re not, maybe it’ll get you a step closer to skiing yourself.

Ski la vie.