Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Getting Back on the Horse

I just returned from Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort in the Eastern Sierra where I celebrated my 59th birthday. Thankfully I am still in one piece with no broken bones or strained muscles.

Last year on my first and only day of skiing for the season, I took a bad fall and suffered some unwelcome injuries. After 40 years of skiing, I vowed to myself that I would never ski again, despite having recently purchased some pricey new ski boots. As I healed and started getting back in shape I began to reconsider my vow.

When the invitation came to join our good friends at their slope side condominium for a few days of skiing, I decided to replace last year’s bad memories with new pleasant ones. Once again, the positive choice was the right choice.

When we arrived at Mammoth after our six-hour drive across the Southern California high desert, the snow was falling gently and silently, as the light faded to evening. The snow continued to fall as we unpacked and decided to walk to a local restaurant for dinner.

What a joy for Southern Californians to experience the beauty of a winter wonderland. While the new snow crunched under foot and collected in the pines, I was truly happy to be there, even though I was somewhat anxious about what the conditions would be on the slopes come morning.

To my relief, we awoke to clearing skies, calm winds, and a recipe for perfect skiing conditions. Each day was better than the last. The sky got bluer, the snow got better, and my performance on the slopes surprised and delighted me. What had I been afraid of? I couldn’t even remember.

In addition to the skiing, our stay was filled with good food and wine, great companionship, and lots of laughter. What a shame it would have been if I had let my fear rob me of this exceptional experience. Instead, I did indeed replace the old debilitating memories with new treasured ones. A special birthday present to myself.