Blue skies, white snow and sunshine

Back when I was in 4-H, my Federation group took a ski trip to Galena. Even though I did not ski (the girls went shopping) that trip stuck with me as a highlight of my high school days. When I started in M-P, my group of high schoolers decided they liked the idea of going skiing. It had also been a tradition in M-P and it was not hard to convince the parents to let their kids go on a ski trip. In fact, it was the only time I had adults ask if they could chaperone.

One of those dad's was Dean. To the best of my memory, he helped chaperone my second ski trip. It was the one that we got caught in a winter storm and ended up staying overnight.

In his single days, Dean worked at ski resorts out west. He is a very good skier and instructor. He helped me learn how to ski - more than just on the bunny slope.

Unfortunately, that was the only year that it worked for Dean to go skiing with us.

As the Federation ski trip became an annual event, we added a 4-H alumni, Josh, to the chaperone list. Josh was one of the regular chaperones who came on the trip every year. Despite the many aggravations that go along with a group of 20+ teens and a high maintenance Program Coordinator (me) he always agreed to chaperone.

Shortly after I moved on to Taz., Josh, Dean and I were at the same wedding reception. We began making plans to go on our own little ski trip without the teens and all of the planning/coordinating needed for a large group. We just needed some snow and a day all of us were free.

Well, sadly, the winter of 2012 was not a big snow year - even in Wisconsin. So we missed our opportunity to go skiing. 

I do not run into Dean very often, so it seemed like the opportunity to plan another trip was not going to happen. Well, praise the Lord, Dean planned it anyway.

I got a call late Monday night from Dean who had already gotten a thumbs up from Josh. My calendar was free and a snowstorm was predicted for Tuesday. We aimed for Thursday and waited til Wednesday to make it official. All of us had items on the To Do Lists that had to get checked off first. We can only be so spontaneous. Our sense of responsibility is too strong to be totally care free. :)

Bright and early - well actually it was still dark out - they picked me up and we headed north. I was glad to get to sit in the back and nap while they talked tractors. 

You are probably getting a bit bored with this play by play of the day. So I'm going to switch gears and try and share a few insights and happenings of the day.

I made the decision to leave my camera at home. It is too big to ski with all day and I didn't want to have to run back and forth to the car to get it. I missed it terribly. It was a beautiful day. There were so many times throughout the day that I said "Oh, look at that shot." "I wish I had my camera." "I miss my camera." "Isn't that pretty." "If I had my camera I would take this...."

So the only documentation I have of the day is this photo, taken the next day, before I packed away the snow gear for next year.
Next year, I will make sure Josh brings his camera. And I will pray that we have the same clear blue skies, sunshine and snow in the trees.

For now, I will try to etch the scenes in my brain that I wish I had in jpg.
  • the top of the ski lift chair with the blue sky background
  • Josh and Dean riding on the chair lift with the sun back lighting their profiles
  • the afternoon sun shining thru the tree branches with the empty ski slope running thru the frame
  • Josh and Dean swishing down the slope ahead of me with snow clouds trailing behind them
  • the view from the top of the hill - a wide landscape of Wisconsin
  • the frozen river with untouched snow and the morning sun shining thru the break in the trees, glistening off the ice and snow.     
Those are some of the pretty scenes I remember. Some of the memorable ones are:
  • Josh wrapped around the tree in the middle of the slopes (staged)
  • The Batman and Robin sunglasses that Josh bought at the gas station on our way there
  • The retro sweater Dean wore. He found it in a ski hut when he worked out west. It was in great condition, very high quality.
  • The group effort to get my boots tight enough and in the skis. Only a photo could really work to give you a good picture of this process. I felt like a little girl who couldn't tie her shoes and a horse getting her hoofs cleaned. (Either way it made me smile to be taken such good care of.)
  • The awesome restaurant we ate at for dinner (Thanks Wisconsin J for your help with that.)
  • The $3 bottle of water.
  • The endless smiles on all of our faces throughout the day.        
Skiing with two guys who I consider to be very good skiers is a bit intimidating. It had been 4 years since I was on the slopes. I wasn't even sure if I remembered what to do

Being the stick in the mud that I am, I would have been content to stay on the green (easiest) and blue (middle of the road) slopes all day.  But after a couple of trips down the blue slopes, the guys were ready to move on to black. 

I reassured them that I would be OK by myself and I sent them on their way. They only agreed to go after I promised that I would head to the black slopes with them after lunch.

After meeting up for lunch in the lodge, on our first ride back up the hill, Dean immediately said, you promised "after lunch." So I sucked it up, swallowed my fear and meekly said "ok."

The fear of going too fast and loosing control was very strong. A small part of me was worried about making a fool of myself. A big part of me was petrified of getting hurt.

But two things made me willing to stick with it. A) Both Josh and Dean trusted that I could do it. They didn't make a big deal about it, they didn't coach me, they didn't baby me. They just showed me their confidence in what they knew I could do. B) Most of the time it was Josh, but some of the times Dean did this too...half way down the hill the slope became much steeper. When they were ahead of me, they stopped at that crest. Waited for me to get there. Smiled. Debated with me on who was going to go the rest of the way first. "Kicked me in the butt" when I was starting to freak out. Mainly just checked on me. C) They always waited for me to get to the bottom. No matter how long it took me to get there, both of them just simply waited, so we could go back up together.

Encouragement #2
Mid afternoon, I needed a break from the black slopes, so I took a long slow green slope that swung out around the black slopes. The whole resort was pretty empty that day. But this slope was really empty. The only person I saw on it for this particular run was a little boy standing along the fence, facing the wrong way. 

When I stopped to check on him, he asked for help with his ski. He couldn't get his boot back in the ski. As I was helping clean the snow and ice off his boot and in the ski clips, he was telling me his story.
"I bumped into this orange fence and my ski came off. I think it saved my life. I would have gone off the mountain if it wasn't there. My friend is probably wondering where I am. I can't get my toe to go in the ski. This is the hardest green slope here.

After we got him all fixed up, he zipped away and headed down to find his friend. Thankfully towards the bottom I passed him and got to hear and see the next part...

Another little boy was sitting off to the side near the ski lift. He had taken his skis off and was playing in the snow. As my new friend got closer to the lift his friend yells out "Jonathon, what happened."

I turn to see Jonathon coming down the slope with a huge smile on his face, giving his friend a big wave as he shouts "I bumped into the orange fence and lost my ski......" It was the sweetest exchange between two young friends.

That is another scene I wish I could have capture with my camera. 

As you can tell, it was another wonderful adventure. I'm glad I have this blog to share it with you and to have a place to go back and reread in the future, when I start to think my life is too boring and plain or the stress of my To Do list is too overwhelming. 

There are more stories to tell from this sunshiny day, but I think I better save them for another day. 

Love ~





  1. This is a great story! So glad you got to go and enjoy the day :)


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