Skiing is life, or so I’ve heard many a skier remark over the dozens of seasons I’ve been a participant. It sounds like both a prophetic statement and a silly unserious one at the same time.
That is skiing; something you can take seriously while having great fun! In a typical season I spend somewhere over one-hundred-days on snow, or if averaged over a year, every third day. I ski more than I walk from November through April.
Yes, I love it. But it’s also my day-job; actually my only job all year in which I receive pay for hourly services. Working as a ski school supervisor I’m part of Ski Santa Fe’s full-time seasonal staff, which means I’m there all day long up to six and sometimes seven-days-per-week. Despite the long hours, eight-to-ten-a-day, it rarely feels like a job.
Then again why would it?
I spend my time in the glorious high alpine southern Rocky Mountains above Santa Fe NM. From our twelve-thousand-foot-plus-peak, you can see to Colorado, and beyond on a clear day. With an average of three-hundred-days of sunshine a year, opportunities abound.
While swooping down a mountainside with the speed and grace of a bird of prey should be reward enough, it’s really the people that I love. The staff at the mountain and in particular the snowsports school are simply the best. They love what they do, love being around other people and most importantly love sharing their passion.
Our guests are another reason. My job allows me to essentially go on vacation with them, sometimes its a serious lesson trying to break certain movement patterns to get them to that next level or it’s introducing the sport to the uninitiated. Regardless of the format, most everyone revels in the fun, not the least the instructors themselves.
Sure there are a few curmudgeons; generally, locals who for whatever reason lack the ability to admire the views or the people. Wearing a bright red instructor jacket I am often confused with the SNC or Snow Complaint Department. A recent discussion dealt with how we were being untruthful about the amount of fresh snow we got the day before, because when the complaining party drove up the mountain the day after the storm he found it packed down, cut up and not the pristine fluffy stuff he believed to be awaiting him. When I reminded him there were plenty of stashes of powder left in the trees and other off-piste trails he snapped back at me “I don’t ski there.” Berating me about how grooming it after a snowstorm was the stupidest thing he ever heard, he then stormed off saying how crappy the conditions have been all season. Another complaint had to do with the texture of the snow, it wasn’t quite to their liking, might they get a refund?
I’ve always been amazed that ski conditions matter that much to people, it is far down the list for me. So far down that, if I can slide on it, well I’m happy. For me, our guests and especially our staff and other employees now out of work due to COVID-19 and maybe even the curmudgeons, the 2019/2020 ski season looks pretty good by comparison, in a crazy world when things were so much simpler BC.
I’m reminded of a saying circulated by one of the PSIA gurus (Professional Ski Instructors of America) a while back:
“There is good skiing, and then there is skiing that is good for you.”
Either way, skiing is awesome and will be again.