Saturday, December 8, 2007

Ski Hypocrite

I went skiing today for the first time this season, and yes, again I'm a hypocrite. I love downhill skiing. I know that ski resorts clear-cut huge areas of forest for ski runs, buildings and parking areas, and negatively affect the watershed numerous ways. As a freshwater aquatic ecologist, I am very concerned about the state of the watershed, and I generally ski in an exceptionally fragile environment--the Lake Tahoe basin. These days ski resorts even use a lot of water making snow--is this really a beneficial use of water in states as arid as California and Nevada? When I'm skiing down a freshly groomed slope really early in the season I say YES! (so does the California Water Resources Control Board who gave the ski resorts water rights for this back in the 80s)

But then I get up on top of the mountain, and I have what is probably the closest thing to a religious experience I'll ever have. Looking out at the Sierra Nevada mountains and especially down at Lake Tahoe is so incredibly beautiful. Sometimes I'll be concentrating on skiing, and look up and just have to stop to look at the view. Here is a picture of me with my son taken a couple of years ago at Heavenly Resort in South Lake Tahoe. It looks like a backdrop behind us, but we are really at about 9500 feet near the top of Heavenly.

I started skiing at 36, so I'll never be very good, but when I put skis on, I felt as though I was born to ski. I just got tired of sitting in the lodge while my son and his friends were all out having a good time snowboarding. I had had a lot of experience on a slalom water ski when I was younger because I married into a water skiing family, and I had done some cross country skiing in Indiana, so I wasn't completely unfamiliar with large boards attached to my feet. My brother has since started to ski also.

I now at least am not a helmet hypocrite. I have made my son wear one all along (he is a snowboarder, after all), but I have my own now. I have been run over or had close calls, mainly with snowboarders, one too many times. My son is not one of the idiot snowboarders, of course.

If you are in South Lake Tahoe and feel like a really good hamburger, I highly recommend Izzy's Burger Spa. I had the Bonsai Burger (teriyaki and pineapple). If I don't watch it, I won't fit into my new snow pants for long.


Kia said...

Great picture! Did I ever mention that I bought a snowboard when I lived in Traverse City? Starting yo learrn snowboarding at age 44, I'll never be good at that either. The bunny slope is almost too much for me. Just enjoy the skiing...we can't solve all the world's problems

Laurie said...

I know. I just feel mildly guilty about being part of them. Several times I've been asked if I'm Catholic because of the overall guilty feelings (not just about skiing). Just don't become a snowboard punk!!