This is the first year for as long as I can remember that I won’t ski. I will not get a single day of skiing this winter season. It hurts even to type that.
For the previous decade and more, Winter Park, CO, has been my winter solace, my escape from ‘real life’ in the UK. The reason I would work solidly for eight months in the summer to get those four months of being a ski bum in the winter. 100 days always the target.
The past decade of my life, jobs, decisions, and spending (or lack thereof) have centered on winters in Colorado.
Then the virus struck.
It cut short the season last year. We fled Colorado, with less than 24-hours’ notice, on the last airplane to Heathrow out of Denver.
We comforted ourselves that everything would soon be back to normal and we could return to Colorado next winter. Maybe even fit in a little trip to South America during the summer to make up for lost ski days. How wrong we were.
I can remember the feeling of despair when we realized, late summer/early fall, that even winter 20/21 was looking unlikely. After working all summer again, not really seeing family due to enforced lockdowns and restrictions, and pinning all our hopes on once again feeling the wind on our faces and the champagne powder of Colorado hitting us in the face, it hit like a freight train. All hope was lost. We wouldn’t ski this winter.
We’ve still felt the cold and wind on our faces. But the miserable wet, cold, windy days, with ‘kinda-snow’ in the north-west of England, are nothing to get excited about. Running in the hills is exhilarating. I love that, but that only began as a means to keep fit for skiing. My usual summer full of local races has been obliterated, offering zero motivation to grind out those 400s on the track, mile repeats, or make just one more hill sprint.
As winter marched on without us, European ski resorts began closing to tourists, and most remain closed to this day. Everywhere we turned, doors that could lead to skiing were slamming one-by-one. The UK won’t let us leave (I think skiing is essential travel, but unfortunately, border officials do not), and even if we could leave, other countries won’t let us in. We even looked into heading to Russia…
We’ve tried to console ourselves that this winter wouldn’t have been the same; all the liftlines, rules and regulations, reservations, potential closures, and that we’re better off giving it a miss this year. Who are we kidding?! I’d go through that every day to click into my bindings.
Of course, all made worse sitting here behind my keyboard, watching my writer and editor colleagues shredding daily, hitting deep stashes in Alaska, Utah, Wyoming, California, and Idaho. You don’t know how lucky you are…
Today was the final nail in the coffin. I just clicked ‘defer’ on my Ikon Pass. Whatever happens to global borders, I now don’t have a pass. My purchase has been deferred to next season, and on April 19th, when the credit is applied to my account, I will purchase next season’s Ikon Pass. Thankfully, Ikon made it super easy and effortless to do this with just the click of a button.
And then summer can begin. Again. Working, running, hiking, hopefully seeing friends and family. With the end goal of Colorado for winter 21/22. After almost two years off skis, will my body even know what to do?
We were living the dream. Now we’re just dreaming of living in Colorado once more.