High School Music Teacher Plays Saxophone While Skiing

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Written by Nick Jacques

The week after I skied over 100,000 vertical feet in one day at Bogus Basin, ID, I just had to share it with my Carson High School band students. As I finished sharing, one student asked, “What’s next?” “Well, what about skiing and playing an instrument at the same time?” asked another student.

Nick at Mt. Bachelor. Credit: Nick Jacques

The thought casually crossed my mind throughout the years, but I never took it seriously. Leave it to my students to successfully egg me on to the point of committing to a new goal. Lead by example, right?

With spring break upon me, I packed up my skis and my alto saxophone, headed to Mt. Bachelor in central Oregon, and hit the slopes with a fellow music teacher, Rhett Bender. Rhett is a saxophone professor at Southern Oregon University. When I first shared this idea with him last week, he responded, “Ha! Is this an April Fools joke?”

Nick Jacques and Rhett Bender after a fun day of music and skiing. Credit: Nick Jacques

After sharing the backstory, we grabbed our instruments and took the quick 30-minute drive from Bend to the base area.  With instrument in hand, Rhett and I headed to Sunshine Accelerator. The lifties were intrigued, jokingly telling us, “You gotta play something to get on this lift!” Several renditions of “Careless Whisper” and “Take on Me” later, we logged over 1,000-vertical of music-filled skiing on the freshly groomed beginner slope where we faced minimal risk of falling with our expensive instruments. Mission accomplished!

We put our instruments away and spent the rest of the day exploring the mountain. We already figured out our goal for next season: playing duets while skiing, but that will have to wait until next season.  Onward!

mt. bachelor, trail map, Oregon
Mt. Bachelor, OR trail map. Credit: Mt. Bachelor

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