One of the greatest things about being a kid is that you have yet to really grasp the concept of consequences. The future, whether it is ten minutes from now, a year or a decade, seems so far away that it might as well be nonexistent. Nothing you do now could possibly carry on to something so far off. As a kid, life is in the moment. There is no planning, only rare decision making and hardly a worry. Whatever you feel or want is what life is. And that is a beautiful thing.
Except when it’s barely above freezing and you’re out in the woods whacking the newly fallen snow off tree branches and onto your head. Then it is a beautiful thing, but also a cold one.
Every year for as long as I can remember, the ski association based out of Laramie has held a ski program for kids each January and February. As a kid, I learned how to ski in this program and it helped develop my appreciation for skiing. This year my mom is the director and I’m coaching, thrilled to be passing on my own love of skiing to the up-and-coming Laramie skiers.
Today, per usual Wyoming style, was as different from the last couple of day’s balmy weather as possible. Snow fell over night, dusting everything in a light, fluffy flakes. The temperatures swooped down into the teens and the wind kicked up, pushing the chill to a couple of degrees above zero. But, being true Wyomingites, such whether wasn’t a deterrent. At promptly one this afternoon, all fifty-one of our participants arrived, bundled to the max and ready to go.
My team of six skiers ranges in age from five to ten and despite the frigid afternoon, they were raring to go. There is nothing quite like a gaggle of kids on skis crashing into each other down the trail, so excited they can barely stay upright and so enthusiastic that no speed seems fast enough. They just want to go, go, go! So, in an effort to meet their hopes and to stay warm, we headed down the trail, not pausing for games.
Snow blanketed the tree branches, casting a sparkle over the forest. Laughter and cheering filled the air as the teams of skiers spread out. Our team is on the beginner side of the scale, so our venture was a bit on the meandering side of fast. We skied along, practicing our awesome falling down and getting up skills, our snow plows and using our creativity to invent all manner of new ski techniques. Then, as we were starting the last leg of our journey before turning back, a gust of wind whipped through the trees, blowing clouds of snow over us. And that was it, the distraction was on.
It became a challenge to see who could find the best tree with the most snow, whack it with a ski pole and get the most covered in the cold mist of flakes. The boys in particular thought this was the greatest game and the girls seemed to take great pleasure in helping out with the whacking of snow onto their heads. The worrier in me was saying, Oh, this is so not a good idea! We’re still two miles out! But, the skier in me just had to laugh. There is nothing better than throwing yourself, quite literally, into the wonder of snow, embracing the way it melts on your face and the feel of its cold prickle against your skin. Part of enjoying winter, enjoying skiing is being one with the snow, as my team discovered today.
As a coach, I was thrilled at their happiness. And, as a non-parent still very much so wary of melt-downs, I was thankful, oh so thankful, that we didn’t have to learn a hard lesson in consequences. As much fun as playing in the snow can be, nothing ruins that quite so fast as your fingers and toes turning blue.