Several years ago we were on a family ski trip at The Fairmont in Montreal (yes, I skied the exact TINY slope on which Miranda Richardson fell, hit her head and later died – it’s the bottom of a green/easy/beginner trail that takes you the “ski-in, ski-out” facelift Fairmont. The slope angle is minute. HOWEVER!! The trail is thin ice over rock hard (like granite) stone. Just under the surface. No cushion and a sharp curve despite the mild slope makes it extremely easy to fall).
I only ski green, easy trails. I can ski intermediate. I don’t want to. I’m manic and always coiled like wire. I enjoy the mellow ride down. My sons are double-diamond, mogul jumping, back bowl riding, between tree zipping (damn I tell them please I beg you not to do that). So I ski alone and I don’t mind. Peaceful.
At one point Alex decided i needed company. “Mom, there’s a green trail at the top of the mountain that goes all the way down, let’s do it”. We go up. Oh. Really up. Way up. Very different. White out. We get off lift. White out.
Now we make our error. We can’t see. Damn. Green is on left, diamond on the right. But we’re up VERY high!! It complete white out. Neither of us can see. No one can see. The only help are the googles to keep the flakes out of our eyes. We pop off lift, ski toward trails. And down the wrong trail we go.
We don’t go very far before I REALIZE this is WRONG!!! I cannot ski! Steep steep steep, ice, ice , ice. Yes, many diamond trails have ice, and I cannot ski on ice. Just hearing my skis on ice sends a message to my brain “you cannot do this”. AND I cannot see! I cannot see my son or even my own hand – it is pure whiteout. There is no one else on this trail but my 16 year old son Alex, who I cannot see, and me.
I cannot do this. I’m frightened to death. I cannot see or ski … what if I ski over the edge? I decide to sit. I don’t know what to do.
And then I hear my 16 year old son … “Mom?, Mom!!!” I call out back. Alex is further down the hill. Alex is an expert, double diamond, mogul jumping, tree weaving ski wiz. I call to him. Alex tells me to stay where I am, and he will climb back UPHILL on ice with his skis on parallel walking to get to me. And he did.
Alex picked me up. “Mom, there’s a lift around that bend down there, I’ll hold you up and take you to it. We will take the lift down. I won’t leave you Mom.”
I am overwhelmed. Alex the youngest of my three sons. Alex doesn’t like mom kisses, if I touch his food, too much snuggling .. he keeps to himself. This is a side of Alex I have not seen. I am touched beyond measure.
It takes us an hour due to the steep incline to parallel side step up to the lift around the bend. Alex never let me go. He continually asked me if I needed a break to rest; I did not.
We made it to the lift. We rode the lift down together. Alex said he wanted to continue to ski as long as I was ok. Bless his soul.
This is forever one of the most heartfelt moments between mother and son I have had. I am so blessed.