I never had any interest in skiing as a child. In fact, I never had any interest in skiing as an adult either. Even after Shamus started skiing at Double H ranch just before his 6th birthday, I was content watching him from the base of the hill, seeing his beaming smile leading the way as he zoomed down the hill. Running was our thing together. He loved going down hill fast in his running chair too, but slipping down the slopes elevated his smile to a whole new level. The cold never bothered him. He was often the last one out on the hill as the other kids were content sitting by the fire in the lodge drinking their hot cocoa. Shamus can never wait for ski season to come back around!
I always thought it was good for him to have something with out me right by his side, and he loved every minute of the chair lift rides with his ski instructors as he told them about school, the movies he had seen, what he and his brother were building out of legos, etc. And for skiing, I was content being on the sideline cheering for him. Until about 5 years ago when Double H invited us all to a family ski weekend they were hosting. Shay really wanted all of us to be side by side on the hill at Double H. Although I wasn’t particularly a fan of skiing, we all agreed. Simon Snowboarded. I took my first ski lessons from some Double H instructors and we had a great day. We repeated the same thing for the next couple of years until the pandemic sidelined all skiing at Double H for a while. I figured my skiing days were over as we were informed that although skiing would return, there would be no family skiing this year…and I was completely okay with that.
Then Shamus asked if I would ski with him…and he didn’t mean by his side like we had done I years past, he meant WITH him…he and I together, me helping to control his bi-ski as he zipped down the hill. I wasn’t sure I would be able to do it. I had been on skis maybe 3 times in my entire life, all on the “bunny” sized slope at Double H. I couldn’t imagine doing any more than that (and wasn’t interested in it either). But what can I say? Shay is persuasive and often believes in my abilities more than I believe in myself.
I reluctantly found myself at Gore Mountain, once again with ski instructor from Double H, not only teaching me to ski from the most novice level (yes 4-year-olds could ski circles around me). But also teaching me to ski while controlling a bi-ski (the sled like device that Shamus sits in while he whooshes through the snow. The instructors had confidence in me and I persisted figuring I would maybe be able to ski with Shamus in a few years of practice. Shamus and the instructors had other plans. They advanced me quickly through the basics of skiing, progressed me through bi-ski “101”, let me train with a weighted bi-ski, gave me extensive practice not only skiing but also loading and unloading the chair lift with a wooden “crash test dummy” in a bi-ski, and after a month of several intensive lessons, Shamus and I skied together for the first time ever. I was the lucky one to be seated by his side as he told me stories (and gave me some skiing advice) on the chair lift. We did 3 total runs together and it is a day I will never forget. I am so grateful for his nudge and the nudge of the ski instructors who wanted to make Shay’s goal of skiing with dad a reality.
Shamus has constantly taken our family down paths we never even imagined. I am thankful that he has persisted and helped me to keep an open mind to trying so many new things. I encourage you all to take a step outside of your comfort zones, to learn something new as well. The rewards and memories created by new experiences and skills new are truly immeasurable…especially when practiced TOGETHER