It was an adventure. There was a day recently when we lost a ski while I was teaching my ski week class. Half the class, who were from ski clubs, was not there because they think that ski weeks are vacations and had gone to town. I encourage students to get to know our town and its amazing culture. (Some instructors frown upon anyone missing lessons. Me, I take fun seriously).
With only three people in tow, and on a great powder morning, we were on our way to somewhere else when I suddenly spotted the rope dropped on the just-opened entrance to Sir Arnold Lunn. This is a rare occurrence. As a matter of fact, Rebecca, who had taken thirty ski weeks already, had never skied it. One of her goals was to ski something new. And here it was with only two sets of tracks.
I knew that Sandy, the overachiever New Yorker, was good for it. I always had to keep a leash on her—she was crazy greedy for skiing more and more of everything. And then there was Gregory, that tall, athletic Polish doctor from Texas who had been coming here for years.
Sir Arnold Lunn is admittedly a bit of a junk run. There’s “stuff” in there. Before you know it, Gregory took a spill in the powder, and suddenly from below, I saw his ski shoot down the hill. I kept an eagle eye on it, racing after it as it shot right past me. I dug it out from a clump of trees, and he was able to get it back. He said he owed me lunch at the St. Bernard, which of course, I was not about to turn down.
I love my job, and it’s, of course, not just the skiing. Part of the adventure is the stories. Over one of those decadent St. Bernard lunches, with our beautiful perfect white/blue ski world just outside our table, he and his wife and I talked about 1981. It was the year they left Warsaw. I was there, too, as a tourist and remembered the hardship and people fleeing. I remember Lech Walensa and a lot of Polish courage. The lack of food and security. Staying in someone’s house so they could make a little Western cash while they gave us a room and slept in the kitchen. Someone handed me a Solidarity button on a park bench. It was a strange sort of adventure to decide to go to Warsaw in 1981. Or to leave one’s home forever, in their case.
Had the three of us crossed paths, then, on some gray city street only to finally meet up here during one of our ski weeks at Taos Ski Valley? People who come here bring their histories, their stories, making the world at Taos Ski Valley feel a part of a much larger life, for me for sure. And I hope for them.
I have the best in the best job in the world.