Friday, January 6, 2012

Cross Country Skiing, then and now

Yesterday Ted and I went to Tony Betz (I know that’s not the real name, but this is what the Japanese words sound like) Forest to cross country ski.

The forest is not far from our house and the roads are so snow covered that we could ski from our apartment.  The snow in the Forest was deep and powdery after the big snow the day before. This had me thinking about a winter years ago.

In December of my junior year of college, I went to Wyoming for a three week ski packing course with the Wilderness Education Association (WEA).  Three weeks in the Tetons with 10 other people, each with 60 pound packs.  I loved it and decided to stay there after the course and not return to school for spring semester. My parents were concerned I would never return to complete my college degree. I did.  I returned to the Midwest in the spring and to college classes in the fall, graduating a year later.

While I was out west, I stayed at a rustic lodge, sleeping in a sleeping bag in a room full of bunk beds and other people.  All I had with me was what fit in a backpack under a bed and my skis. I skied in Teton Canyon nearly every day, mostly by myself, for a couple of months. I turned 20 that winter and had my whole life ahead.  I was more of a risk taker then and had a lot less baggage. Life was simple then.

Back to the present and Tony Betz Forest ---Someone had skied ahead of us and made tracks, but other than that, it was like we were in the wild, alone. 

It was a beautiful day, crisp and cold. The trees were full of snow and from time to time a big pile would plop to the ground.

I fell twice – the first time I wasn’t even skiing.  I stopped at the top of a little hill and with my skis still pointed forward and turned around to take pictures of Ted coming toward me.

This was not when I fell, but this was how I was positioned.

Somehow, I lost my balance and fell deep in the powder, with my skis and poles twisted under me (and my gloves in my pocket so I could take the pictures) and couldn’t get up.  Ted helped me get back right side up.

How fortunate I am to be in Hokkaido this winter.

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