I'm Ready Already.

This winter, like the two that preceded it, has been less than awesome.
 
So far it's been better than last year, which was more like an extended October, but I'm still not getting excited about what I've seen so far. Each short period of cold and snow has been followed by warm temperatures and rain, leaving thin coverage and ice. The brown piles of snow alongside the roads most common in April are out in force.
 
Conditions that would have been viewed by regular winter recreationalists as dismal only a few years ago are now regularly described glowingly as "really good" and "epic" on Facebook. By "really good", I think they mean "I only fell 40 times on the ice rink that we call a trail" or "my ski bases have an extremely aggressive structure thanks to all of the rocks I've run over". There has been a shift in what is perceived as "good" and "bad", probably influenced by all of the people who spent thousands of dollars on equipment and are looking for any excuse to use it. Beats sitting on the couch.
 
Yeah, it's hard to get excited by looking out the window.
 
That said, the youngest is about ready to ski, and that I am excited about.
 
My first attempt at putting him in ski boots ended with a lot of crying and screaming, so I backed off and have been waiting for the right moment. Last night we stopped in a used sporting goods store and perused the overpriced and thoroughly trashed selection of youth skis. He showed enthusiasm, so when we got home I ordered him a pair off of eBay. His mother proclaimed them "cute", which is as close to a glowing endorsement as I'm going to get from her, a non-skier.
 
When the skis arrive, I'll probably collect all of the remaining snow in the front yard and groom a short track for him to glide down a few times. When the time is right and the weather cooperates, we'll go down to Alyeska for a couple runs on the magic carpet. A day here, a day there... Hot chocolate and playing in the snow.
 
At this point it's all about keeping the experience positive- for him. For me, it will be a long and frustrating time, with long drives to the hill to make a handful of slow runs before his patience wears thin and we run right up to the edge of a significant meltdown. Each time we'll go a little longer. One day he'll ask to go skiing, and all of the effort will be worth it. 
 
That's the big payoff. Actually, that's the only payoff, because I'm just setting myself up for years of expensive equipment, ski passes, and Mighty Mite coaching commitments. That is, until Al Gore takes all of the snow away. Then we'll go ride bikes.
 
Finding something to be enthusiastic about in uninspiring conditions is always better than moping around the house, complaining about something you have no control over.
 
Just roll with it and look on the bright side of the dingy snow pile.

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