The Morning on Skis 

The final day in Mammoth Lakes was planned to be a doozy. Something I questioned the ability to make into reality. The logistics of the day made sense. But, my ability to execute all activities planned, was another question. The stories of this possibility have lived for years. Stories of the process being done time and again having been told. The objective was to ski in the morning and play golf in the afternoon. Which, seems like a pretty incredible way of spending a Sunday. On the surface, it looks great and doable for someone typically developed. The problem lied in how a body challenged by cerebral palsy, would pull off the feat? When the plan to ski, and play golf in the same day, became a real part of the trip, I started plotting in my mind. Asking myself, how I could get around participating in both activities? There was literally no way of understanding how my body would feel on Sunday. After skiing much of the day Saturday, I wondered if I would even have the strength to ski well the following day. Let alone, play golf Sunday afternoon, following some skiing during the morning hours of Sunday. However, the stories rang in my ears and it was time for my attempt at the challenge. If things got too tiring, I had settled on the plan of watching the round of golf from the cart. Sunday morning arrived and away we went. 

The first box to check was spending time on the slopes. Sunday began with me feeling better than I thought was possible, following Saturday. The previous day had been spent on the slopes. Exploring much of what the Mammoth resort had to offer. Because the chairlift rides were longer than my home resort and the ski runs were longer, as well. More time was spent skiing on the first day. So, I was pleasantly surprised by the way my body was feeling when arriving at the resort. The morning of skiing was designed to be short lived, with the first running taking place on the beginner slope. One of the unique things about loading chair 11 that morning, was something noticed in the line ahead. I looked forward to see skiers wearing yellow bibs over their ski attire. These bright colored bibs indicated, they were skiing in a group of skiers with disabilities. The sight of them filled me up on the inside. Being a person who skis with the disability of cerebral palsy, watching them load the chair provided me inspiration. At times, it feels like we all represent one another, along with the possibilities of achievement with a disability. The boast of inspiration was taken with me, as I easily made my way down the warming run, to start the day.  Surprised by the strength remaining in my body, there didn’t seem a need for another warm-up run. On to chair 1 was the move. 

Riding chair 1 up the mountain, for the second morning, brought on the same breathtaking sights. As the chairlift climbed up the mid-mountain face, it crested, and revealed the huge resort. Like the splendor of seeing it for the first time, I couldn’t get enough of watching the different chairlift wander in opposing directions. As the variety of snow covered paths connected everything in ideal harmony. At the end of the chairlift’s runout, I took a moment to breath in the view. Knowing it would probably be my final time of standing on that spot, before heading home the following day. I was also left contemplating the courage inside my emotions. Could I find my way onto the gondola, leading to the top of the Mammoth resort? The courage to take that scary leap would provide the ability to ski the long cat track, spanning the mountain, from top to bottom. While, departing from that majestic view of the mountain, and skiing down toward the mid-mountain station of the gondola. My courage to take the ride up towards the top was realized. I didn’t want to come all that distance, to Mammoth, and not ride the gondola. Regret would have surely followed me into the golfing portion of the single day adventure. After arriving at the mid-mountain station for the gondola. I didn’t give myself the time of considering another option. My skis were clicked off, placed together for carrying, and into the station I proceeded. The line was longer than expected, but the decision had already been made to load. 

The top of Mammoth resort was nothing short of spectacular. I know it was the highest point on earth I have stood. Making it even better was being with meaningful people on an amazingly beautiful day. The sky was clear blue with the warmth of a spring sunshine. After spending some time taking in the atmosphere, the adventure had to continue, as time was evaporating. An intermediate level cat track would lead the way back down the mountain. Winding along the back side of the resort, providing incredible view, spreading out for miles. The edges of the cat track were pretty startling with drop-offs that appeared to be best avoided. Making concentration paramount, as I wedged my way down the beginning section. At one point in the journey, I spent too much time enjoying the view, and almost wondered off in a costly direction, where there might not have been an easy way out. But, I corrected course just in time, and found my way back onto the desired path. The cat track ran under a couple chairlifts, hidden from view of the front side of the resort. The sloped looked steep on that area of the resort. However, it appeared quiet back there, as compared to the main area of the mountain. Which, provided an appealing place to ski, if I had the adequate skill level. A corner was turned about 3/4th of the way down and the slope leveled onto a beginner run. The mountain views disappeared behind small peaks. Moments later, the base area came into view. 

When my skis were clicked off, the skiing part of the day was finished. Two runs were skied during Sunday morning, under ideal conditions. Walking down the snow-covered hill in the direction of the parking lot. My first experience at the Mammoth resort had come to its conclusion. There was a comfortable feel of satisfaction over the event of the past two days. I had sustained the energy to ski for Saturday and Sunday. Not allowing for cerebral palsy to have much dictation over my ability to ski for the length of time. The work put in to improve my ability on skis had been successful. Even skiing a diamond run during the first day of the experience. Much of the mountain was able to be seen because of the preparation that was done before the trip. Even working on healing my negative habits played a role in the positive outcome. The healing helping to reduce my anxiety and enable me to ride the gondola. Which, had often been a challenge too scary for consideration. The portion of the trip spent on skis had been exciting. Having the opportunity to ski a renowned resort was something to cherish. However, as the skis were loaded into the car for the final time of the ski season. The challenge of the day was just half over. 

From the base area parking lot of the Mammoth resort. It was back to the hotel for a change of clothes and equipment. The afternoon challenge would contain playing eighteen holes of golf in Bishop. Bishop country club was about a forty-five-minute drive down the mountain. An interesting aspect of driving down to the town of Bishop would be the change in temperature. Spending the morning skiing in temps of the upper thirties to lower forties. The golf would be played under sunny skies and eighty-degree warmth. I was amazed at the prospect of finding that kind of heat within a seemingly short distance. Heading from the resort to the hotel, my energy level felt better than expected. There wasn’t time for grabbing something to eat before leaving town. So, the change of clothing was made, with skis and poles being switched out for golf clubs. The car was packed with the gear for the afternoon stage of the adventure. I was planning on playing the round of golf when arriving in Bishop. A little food when getting to the golf course would help the energy level. I also felt like the warmth would keep my muscles loose and flowing more easily. The rising in temperature could be felt along the forty-five-minute drive. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s