Really. I have to work very hard at relaxing. It's not what comes naturally. Which is GOOD considering the schedule I've survived this winter.
It is fun but not easy being a ski racer mom. Instead of sitting comfortably in a lawn chair, you stand on the side of a race course, sometimes in very cold blustery weather, waiting waiting . . . waiting. This picture is slalom, which is Sophie's least favorite event. Midway through the season, she developed Osgood-Schlatter disease, a growth-related condition (she grew nearly an inch in the month of March alone) that causes her a lot of knee pain, and cranking around the tight curves in slalom was hard for her. GS was her favorite, and she was able to get in more of a tuck and really let it rip. Watching her drop right into a tuck out of the starting gate always put a lump in my throat because I knew she did it with a lot of pain. We tell her to do what she feels she can and remind her that she will outgrow this in a year or so. In the meantime, it was liquid ibuprofen every morning before she headed out. I'll probably keep a bottle in my car's glove compartment for the next few years.
Around the busy race season schedule, we took full advantage of our Squaw season passes. We are now official Squaw junkies, which does not come without its price. Everywhere else we skied during the season, including Mammoth, left me thinking "Well, it's good, . . . but it's not Squaw." Squaw is the best: a beautiful valley and mountains (Mammoth looks sort of like an elevated golf course, don't you think?), with terrain that keeps everyone in my family engaged and challenged.
After a horrible accident last year at Alta, followed by nearly half a year of no weight on his leg and a zillion or so hours of physical therapy, my dad rejoined us on the slopes. I knew he would be back. Hats off also to my mom, who in spite of having to nurse him through his long injury and not skiing herself, totally supported him getting right back out there. Thanks, Mom.
It was great to have three generations of us out on the snow!
We celebrated the end of race season and Sophie's spring break with a trip to Mammoth. It worked out really well: My dad brought some brownies my mom made, a Honeybaked Ham, and a one-bedroom condominium, borrowed from a friend of my mom's. I brought my family of three, the neighbor kid, and three guys. Cozy!
Fortunately, everyone played well together and adhered to the same eat-ski-sleep schedule.
And soak! After skiing most days, we headed out to the wild hot springs in the Owens Valley.
Hot Creek has been closed for four years following a geothermal burp that cooked several soakers. We took our chances and hiked in about a mile past the road gate and were rewarded with a perfectly soakable spring, as long as you didn't mind swimming through a very cool river to get to the warm water on the far side. Swimming back to get out was harder.
Crowley's is always nice, and we even had it to ourselves for a little while.
My wintertime favorite is Travertine, which we stop at on the way home. Clean water, a mud bottom (see picture above), great rock formations, and that amazing eastern Sierra view. Could it get any better??
The snow? There was snow . . . and ice and slush, and no wind, which was sort of amazing given the time of year.
It was great, . . . but it wasn't Squaw.
We were happy to finish out the season last weekend back at our home mountain. By the last day, conditions were falling apart, but I skied some of KT that I hadn't done all year, and in the morning we caught a ride on Squaw's springtime secret stash, Smoothie. Fun! There's more snow headed for the Sierras, but we have school events and a violin concert and so probably won't be back to ski this year. As usual, I was a little teary on my last run. It was my best season ever (39 days!!). We've reloaded our season passes for next year (prices go way up May 9!), and we'll be putting the skis in storage wax. Now we just have to figure out what to do with ourselves for the next seven months.