my religion is going downhill

My Religion is Going Downhill

My first pair of skis were a gift from my Father.

And when I say gift, I don’t mean he went to a shop and bought me a pair of skis. He made them. By hand. Carved, he says, from an old shipping palette.

Back then (I was 3) they didn’t actually make skis my size, and being an enthusiast, as well as a National Ski Patrolman it was important to my Father to be able to share this passion with his only Son. So he made me some. Shaping and sanding, carefully matching the pair, sacrificing an old leather jacket to make the bindings, and soaping the bottoms so they’d slide smooth and fast.

I don’t remember him actually giving them to me, but I do remember endless trips down – and up – our half-mile long, downhill driveway. And loving it. Hooked from my first run.

Skiing is still my Father’s passion – and mine. In fact, the snow is the one place where I’m guaranteed to find joy. It’s not uncommon for me to catch myself giggling all the way down the steeps, or hooting my way through the trees. Unless of course, there’s not enough snow to fully cover the rocks. Then there may be a few groans in the mix.

I still have those skis. I look at them now as a symbol of a lifetime of thrills, adventure and good times on the slopes. They just might be the greatest gift I ever received.

Of course, now I mostly snowboard, but that’s another story.

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