No one has taught me more about skiing than my father—about the sensation of the cold on your face, how the soft snow stays longer on the sides of the run, and how the world goes spinning away beneath your feet as you start down the mountain, faster and faster until it feels as if you are walking on air.
But I find new sources of snowsports inspiration every day. On Facebook, whenever PSIA Alpine Team members Michael Rogan or Robin Barnes post another stunning photo from Portillo. On TV, whenever someone like snowboarding legend Shaun White wins his fifth straight ESPY for Best Male Action Sports athlete (beating out the likes of surf star Kelly Slater). Or on e-mail, whenever I hear about some new alpine adventure, deep powder clinic, or emerging hot spot destined to help me take my turns to greater heights than ever before.
And sometimes I wonder if all of those people know how much they inspire me. If only because there are so many people I never thanked enough for sharing their enthusiasm for skiing and snowboarding already—like all those early instructors I idolized as a kid in lessons at Copper, Winter Park, Keystone and Vail; those pioneering riders who showed me around Berthoud and Loveland Pass; old Jackson Hole teachers and friends such as Theo Meiners, John Lohn and Tom Turiano who helped me become a better teacher, too; and all the pros like Bill Lash, Ellen Post Foster, Craig Panarisi and Bud Keene, who have shared insights about the sport that I’ll remember as long as there is snow.
It’s the beauty of instruction, that there’s really no telling just how far each little piece of inspiration, or pearl of wisdom, can go. Personally, I like to think of a kid I used to teach from Texas, Ronnie, who would come back and remember all the new names we gave each run, and a good bit of the conversations we shared from year to year. I love to think that right now he’s still skiing each season, and that even if he’s still living in Texas, that his annual ski trip is the best part of his winter.
I love to think about how much fun it was to watch him get as excited about skiing as I do. For everyone who continues to inspire my passion for snowsports—especially you, Dad—passing that passion along seems to be the best way possible to say, “Thanks.”
Thank you all.
(If there’s anyone you’d like to give a shout out of ‘Thanks’ too, feel free to post a note on the PSIA-AASI Facebook page and let them know.
- Peter Kray
Photo of Bud Keene by Dann Coffey