Confessions of a Non-skier in a Ski Town . . .

Sorry, But I Don’t Ski.

I live in a mountain town called Bend. In the winter, snow blankets our streets and turns our Cascade Mountains into majestic photo opportunities. People flock to our town to enjoy the slopes of Mount Bachelor or the wilderness backcountry terrain. At night, conversations center on the day’s escapades or the promise of tomorrow’s adventures.

The only problem is, I don’t ski.

It’s not like I’m avoiding the ski culture exclusively. I simply prefer not to partake in anything requiring specific clothing, secret handshakes, recited chants, certain postures, or a singular meeting place. I know I should be more reverent. Skiing—and a good ski season—is an important part of our local economy. I get it!

I’ve skied in the past, but even then, I was a bit of a rebel. In eighth grade, jeans and a sweatshirt suited the outing just fine. Whatever rental Nordic skis they threw my way were perfect with me. When you don’t know the difference, you can be happy with anything!

Since I’m a Bendite, however, people do try to include me in their conversations.

But, when I am asked, “What kind of bindings do you have?”

I respond, “It’s complicated. I’m bound by the responsibility to raise my child to be a good and respectful citizen. I feel bound to do the right thing mostly—like help little old ladies across the street and stuff.

They clarify, “No. For your skis? Tyrolia? You gonna get the M.A.X., the full season, the 12-day, the mid-week Winter, the 4-pack or just the Nordic?”

Huh?

I’ve taken to just smiling and saying “fer sure” now and then. I learned that from my former distinction, “non-surfer in a surf town,” while growing up.

Let’s be specific about the issues.

  1. The preparation is just too much. I’ll take the “lace up your shoes” or “throw on your sandals” kind of outdoor experiences. Luckily, we have those here, too—and in abundance.
  2. It’s not the expense (it’s the expense). I could pass on the 22 lattes each week that equate to a season pass, new gear, and the like. But, then where would I get my caffeine?
  3. My garage isn’t big enough. Seriously. Where do you put all that gear?! God forbid you decide to do both alpine and Nordic, especially if there’s more than one person living in your house.

I want to assure you, however, I’ve been a good Bend parent. My son has had ski lessons and snowboard lessons. The exposure has been accomplished. He can make his own decisions as an adult. He decided not to ski. I love him.

You die-hard skiers out there, I—and our economy—appreciate you. I even envy your passion a little. It’s a picturesque and idyllic scene, complete with shushing and après-ski activities. Yet, I’ll stick to my old jeans, some snow shoes and a path less traveled.