He was wearing a yarn hat that was shaped like a horse.
I would have been very interested in that hat were I not using every muscle in my then-tiny body to stay upright. Yet, when I inevitably failed at that and my bizarrely elongated feet slid out from under me, those beady, button horse eyes became less and less trustworthy. Especially when their owner zipped away from holding me up by the back of my cumbersome purple snow pants and started shouting “Pizza!” and “French fries!” at me from all the way across the bunny hill. I made involuntary snow angels all the way to the bottom.
That was the last time I remember skiing.
This past Tuesday, the beginner slopes at Bristol Mountain in Canandaigua were alive with something other than the sounds of screaming youngsters and newbies. As the only hill with enough homemade snow on it to be open, adults and avid skiers were carving down Sunset Slope in their complete gear.
Anyone who has been around the Finger Lakes during a typical winter can reply to questions about the conditions with two words: lake effect. Early school days consisted of me bitterly trudging through two feet of snow to get to my bus stop; it took a lot more than backwards pajamas to close those doors. Administration clearly did not care about the pressing importance of snow forts and sleds, which is where the true winter fun happened for me.
For those who enjoy snow and nipped noses, the region can truly become a winter wonderland. Over the holidays, I contemplated the pure span of the season. I’d trick-or-treated through snow, as well as tip-toed around icy sidewalks in my Easter Sunday shoes.
However, I was contemplating these things on December 29th whilst standing outside wearing one light layer of clothing. I was surrounded by green grass and chirping birds. No, really. Birds. Poor guys were probably just as confused as the rest of us. Now, I’m not sure how much stock I plan to put in on a global-warming apocalypse, though the very mild winter this year is definitely unsettling… it is just plain weird. Yet, half the people I talk to are just thrilled that they don’t have to scrape ice from their windshields.
When I saw those skiers at Bristol, I was suddenly reminded of all the youthful, winter fun there is to be had. I might be old enough to drink mulled wine in the lodge instead of relive my skiing trauma, but even I have to admit that there is not much better than hot chocolate after playing out in the snow so much that you manage to sweat behind your scarf. Even just one good snowball at the family member that has been driving you nuts since August does wonders for the holiday spirit. We don’t necessarily need the White Christmas that everyone sings about, but hopefully a nice dose of winter over the holidays will be in store for us next year.
By Halie Solea