Once per year.
That’s how many times B and I get away, just the two of us. For the last two years, our “once a year” trip has been a ski trip with B’s co-workers. Last year we went to Whitefish, Montana and as I left I remember thinking, ‘there’s no way we’ll ever top this trip.’
But we did.
This year we headed to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It’s an old town with a wild-west feel. In fact, many spaghetti westerns have been filmed in or near Jackson Hole, including the one that Quentin Tarantino is filming right now with Leo Decaprio and Jamie Foxx. (Sadly, we didn’t bump into them.)
The real star of this trip was the backdrop of the Grand Tetons. Just sitting at the bottom of the mountain, I knew I could spend a lifetime getting used to the view.
Riding the gondola, I got a sense that I was entering another universe entirely.
At the summit, the majesty of the mountains produces an eery hush. Or maybe it’s just because, at 10,000+ feet above sea level, no one can breathe well enough to make much noise.
Skiing is kind of like my church. It’s a quiet, individual activity with lots of time for reflection; in that way it’s a lot like meditation, actually.
When I’m skiing I feel very, very small and wonderfully free. Despite many attempts, I’ve never found another way to recreate this reverent, liberated independence. I did, however, try to capture a moment of it on film. (Pardon the narration…I was completely awe-struck.)
If you can’t see this video, click here.
I skied as much of Jackson Hole as I could in the 2 days we were there.
Everything seemed better in Wyoming; the skies were bluer, the air crisper. Drinking the tap water felt like sipping right from a babbling mountain brook. And the Wyoming people! I spent the first 24 hours completely paranoid that I was being stared at by everyone. It took me that long to realize that I wasn’t being stared at, I was being seen. I’m so used to people looking at me or through me, I’d almost forgotten what it felt like to have an interaction with a stranger who is really trying to see me.
Were it not for the gravitational pull of my girls bringing me home, I’d have been tempted to stay forever.
The Grand Tetons stole a little piece of my heart and Jackson Hole has earned its spot as one of my favorite destinations on Earth. I can’t wait to take the kids back there someday; what a magical moment it will be to watch them stare up, way up, at those mountains in awe.
Until then, I’m holding on to the sensation of fresh snow landing on my cheeks, the sound of my skis shushing down the mountain, and the stillness that comes from being in the presence of Mother Nature’s dazzling creation.
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