“What’s the best day of skiing you’ve ever had?” It’s a question that skiers of all ages are often asked, and a tough one to answer. Anyone who has buckled up boots and clicked into bindings more likely than not has a bottomless well of memories, which is one of the many things that makes skiing the best sport in the world. It inspires us to create them by embracing the outdoors, basking in awe at the beauty and power of the mountains, travelling distances great and small, forming new friendships, and strengthening family bonds.
For most, the best day of skiing is replaced every year by the deepest pow day of that season. For some, it’s a trip to a distant destination where they discover new places and faces. And for others, it’s the triumph of pushing their limits to ski down a challenging run or peak, drop a big cliff, or stomp a new trick.
But for all the powder I’ve skied and places I’ve been, the best day of skiing I’ve ever had happened last winter, in the most unassuming way.
“Let’s do the tree run, Uncle Jeff,” my four-year-old niece said. “Where’s that?” I replied. “Follow me.”
After helping my niece learn to ski over the years each time I returned to Red Mountain Resort in Rossland, British Columbia, for a visit, she had quickly worked up the courage and skill set to begin riding the chair, a mere two months after she was holding on to me for dear life on the magic carpet. I marvelled in a mix of confusion and shock as she cheekily snuck ahead of me to lead the way into a series of snake runs through the trees, peppered with jumps and berms that serve as mountain bike features in the summer. I filled with wonder and pride as I watched her happily bounce off the jumps and high-mark the berms, all while performing a high-speed pizza and aggressive pole plants in an effort to go faster as she giggled.
While lapping the same run for hours on end, I began asking myself if the best memories I’d made on skis were being replaced by this one. Upon return to the base, my question was answered with a squeal. “That was the best day of skiing ever, Uncle Jeff!”—JEFF SCHMUCK