By Shelby Cain
Lately it seems my girls have been hitting a lot of milestones. First sleepover. First attempt at sarcasm. This weekend we had another one. First time our family went up on the chairlift together. This was big. My husband and I have been skiing for a long time and we always envisioned the day we’d be heading up the mountain with our kids. As childless people, it seemed so straightforward when you watch families doing it. Then you have your own kids. And you take your two and three-year olds skiing on the Mighty Moose together. That night, as you lay lifeless on the couch icing your back and drinking a beer to recover from your post-traumatic stress, it doesn’t seem so easy. In fact, it seems impossible. You may consider never skiing again. But time marches on, and before you know it a fun family ski day is back in the realm of possibility.
Now that the girls are four and five, the Mighty Moose is getting boring. The Elk Chair beckoned. If you are unfamiliar with the Elk Chair, it’s the lift that goes right above the beautiful log houses that stretch up the hill. Normally when I get on the chairlift with other adults, I spend the time chatting and resting and sometimes shivering. Not this time. This time I got to experience the lift with my kid-goggles on. What a ride! Everything was exciting. The way it scooped us up and swung us into the air. The way we soared above the roofs and people down below. Four squealed with delight. “Mommy, where do we land?” Five, having ridden the lift before with her ski class, was the wily veteran. Pointing out landmarks and preparing Four for the best part of the Elk Chair. The underwear tree. Yes, for many years now there has been a tree under the chair that seems to collect underwear. How does it get there? Who knows. I suspect the Griz has something to do with it. Whatever their source, the mysterious, brightly coloured undergarments hang from the branches and scream for attention. To be honest, I don’t even notice them anymore. But once my kid-goggles were applied, that tree was absurdly remarkable. Five tried to explain to Four what she was about to see, but I’m not sure she really got it. Was the tree actually wearing the underwear? She hung on the edge of her seat in anticipation, giving me a heart attack. Finally the bright-pink unmentionables came into view. Five pointed. Four stared. And then the torrent of questions began. “Mommy, why would someone take off their boo-boo cover and throw it onto a tree? How do you get your unders off when you have on your snowsuit? Why?” All very valid questions. Anyone?