Like my father, I’ve been subject to enthusiasms. Playing tournament chess, which he didn’t do. Photography, which he did, along with other pastimes.
I was introduced to downhill skiing while I was a University of North Dakota student. A classmate (call her “Violet”) invited me to ski with her at the Huff Hills near Mandan, N.D. I overnighted at her parents’ house — they were a tad dubious about me — and we managed to snowplow down the runs a few times.
Turned out I liked skiing.
Soon thereafter, a high school and college friend, George Palms, and I drove to Terry Peak in South Dakota, where we snowplowed those higher elevations.
Eventually, I bought skis and, as the years went by, used them on hills near Bottineau and Walhalla, N.D., and Bemidji, Minn.
I was already in my 40s when I first heard of Big Sky, Mont. I began to rent a condo for a week or so and for several years went there in the spring to breathe mountain air, write my office annual report and visit nearby Yellowstone Park. Sometimes my daughter, Kristi, joined me.
After I hooked up with Dorette Kerian, skiing became an annual part of my life, at Big Ski and other resorts in the U.S. and Canada. After a few lessons, my breakthrough to parallel skiing occurred at Alta in Utah.
Last March, I joined Dorette and her family for a few days at Breckenridge, Colo. In January, we’ll gather at, you guessed it, Big Sky.
I used to say I could handle any groomed blue run in North America, but I suspect I’ll be limiting myself to the greens. Or perhaps to sipping cognac on the deck.
I took the above picture of Lone Peak and its ski runs in June 2015. Winter sports had given way to mountain biking and hiking, but there still was some snow on the mountain.