I spent the day skiing on the mountains of Northstar-at-Tahoe yesterday. I was happy, very happy. It was a gorgeous day – warm, crystal clear blue skies and bright sunshine. Since it was mid-week, the mountain was empty. No lines for the lifts, meaning less time waiting and more time skiing.
This was my first time skiing since knee surgery. I was nervous but once I got off the lift, everything clicked and muscle memory took over. The first turn onto the trail was like holding my breathe and plunging into a deep pool of water – stomach knotted up, anxious and excited at the same time. Then, the speed set in, followed closely by a big smile.
I forgot how much I love skiing and being on the mountain – the quiet and solitude and pure beauty. I’ve been skiing for over 30 years and I know that it’s something that I want to continue to do.
I know that that means I need to make some adjustments to how I ski and what I can do. It means no more moguls and probably not more telemark skiing for me and my poor knees. It means backing off when I feel my legs and knees start to get tired; I know that’s when I’m more prone to injury.
It means that on my first day back on the mountain after more than a year, I skied very conservatively and stuck to mostly blue trails (with a few black diamonds here and there). It means that I called it a day in the early afternoon rather than trying to catch the last ride on the chair lift at the farthest part of the mountain in order to have the longest last run possible.
It means that I ski with a big old knee brace although there are some benefits to the knee brace like the gondola attendants coming out to meet me and carry my skis for me. hee hee.
But I’m willing to make those trade-offs if it means that I can continue to ski.
Northstar is a great mountain with a variety of terrain for all different levels of skiers. It’s a good size mountain too, smaller compared to some of its neighbors like Squaw Valley but a very manageable size. Plus, there are a lot of activities like ice skating, tubing and cross-country skiing. Most important for us, it’s a very family friendly resort.
I’m exhausted after day 1 but can’t wait to go back for more today.
Have you visited Lake Tahoe? Are there sacrifices and trade-offs you’ve made in order to continue pursuing a sport that you love?
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