January 6th, 2014
By Diane Ako
By Diane Ako
As I was saying in the previous blog, my family and I spent Christmas break in Utah, which started for me with a mean case of altitude sickness.
Luckily, my oxygen compressor and the Diamox pills for altitude sickness worked together, and the final three days of the five day ski trip were salvaged.
I never felt quite OK in Utah - the dry air, my dry nose and skin, and a vague feeling of queasiness almost all the time (which I read is a side effect of the Diamox). Sometimes I'd drink a few big gulps of water and feel mildly nauseous. It impacted my appetite and I found myself eating less.
I thought Park City was gorgeous and the parts of Salt Lake City that I saw, I liked, too. I actually felt I could live in Utah based off this fleeting impression, but any inclination towards that was mixed by my body not adapting well to the environment.
Other than these mild inconveniences, the only issue was my out-of-shapeness. I get three hours of exercise a month nowadays, so to be on the slopes for three hours a day was too much. My legs were rebelling.
I tried to train a few months before I left, but who am I kidding? A kid, a full time job - like so many working mothers, my body becomes the collateral damage.
Yet, it had cost me/us so much in time, money, effort, and medical injury to be here, so I felt compelled to make use of it. I was going to SKI, DAMN IT! I did not drag my burnt out butt to Deer Valley to sip hot cocoa in the lodge!
Claus was very kind to patiently accommodate my handicaps. Without me, he would power through six nearly consecutive hours of skiing. With me, he skis slowly, goes on easier runs, and waits with me while I take many rest breaks.
Olivia spent three days in ski school enjoying herself and becoming a little speed racer. For a kid from Hawaii who has only skied once before, she rips it downhill without taking a turn. Somehow, she stops on a dime with her "pizza" wedge.
In another lifetime, I taught ski school at a resort in the East. I remember the kiddos were fearless in the same way as Olivia was - one straight shot down the fall line with no regard for what happens at the end. Of course now that I'm not just A mommy but I'm HER mommy, my head was filled with nightmare scenarios of her crashing into things or other people and getting seriously injured.
A surprising amount of anxiety-provoking thoughts can go through my mind in the short 30 seconds it took for my kid to get from the top to the bottom of the hill. How come the dads never look like they're fretting to death?
There are 100 children in ski school and they all look alike in their helmets and Reindeer Club bibs. I had a very hard time finding her. I would look for about 40 minutes at the end of my day and I didn't find her until the third and final day.
I liked being back on the slopes - my last time was five years ago - but my happiest memory is of the three of us skiing together on the bunny hill. That's the Christmas gift I'll take away from 2013.