Ski Patrollers Rock
The first thing we saw when got to the top of the mountain was the ski patrol headquarters. I had to go inside to pay my respects, because after what happened with my Daddy, I gained a deep respect and reverence for all ski patrollers on all mountains. They didn't ask any questions when they worked on my Daddy, they just did what they were trained to do.
The year after my Daddy died, 1der and I went to Taos Ski Valley and gave the entire ski patrol a big pizza party to say thank you for all they did to save the life of a man they knew nothing about. It was important for me to tell them how much I appreciated all they did, and equally important for them to know just who was this anonymous man and how much he meant to me and others. That was a very special and emotional evening, and I'm still in touch with one of the first responders.
When I went into the headquarters, I asked to speak to all of them. Of course they looked at me like what the heck does she want with all of us ??? Nonetheless, the dozen or so who were present gave me the floor, and I cried when I told them the story and how much I appreciate what they do. They were moved and relayed their deep appreciation for my words and sentiments. I ended by saying I would be honored if any of them could accompany us down the run where my Daddy went down. Two of them said they were going that way.
It was extremely hard to ski the very run where my Daddy basically died. Through my sobs, I could imagine an entire crew of patrollers, working assiduously and indefatigably, using a defibrillator and other life-saving techniques on his chest. The two patrollers, Shrekkie and 1der all quietly stood by as I wept. Even after all these years, I still pine for my Daddy. The black hole in my heart never healed; time has just enabled me to put the sorrow behind a door which rarely opens this wide.
The new snow was a real blessing as it has been weeks since the last storm and it's been really warm. But even with eight inches of freshies, the snow isn't so great. Thick on top, slick underneath. Nonetheless, we had a blast on our first day, skiing through the trees and discovering the mountain.
It's so cool to traverse into the trees. We enter all together, then separate to find our own lines. When we stop a bit below, we call out since we can't see one another. Shrekkie! “Yep, I'm here!” 1der! “Over here!” I particularly loved the one time when Shrekkie yelled out while skiing, “man, is this fun!!!” Indeed it is.
Later in the day I saw Leland (one of the patrollers who accompanied us on the run) outside another patrol hut. “Come on up,” he said. I was so happy to see Ralph (aka Raf), one of Daddy's first responders whom I vividly remembered from the pizza party.
“I remember that day,” he said quietly.
“Hopefully that was the last time you had a day like that,” I replied.
“Unfortunately there were two other times after your Dad. The third time was a charm.”
That was absolutely someone's lucky day.
Today was a special day in so many ways, and the evening was the best: we were able to see Dubie , another first responder who worked on my Daddy.
I've stayed in touch with Dubie all these years. Nearly every year on the anniversary of my Daddy's passing, I call Dubie to let him know I'm thinking of him and to thank him for all he did all those years ago. I haven't seen Dubie since that pizza party, and to give him a giant hug and share a meal today was awesome.
Taos is known to be a powerful, spiritual place, and for me, it's exactly that. It's hard to explain how being here is a homecoming, but it is, because I take comfort knowing it's where my Daddy took his last breaths, where my brothers and I came to say goodbye, and where he simply skied right out of his body.
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