Growing up in a ski town has a lot of perks. The most obvious, learning to ski soon after you begin to toddle around on foot and a half long legs. My parents put me and my siblings on skis when we were not even 2-years-old, as did many of my friends parents. Skiing was close to their hearts and it was important to pass that down to their kids.
My parents grew up as skiers, but they had to travel far and wide to get to our tiny town where snow rules for many months of the year. Somehow, they both were lucky enough to have families who liked to ski. Therefore, yearly ski trips were made to different resorts around the country, especially one like Big Mountain. My parents fell in love with the mountains and skiing and wanted to raise their kids to do the same. Their plan worked.
My three siblings and I all grew up skiing, with photo albums filled with tiny people on skis in the blowing snow, holding our pizzas as best we could. Soon enough we were flying down the mountain without fear.
The dedication we have to sliding down slippery slopes with long flat sticks attached to aching feet and burning legs amazes me each year. Being given the opportunity to live in a place like Whitefish is one of the greatest gifts I have been given. It’s not like anything else I have ever done. Each year families come from all around the world, sometimes with little to no experience just to get a taste of that feeling, often only for a few days every winter. I am amazed at the magnitude of people who travel to the mountain. Each year the parking is more and more difficult to find, but somehow with our incredible terrain, you can still find powder on the busiest day.
My sister raced and both of my brothers now ski on the freestyle team. Mostly I like skiing powder and in the trees, finding spots where it seems like the rest of the world has dropped away. When skiing, sometimes the trees are your only companions, and that’s when you realize your brother zoomed past you. Again. And at the bottom of Chair 7 he waits with a smile of his face and snow in his hair and I return that smile with my whole heart.
So get out there and puts some boards under your feet because as Warren Miller said, “If you don’t do it this year, you’ll be one year older when you do.”
Annie Howeth is a senior at Whitefish High School.