Head in the Snow

The best way to spend Trump’s Inauguration Day was to ski powder with a posse of hard-charging women at Breckenridge.

This blog is rarely political. However, I must admit that one of my favorite days on the slopes this season was the day Donald Trump was inaugurated. You know how when disaster strikes, you always remember precisely where you were and what you were doing?

The first annual four-woman march on Breckenridge.

When the Discovery shuttle exploded in January of 1986, I heard the news as I was walking into Commons dining hall at Hamilton College. When New York’s twin towers were struck by terrorist planes on September 11, 2001, I was in my brother’s family room in Virginia putting on my sneakers for a walk. And on this day, when a impulsive narcissistic misogynistic ignoramus (or as they like to say in Scotland, a “mangled apricot hellbeast”) took our nation’s highest office, I was skiing velvety snow with a pack of awesome nasty women. I’ll tuck that memory away forever.

Now that we’re more than 100 days into the new administration’s reign and the political landscape is an even bigger fiasco than at first seemed possible, I’m happy to have missed the news coverage of January 20, 2017. I didn’t even log onto FaceBook.

In between standing united with the ladies, I snuck in a few runs with my mouth guard wearing Super G racer.

The inauguration of our 45th president coincided with a Super G race at Breckenridge. At 5 a.m., Breck was reporting a measly  2 inches, but it had continued to snow. By the time we hit the slopes, the slopes had been blanketed by half a foot of fresh powder. (Even the mountain was hiding under the covers that day.)

I met up with a group of ski-team moms, including Kim, a cardiologist who had canvassed for Hillary during the election. She had written “Bad Hombre” in mascara on one cheek. It was a little smeared.  Her young son had helped scribe “Nasty Woman” in eyeliner on the other cheek. Her T-shirt: “Nasty Woman,” of course. Skiers were lining up to take selfies with her at the lift maze.

And we mean “nasty” in a good way.

We met up with Andrea, a physical therapist and Amy a former operations director for a local nonprofit and a stay-at-home mom who manages to find time to sit on the boards of local schools and charitable organizations. We headed for the top of Peak 9, where we found creamy untracked lines, run after run. The slopes were empty.

On chairlift rides, we commiserated about the inconceivable outcome of the election. “How had this happened?” We’d stop midway to catch our breaths and wonder some more. Then we’d porpoise through the fresh snow we hadn’t expected and it made us feel just a little better.

There’s Super G racing and there’s slaloming through the hardwoods in powder. Both can be done on the same day.

Ripping Breckenridge’s steeps with four strong and smart women was somehow a salve. We couldn’t explain what had happened in places like Wisconsin and Michigan when the votes came in, but here, in the thin clean air of the Colorado Rockies, we were united.

The following day, when 470,000 people joined the Women’s March on Washington in protest (crowd scientists say the attendance at the march was three times the size of the inauguration the day before), the Super G  race continued in Breckenridge.

Exploring the edge of Breckenridge with awesome women like Amy is both empowering and life-affirming.

When I wasn’t perched on the sidelines watching teens and tweens hurtling down the steep pitches of Peak 10’s Cimarron, I skied with another fabulous nasty woman named Amy (different Amy), a healthcare administrator and mom of two diehard ski racers. We worried on the chair about the fate of our nation’s healthcare. On the descents, we found pockets of fluff under a blue sky on Peak 10’s Mustang. Somehow, I’d never skied this run on Breck’s southern perimeter before. It felt like an escape.

We weren’t wearing pink kitten hats and waving signs, but our two-woman march downhill felt like an act of solidarity.


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