Before this mid-February storm shattered my “It’s all good” attitude about my, eh-hem, condition this winter, I didn’t mind so much that I wasn’t hitting the slopes quite like I used to. It turns out skiing crud is even less enjoyable when you’re carrying a soccer ball under your coat.
But this week, with wintry fire hoses aimed directly at Telluride’s slopes turning my favorite runs into soft, dreamy playgrounds, my stance has changed. I can’t help but feel envious of all of my blissfully soccer ball-free cohorts, whisking around on Dynamo without a care in the world – except, perhaps, the nagging fear that someone has swiped their secret stash.
For those of you who haven’t (or never will) have the pleasure of being pregnant during the ski season, I will enlighten you: It’s like people are swiping your secret stash all day, every day.
It isn’t like being injured during the Great Winter Storm, either. I’ve been there too, sidelined by knee surgeries and staring desperately out the window cursing the falling snowflakes and my bad luck. You see, you never plan to blow your knee. The fact that you’ve deliberately put yourself into this predicament (if I dare be so myopic and petty to say such a thing) feels akin to pulling yourself from the big game so that an eager rookie can play instead. You know it was the right thing to do, but you can’t help cursing your good intentions while spectating from the sidelines.
It’s not that pregnancy equates to an automatic “Don’t Pass Go” card for the ski season. Despite what some well-meaning aunts may believe, skiing and pregnancy aren’t necessarily that ill-suited for each other. Of course, no doctor would ever tell you it’s okay to strap a pair of 167-cm. boards to your feet and go zipping down a mountain alongside a few thousand others on snow-covered, high altitude slopes… but that’s another topic.
The reality is that most women who live in ski towns live there because they love to ski. And among those women who love to ski are a few moms, who have at some point in their lives faced the dilemma of enduring a pregnant ski season. The question that inevitably emerges isn’t, usually, “To ski or not to ski,” but rather, “What to ski, and how?”
Navigating your home mountain becomes a brand new escapade when you’re carrying around an extra little person. You start with shiny good intentions and the positive attitude to match; I’ll ski a little bit. For fun. I’ll be careful. I won’t fall.
Then your belly gets bigger. The winter gets longer. The snow totals grow larger. Not only must you ski around with a squirming little soccer ball under your coat, now you’ve got a pesky imp on each shoulder. The devilish one whispers; Go ahead! Ski it! While the saintly one begs; Go home and do prenatal yoga instead.
Even when the ski devil wins, the spoils aren’t quite as winsome as you’d hoped for. You feel slower and clumsier than everyone else. Not to mention you look like a jack-ass in your husband’s old ski pants, zipped up only halfway and held up by suspenders.
There is, alas, no such thing as maternity ski pants.
Deep in my skier’s heart I know that I will ski another unencumbered powder day – next season, in fact, when I can use my “But I was pregnant last season” excuse to make Craig stay home with the kids. Deep in my mother’s heart I know that carrying Elle’s future ski buddy (and another kid Craig and I will eventually try to chase down the slopes) is a blessing better than any sumptuous powder day.
I still, however, want to sulk watching my snow-coated friends and neighbors flock from the slopes wearing powder-drunken smiles on their way to the bar to talk about how fabulous a powder day it was. I know I should be happy for powder days, for all of you unfettered, not pregnant Telluridians. I could be, if you’d only promise not to vanquish all my stashes.
But I know better. There are, after all, no friends on a powder day.