I have always believed it’s important to take some time off on occasion to help keep a positive perspective on my work and life in general. My favorite recreational activities usually involve some kind of outdoor adventure; and, in the wintertime, I occasionally go skiing. It had been about two years since my last trip before I accepted an invitation from former Albany City Manager Steve Bryant to ski Mt. Bachelor last week. Steve had two reduced-price lift tickets, so City Attorney Jim Delapoer joined us.
I majored in skiing (not an official degree) at Central Oregon Community College many years ago and have skied Mt. Bachelor countless times. I am not a great skier, but I have always been able to keep pace with my companions even when I didn’t look very good doing it. The years have taken their toll. Steve commented that I looked exhausted just getting from the parking lot to the lift, and he was right. During the first run, Jim and I skied about a quarter of the way down the hill before falling at almost the same spot. I think it took more energy to just get back up than I used to expend in a day on the hill. We made it to the bottom without further incident, while observing that it could not be a good sign when standing in a lift line looked more appealing than skiing down the slopes.
Conditions at Bachelor were ideal for those who like un-groomed runs and choppy powder. Jim also pointed out that due to the number of people on the runs, it was like skiing a slalom course with moving poles. We made it about two-thirds of the way down the hill before realizing that skiing is supposed to be fun, and we weren’t having any. We hoped to sneak back toward the lodge before Steve spotted us, but he quickly caught us and agreed he would be doing everyone a favor by clearing the slopes of two old out-of-shape bureaucrats.
Many of you have been subjected to years of my writing about the importance of exercise; and, for any who might have been offended, this story should offer a touch of revenge. I have never felt so winded, exhausted, and out of shape as I did on the ski slopes last week. I also know that I will hear about this trip for the rest of my life or the rest of Steve’s, whichever is shorter. As soon as I could walk normally again about two days after skiing, I ran five miles in an effort to regain some dignity. I’m still out of shape, but I intend to do better in the weeks ahead. My plan is to go skiing again later this month under better conditions and minus a few pounds.
Apparently, I needed a lesson in humility this month, and I certainly received one. I won’t be bragging about athletic achievements other than my grandchildren’s for awhile. By the way, my five-year-old grandson Conner did win the state championship for his weight group in wrestling while I was floundering around on skis.