On my first ski bus Thursday in early January, I was placing my skis in the outside rack, preparing to go in for lunch, when I heard someone remark "there's a telemarker! Oooh nice skis!" I looked up to see two older (well, older than me) woman sporting telemark gear. We proceeded to get into a discussion that revolved around skis, and the gals invited me to have lunch with them. At lunch, I had a great time talkin' tele. After lunch was finished, and we'd gone our separate ways, my friend asked me who those women were. Although they'd introduced themselves, due to my poor short-term memory, I couldn't recall their names. So I referred to them as the "Tele Ladies."
|Sue and Katie - the Tele Ladies
The next Thursday, I again ran into the Tele Ladies at lunch. Like the week before, we hung out in the cafeteria swapping ski stories. This time I was sure to catch their names - Katie and Sue. Katie and Sue invited me to ski with them the following week.
|Blue sky teaser
Due to bad weather and other factors, a few weeks passed before I was able to ski with the Tele Ladies. A couple weeks ago, Katie and I spent a great Thursday on the slopes. And then last week, I had the privilege of skiing with both of the Tele Ladies.
|Mt Hood rises above the lift
These women are amazing. They are well into their sixth decade, but drop knee like no one's business. Sue ripped down a slope, making tele turns all the way to the bottom with no rest (I, in comparison needed at least a couple "quad breaks"). Both she and Katie have been skiing backcountry for many years. They also hike, backpack, and climb mountains. They've both climbed many mountains in the PNW, and skied down lots of them.
|Katie droppin' knee
We made tons of laps all morning. The Tele Ladies didn't seem to wear out. They made lots more tele turns that I (when I get tired, I revert to alpine turns). The ladies took me all over - through the trees and down many black diamond runs. By lunchtime, I was ready for a break.
|Katie and I
Katie was the cautious skier of the duo. A little bit later I found out why. Katie told me she'd recently broken her upper arm skiing here at Meadows (I think she told me the accident happened a couple of years ago, but again with my bad memory, I don't remember exactly). After weeks of recovery and additional weeks of physical therapy, Katie was finally back on the slopes.
|Doesn't this photo look like it should be on a Mt Hood Meadows ad?
Late in the afternoon, Katie took me down a trail called "Middle Fork." We were about halfway to the lift, and I'd stopped for a rest break. Katie skied up and asked if I'd do her a big favor. She pointed to a grove of trees not far from where we were standing. Katie said, "When you ski by those trees, give them a big fat middle finger. That's the spot where I wiped out and broke my arm."
|Katie's revenge on the Middle Fork run
So Katie and I slid over to the infamous grove. While passing by, we both extended our middle fingers and gave those trees a proper salute. Then we had a good laugh. And I have to say, what a great way to face bad memories and get rid of your demons. You gotta admire Katie's spunk. Kudos to Katie for getting back on the slopes and not letting anything stop her!
I now have two new telemark skier friends. The Tele Ladies are more than friends - they are my heroes and role models. I hope I'm still dropping knee and screaming through the trees when I'm their age. Sue and Katie you rock!