Sunday was a crystal clear, freezing cold day up on the mountain. It had rained the day before, and the temperature had plummeted overnight, meaning that the mountain was covered in a blanket of ice–or what we like to call “fast snow” in our family.
My six-year-old Lily loves fast snow. The faster the better.
I followed my daughter as she scooted along the edges of Rumrunner, finding all the little bumps and ramps on the sides of the trail.
“Wee!!!” she shouted, showing off her newly discovered pole-planting skills and swishing her little skis effortlessly.
And with each turn and jump, my heart nearly burst with a combination of pride and fear.
The snow was really fast.
We went around one curve and a group of snowboarders blasted past us, edges scraping loudly against the ice.
Around the next curve, a woman just learning to ski blasted past me, arms akimbo, barely in control of herself.
Lily cruised along, unperturbed, swinging past a ski school group, and deftly dodging some teenagers sitting in the middle of the trail.
As we swooped over the top of a hill, Lily shouted, “Woo hoo!” and curled up into a tuck. Yikes, this is new! I thought.
Then, in a racing tuck, she straight-bombed the trail. She was going as fast as she could, blazing across the hardpacked snow. A mix of disbelief, relief, and pride that my little baby could ski like that washed over me. I raced behind her, working hard to get up enough speed to keep up with her.
Thankfully, mercifully, Lily came coasting to a stop at the bottom of the hill.
Just as I caught up to her, a woman about my age skidded to a stop next to us.
“You need to slow down!” she said, “You terrified my daughter!”
I looked up the trail and sure enough a few yards away a little girl a year or two younger than Lily was stopped on the side of the trail. I could tell from her stance and the lack of poles that she was a beginner skier.
Suddenly I remembered all the times that the same thing had happened to Lily and I came to a slow realization.
Lily wasn’t one of the little ones anymore.
Now she was the scary one bombing down the fast snow.