Last year I began my first Solo Ski Sojourn, traveling across the western US, my goal to hit as many ski resorts as my Epic & Mountain Collective passes and legs would take me. It was a skier’s dream—except most skiers are in their 20s when they do it.
But the GoGo seniors are making their presence (and dollars) known, and they make up a significant percentage of the skier population. GoGo? As my financial planner explained to me, we seniors fall into three groups—GoGo’s, SloGo’s, and NoGo’s. If we are lucky we make it to all three phases in good health. My partner Scot was one of the unlucky GoGo’s. He passed away before he could take full advantage of being a senior, getting discounts at restaurants or perhaps more importantly, at ski resorts.
He was also lucky. Scot was active up to the moments he died. He never had to go through a long process of slowing down, or entering the NoGo phase of sitting back while everyone else around him was bustling about.
Last year, my Ski Sojourn was all about the trip that Scot and I intended to take but didn’t. To be honest, it wasn’t the trip he would have planned, as there was a lot more skiing involved than he would have scheduled. The hardest part of doing the trip without him was feeling bad that he was missing out on so much. That’s still the hardest part. I’m OK, but it makes me sad that he’s not here to share in the fun times. That was one of my learnings last year—that in every moment of great happiness there is an element of sadness, and in every moment of great sadness there is an element of happiness. You can’t have one without the other.
I love to ski. I always have. It’s something about all the gear, the chalets, the mountains, the colorful clothes. It’s the freedom I feel when I am going down a mountain, the feeling of accomplishment when I finish a tough run. It’s the warmth of coming inside from the cold, the flush of cold faces, the ache of tired muscles. And the beauty of all this is that it isn’t dependent on anyone else. It happens to me internally, and the pleasure I get is from the inside.
That is not to say I don’t miss skiing with a buddy. Last year about half of my trip was skiing alone, the other half I had friends to hang with. Last year I needed more reflective time. I wonder if I will feel the same this year.
Last year my goal was to hit as many resorts as possible. This year I want to stay at an area longer. My thinking is that I will focus more on each ski area, and describe the Greens, Blues and Blacks. Describe the area’s ambiance. To be more in depth.
We shall see.