I can’t tell you how many times I told stories about the summer after we graduated when I got to spend five weeks driving cross country with my best friend before he moved to Jackson. When people asked when you were coming back, I’d shrug and say, “He’s only gonna be gone a year. He wants to ski as much as he can before he comes home.”
My stories were the same over the 21 years since we made that trip together, but the questions that followed gradually changed from ‘When is he coming home?’ to ‘Why didn’t he ever come home?” I’d always always smile and say something like, “He’s one of the few guys I know who truly took a chance and followed his dream and he is one of the fewer who found his own slice of Heaven.”
Do you know how many times I said aloud to Ana, or just said to myself, “I wish Steve could see this…”? You met Isabel when she was only a baby and you never had a chance to meet our son, but Isabel and Danny are 12 and 10 now. You’ll be proud to know they are Old School and have never strapped on a snowboard let alone thought about doing it! They caught the same bug, Steve. The satisfaction of forming that perfect carving turn, the determination when attacking the bumps, the exhilaration of opening it up and just letting it fly, the peace of the solitude in the glades, that rush just before you drop into the steeps, and of course, above all, the joy of making fresh tracks. I still have my fatherly instinct to ski behind them, like when I used to help them up, brush them off, and pop on their skis after a fall. That really isn’t necessary anymore since they hardly fall, but I offer plenty of “Be carefuls” and you’d get a kick out of it when we regroup at the top of a trail and I always ask them right before we drop in, “What are we going to do?” and in unison they respond, “Stay in control.” Haha! Now I just let them pass so I can enjoy my vantage point above them and take a little pleasure in seeing them come into their own and grow their love for skiing.
When Isabel was 10, something clicked. All at once her turns became so smooth, so effortless, so graceful, and so elegant. It was a turning point and I was blessed to witness it. It’s hard to describe unless you see her, but her turns are so beautiful to me. I knew you would understand and I said to myself, “I wish Steve could see this…”
Danny too hit his stride at 10 but his turns are very different. He aggressively drives his weight into his turning foot but it is so smooth. He makes deep, long carving turns and he can get his body so close to the ground. He wasn’t even a hundred pounds this season but, man can he carve…and he does it with speed. I’m so proud of him and I knew you’d understand if you saw him. “I wish Steve could see this…”
I was literally in the middle of a three day trip to Whistler Blackcomb when I found out you were gone. The steeps, the glades, the beauty, the POWDER. It snowed big every night. It was majestic. I said to myself more than once the day before you passed, “I wish Steve could see this…” I recall the shock, the grief, the sorrow and the regrets. I learned you left us doing what you loved. Like many of us, I took comfort in that. It was surreal to find myself on the other side of the continent when you passed, in a place I thought was Heaven on Earth. I was blessed to have an opportunity that next day to pay my respects, say a few prayers for you, find fresh tracks with you and not once have to say, “I wish Steve could see this…”
I miss you, bro.
Live to ski,