Confessions of a Wannabe Ski Bum

Hello, my name is Annie Stratton and I’ve wanted to be a ski bum for 7 years. Now I am nowhere close to earning the title ski bum, but I aspire to one day. When I was, like, three my parents strapped me to a pair of skis and tried to teach me how to ski. After hours of skiing between both of parents’ skis and managing to cross my skis about five times per run taking down both me and the subsequent parent, I never skied again.

In middle school I had a spark of an idea that, maybe if I wasn’t good at skiing I might be good at snowboarding. This idea was one that was bounced around in the household for a while, but nothing ever happened. Then one day my dad said, “We have a surprise for you.” I was skeptical as it was Thanksgiving. For some background, I have a very strict Thanksgiving tradition that I enjoy following and a break from that did not sound like a good time. My dad goes on to explain that he had bought us tickets to see a Warren Miller movie after the Christmas Stroll. As this did not interfere with the Christmas Stroll, I was relieved but also dreading going and seeing this gross movie about some dude I had never heard of.

We arrived to the movie Black Friday 2011 at the Wyo Theater and took our seats. Then some people were on the stage talking about something or another with Antelope Butte, and I knew I was going to be hella board and fall asleep. But then the lights lowered, and the movie started. Jonny Moseley starts talking, Dean Martin is singing, and I am bored. Then the Beastie Boys’ song, Lee Majors Come Again, kicks in, and I am officially in love. People are skiing off of mountains, trees, railings. Guys are snowboarding down the craziest schtuff I’ve ever seen. Then they’re in India (they being Lel Tone and Lynsey Dyer) and skiing even more crazy stuff. Needless to say I stayed awake throughout the whole movie, and when I left the Wyo Theater I had decided…. I was going to be a ski bum that winter.

Now thirteen year old me then made her email signature, “Like There’s No Tomorrow”, because that was the title of the movie, and I was going to live fearlessly from then on out. Now that was ambitious because living fearlessly is still something that I have not conquered. (I say as I type this article, type a book review that is due tomorrow, and watch a Warren Miller movie. I quite obviously live as if I have all the time in the world.) But besides that I started asking my mom, who is not reeealllly a ski bum, what skiers wore and how they looked. I couldn’t yet partake in the skiing tradition, I might as well look the part. For the next 2 months if you saw thirteen year old Annie she probably had her hair in a gross, falling out, trying really hard to look like Michelle Parker, side braid and whatever jeans and t-shirt.

The Queen Freeskier of Squaw Valley, Michelle Parker

Finally, my time came. Mom took me to our sports shop to rent a snowboard and buy the gear. We scheduled a day to go to Meadowlark Ski Lodge and my mom got me a snowboard instructor. After about half the day learning how the basics my dad and I (poor guy tried to learn how to snowboard too) were set loose to attempt the bunny slope. Then after a tangle up at the ski lift, per the usual, I made my first run. Then my second. And not to lie I wasn’t bad. Now I wasn’t great, but I had stopped falling at one point which I see as a win. The last run of the day and my dad and I decide to go on the bigger bunny slope. I’m soo close to the end I can see it, and then I fall one last time. On my butt. And the loudest crack came from my tailbone and I thought I was paralyzed, not to mention overdramatic. After yelling an expletive, and my dad coming over to see if I was okay, I got up and limped to the car. I’m about 75% positive that I broke my tailbone, but that 25% of doubt comes from me not going to the doctor. I have not strapped on a snowboard ever since.

Now, that is not because I’m scared, it’s because I haven’t rented one since and did not have the time. But that does not stop me from going every year to the new Warren Miller ski movie, and then proceeding to say this will be the year that I’m going to ski. That’s been happening for seven years now and this will be the year that I become a ski bum. (Proceeds to continue to sit on my butt doing nothing.)

But if there are two things that I have learned from the great Warren Miller it's to truly live your life like there is not tomorrow and “if you don’t do it this year, you’ll only be one year older when you do.” And these two quotes are how I aspire to live my life. (I say aspire because I still procrastinate on homework, which I should be doing “like there’s no tomorrow”.) These two ideas though inspire me to live my life taking risks. “Like there’s no tomorrow” is my quote for everyday things. Examples are telling my parents I love them, going out with my friends, and eating my favorite foods. “If you don’t do it this year, you’ll only be one year older when you do,” is for the bigger things. Examples being a ski bum or traveling to far off places. (Both of which I will do this year. You heard it here first.)

Now I’m not telling you to drop all your responsibilities and just do things because you want to. Because let’s be real, doing your homework, like you might not be able to tomorrow is helpful, so it really does apply to everything. Life is so much better when you do things that you might not have the opportunity to do again and just live in the moment. I found that I had less anxiety when I stopped thinking about the distant future and just focused on the present. If you live like there is no tomorrow then you will realize you do a lot more things to make you happy and stop caring what other people think.

So my advice to you is: ski that line, wear that dress, talk to that cute boy in your class, do your homework, travel the world, or whatever your heart desires. Because in the words of Warren Miller “If you don’t do it this year, you’ll only be one year older when you do.” And on that note I’ll leave you with the words of Jonny Moseley. “Winter Starts Now.”


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