Monday, February 15, 2010

Stopped at the gates of heaven

What does it take to enter heaven? Would a bag of M&Ms make the difference, if offered at just the right time?

When you stand by the pearly gates of heaven and St. Peter decides your fate, does he check out your posse too? When you want to head out onto the big back loops of Sugarbush, should you be stopped by the beginners you're skiing with?

I took my sister's family cross country skiing this weekend at the North Shore's famous Sugarbush trail system. Helen had skied a lot in high school but her urban art and architecture career has kept her off the ski trails. None of her boys (husband and two preteens) had ever XC skied.

The Sugarbush trails at Britton Peak start with three perfect beginner loops. From the last of these, Piece of Cake, some of my most favorite ski trails take off. But before we even got to Piece of Cake, the younger cousin had demonstrated his love for falling in the bottomless snow enough times to tire even himself out.

The Homestead Loop starts with the big bomber downhill of Bridge Loop. That's where our group stopped. My oldest son skied to the lip of the big hill to check it out. I had a BIG bag of M&Ms at the ready.

I chatted and schemed a bit. I had a bag of candy for rewards or bribes. Maybe the better skiers could just take the first bit of Bridge Loop around and catch up with the crowd on the way back. The cousins were ready to turn the corner, stay on the easy trails and loop back to the car. I was ready to go go go.

In the end, we all stuck together. I stood at the gates of heaven and I turned away.

They say it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. But what if you had the chance to love again, to ski that trail one more time...but cannot? Is that better?

Of course it is better...we were out on a gorgeous day on a great ski trail. We had a great time. The Sugarbush trails worked their magic.

But next time I stand at the gates of heaven, I'm going straight through them. Maybe St. Peter would like some M&Ms.

1 comment:

greg said...

I know the feeling! That's why I enjoy skiing solo so much. Obviously not always an option, though.

Funny story about that hill. Last year when I spent some time exploring that system, I skied that loop in reverse, enjoying that BIG LONG downhill and then herringboning up the big bad one, thinking about how much fun it would be to descend.

Well, the next day, I brought back my wife and some friends for a quick ski before heading home... One friend is about the same skill level as me, my wife and the other friend are beginners. Wonderful beginners. For some foolish, STUPID reason, mostly based on my inherent selfishness, I took them down that sucker. It was a screamer for me and a horrible wait at the bottom. I still remember watching our friend come around the last corner and wipe out. My buddy (her husband) and I ran up the hill to help her. She said she hit her head. He asked on what. She said, "The snow, ass----."

Anyway, I feel your pain. Thanks for bringing back the memory.