By JB Bissell

One Sentence at a Time

It Begins

On Wednesday, November 25, 2015, we started our all-Colorado ski trek at Keystone. The original plan was to hit Breckenridge (and stock up on Mary’s Mountain Cookies for the holiday weekend), but Keystone had more terrain open — and, most importantly, more terrain that we actually wanted to ski open. We’ll get to that. First, we need to discuss a significant philosophical moment that took place before we even buckled our boots.

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A number of years ago, Robert Fulghum popularized the notion that All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Mr. Fulghum made a number of valid points, but by limiting his knowledge base to kindergarten, he missed out on the veritable abyss of wisdom that is the modern-day teenager.

“Why’d we come to Keystone instead of Breckenridge?” Dade asked when we pulled into the parking lot. (I had, of course, already explained this, but how can you blame a kid for failing to internalize pertinent information when he’s busy with swagalicious fart apps on his iPhone?)

“They’ve got about twice as many acres open,” I said.

“Cool,” Dade replied. “When life gives you lemons, you kick it right in the balls.”

“Yeah!” Roan added. “When life gives you lemons, you squirt lemon juice in its eyes!”

Insert uproarious laughter here.

So, yes, as you probably suspected after reading the very first sentence of this blog about a dad and his sons setting out to have the best ski season ever: I’m definitely going to learn just as much from them as they’ll learn from me. Definitely.

The Outback

Life lessons handled, we spent the majority of our day in The Outback, a collection of runs that are very glade-ish. And as luck (or good planning) would have it, glades are my favorite type of terrain. On trails such as Wolverine and Wildfire to skier’s left and Bushwhacker and Badger in the opposite direction, with their backcountry bumps and more natural tree patterns, I noticed myself smiling and even laughing as I made quick turns to slip into a mogul trough or avoid a suddenly-visible pine stump. It’s an impossible cocktail of exhilaration and tranquility. And when we stopped to catch our breath, I could see that the boys were sipping from the same highball as me. Mission accomplished.

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Roan led the charge through the trees between Badger and The Grizz for our final run, and by the time we got back to the Wayback lift, we were all pretty wiped out. “That was a lot of fun, dad,” he said when we sat down on the chair. “When we come back here sometime, I want to do that again.”

And then it hit me. One of the first rules I established for this adventure was that we were going to ski everywhere in the state, not just show up. I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant at the time. But now I get it: Wherever we go, our goal is to find something — a run, a bowl, a glade, a chute — for which we’d like to return.

So here’s to Keystone, and a much better-than-expected first day. One down, twenty-seven to go.


  1. Nice wordsmithing… with you in spirit!

  2. Awesome. I love reading your writing. I have to admit, however, that I need a glossary to fully appreciate all the skiing terminology!The only glades I know are west of me.

  3. Sounds like a great day by all!! Teenage boys and dad—can’t get any better than that!! Good luck!!!

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