Joel Reichenberger: Change vantage point
August 13, 2011
Steamboat Springs — My favorite thing about skiing — after good powder days and post-skiing appetizers, of course — is standing at the bottom of a steep run and looking up.
I stand at the bottom of, say, North St. Pat's, look up and always feel a mix of astonishment and pride in having made my way down such a treacherous-looking slope. The runs always look difficult from the top, but somehow are even more impressive from the bottom.
They're even more impressive in the summer, as I found out Wednesday when, for the first time, I drove to the very top of Steamboat Ski Area to cover a Town Challenge Mountain Bike Race series event. I'd driven to the top of Thunderhead a number of times, a fun adventure that provides a beautiful view.
The trip to the top of Storm Peak, however, is far more treacherous. Plenty of it proved stunning, but nothing proved more stunning than seeing the ski area's runs in summer. Everything looks steeper.
Yes, some things are more impressive from a different angle.
I flew Thursday to Kansas City, Mo., for another vacation at Lake of the Ozarks. I go every summer. This year's trip will be split evenly between some friends from college and my parents.
I've loved the lake from every angle as long as I can remember. The college friends I mostly hadn't seen in years.
Living in Colorado offers advantages, but living far from home has taken a toll. I've blown off two cousins' weddings this summer alone. I haven't been to the extended family Christmas since I moved. I've committed to saving some vestiges of my pre-Colorado life. But much more has slipped away, including my relationships with many of my friends from college.
Losing contact with those people is probably just a part of life. I'm sure I'll see them over the years for special events, like bachelor's parties or weddings, and enjoying a few days at the lake won't change that. But I'm also sure I'll enjoy those few days.
I live in another state. Some of them are married and have children. As much as things are the same — the same jokes and the same stories — they are different. They are now friendships viewed from a different angle. Kind of like ski slopes in the summer. I won't appreciate them any more than I have, but I definitely won't take them for granted either.