A Florida Gal learns to embrace winter and (maybe?) love skiing

Growing up in the early nineties, my parents got the newspaper every morning. While eating cereal, I'd read the weather report on the back page, crossing my fingers I wouldn't see a temperature in the sixties or (gasp) the fifties.

We lived in Florida. Everyday was hot and humid. Unless it was hurricane season, then it was even more humid. As a young person, I owned few sweatshirts. No hats, no gloves, no boots. I'm a Florida gal through and through.

Kitty and her partner, Wes, skiing beneath the Tetons

Last year, I moved to the Teton range, and it’s been a steep learning curve embracing the long winters. This winter was my second season alpine skiing consistently.

To me, skiing is not familiar. I still have a decent amount of fear, doubt, and worry. I take deep, steadying breaths at the top of the blues. I struggle with being cold, 'low-vis' days are scary, and powder skiing is not fun yet. You may be wondering if I even like skiing. Truthfully, not every day. But through skiing I’ve bonded with new and old friends and learned to appreciate winter–or at least what it’s taught me.

Underneath my apprehensions, I've noticed that there's a layer of gratitude and a little pride. I don't have to do this, I get to do this. I’m learning more about myself than I ever anticipated. My skiing technique is improving, yes, but so has my mental toughness.

Learning a new sport as an adult is unmistakably challenging, but rewarding. When I stepped outside of the familiar, I created space for growth. I've learned how to manage my emotions in a variety of conditions. I’ve learned to accept that I may not be successful on every run but I still get out there and try again. I've made new friends and built tighter bonds with old ones. I won't pretend that progress has been linear. There have been many tears and breakdowns. But I am grateful to have a supportive partner and friends who have witnessed those moments and helped me get through them, each in their own unique, encouraging ways (thanks fellow hoohah ladies....and Wes).

Kitty back country ski touring in Idaho, her new home.

I'm going to keep trying. I'll continue venturing from the familiar, mentally and physically. Slowly but surely, I will make it down that snowy mountain, one turn at a time.


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