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The Mountains are Calling: One Mom’s Story of Getting Back on Skis

Mar 11, 2019

Sometimes life gets the better of you and you end up opting out of activities that were once integral to your life. The kids, the dog, the promotion at work or even a dip in fitness can result in life changes that make it hard to take a ski day. We get it. We’ve all been there. But there is nothing like carving turns on fresh groomers or enjoying fresh snowfall from the chairlift or when skiing the deep in the trees... Below is the story of a new mom and lapsed skier finding her way back to the mountains and back to her greatest passion, skiing.

I’m a mover and a shaker. Always have been. My mother raised my sister and me as a single mom since I was 12 and after losing my father to cancer. I made it my goal to always stay healthy, positive and active in her honor. I hiked, sometimes 200+ days a year as part of my job and for fun. I guided backpacking trips, rock climbing, and backcountry skiing expeditions. 

I was able to ski with some of the greats, like Dean Cummings, Jeremy Jones and the raging athletes of the west. But I always wanted a family.  

"I was able to ski with some of the greats, like Dean Cummings, Jeremy Jones and the raging athletes of the west. But I always wanted a family."  

 

My sister married and had children a bit younger in the game and had a family long before I was ready to do it, but I always, in the back of my mind, longed for it. After choosing to move home from the west I tried to live in my home town in Massachusetts. I love my friends and family but in the end, the call of the mountains got me.

"I love my friends and family but in the end, the call of the mountains got me."

 

I had visited North Conway, NH several times and knew I would just love it there. In 2011 I bought a home moved in and have loved living here ever since. I quickly made friends, built my business and felt welcome in the community. I lived within 40 minutes of 5 amazing ski resorts, ski race leagues to join and the most beautiful backcountry skiing one could ever ask for.

I hit the ground running, or should I say skiing. I joined those race leagues, skied those 5 mountains, and crawled skied a ton of what the backcountry had to offer. I even bought a home where I could hike up my back yard for miles and ski right to my front door. What can I say? I love where I live!

Backcountry skiing is my favorite thing to do in the winter. I love the ‘earn your turns’ mentality, being outside in the cold surrounded by wilderness, the people the sport attracts and getting lost in my own mind and body by the monotony of taking each step forward. Taking that one run down the mountain always feels a little sweeter. Exactly like that cold beer tastes after a day in the mountains.

Fast forward to 5 years of living in NH. I happened to stumble across the most amazing man. We fell in love and shortly after had a beautiful baby girl. I knew my life would change and I was beyond ready for it. What I couldn’t have predicted or prepared myself for was losing my mom two months before I gave birth.

My Mom who was undoubtedly also my best friend passed away without warning or sickness. She had a blood clot that traveled to her heart. It literally stopped me in my tracks. No time is a good time for something like that to happen. However, I had to be strong and find peace for my baby girl. It has been a really hard road to travel down and continue my journey. My daughter and husband have been my light when all I saw was dark and I am so grateful for them. What was also hard was finding time for myself.

"It has been a really hard road to travel down and continue my journey. My daughter and husband have been my light when all I saw was dark and I am so grateful for them. What was also hard was finding time for myself."

 

We don’t have much family around so we really were 100% full-time parents. This made finding time for myself close to impossible. Though I knew somewhere down the road things would get easier. I had a very tough time saying yes to those friends begging me to get outside and ski. Let alone getting out by myself. I did manage to stay involved in a ski race league. But even that had forever changed, no longer did my husband and I take turns together, we found ourselves skiing alone while the other parent hung with the little in the lodge.

I love that we found a way to still ski and be surrounded by our friends who also love it. At this point though backcountry skiing had really fallen to the wayside. I was exhausted from being up every hour on the hour with a baby, I barely could crawl out of bed some days let alone go skiing. All the things I loved, I was too tired to put energy toward. I felt sad about being a lapsed skier, but I knew I would get back out there.

My little one is 2 years old now. She is an old soul, funny, sweet, smart, loving, aware and some times bossy. She has grown up in a ski lodge surrounded by familiar faces doing things they love. I’m now comfortable with friends watching our daughter, her grandma watches her as often as she can and I have now been able to find time to ski the mountains again. It has been a slow start getting back into it but it’s happening.

This winter, I had a friend beg me to join Friday Night Lights Uphill Race Series (FNL) at Black Mountain this season.  This is an uphill ski series (at night) where people hike or ‘skin’ up the marked trail on Black Mountain and ski down. It was the perfect way for me to get back into shape while doing my favorite thing, skiing! This was gonna be hard since my husband always works Friday nights and I didn’t think I would find a sitter. I promised myself and her that I would try super hard to make it work. The stars aligned and one of my favorite friends was able to spend Friday night with my daughter. Game on! This mama found time for herself and got back to the mountains.

I’m still working on getting to the ski mountain more. It’s hard to schedule time for yourself when you're a mom, the guilt is real. I got out more this season than I have in the last three years. I plan on using this year’s ski-momentum to become the skier mom I’ve always envisioned I would be.

 

Written By
Wendey St Onge

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