We’d been crisscrossing under the chairlift on my third or fourth time down the small slope when Steve looked over at me, smiling. “Wanna try some powder?” We veered off into the deep inches of fresh powder. Suddenly I felt like I was floating. Everything went quiet: My skis merely whispered against the snow and even the shouts coming from over the world’s smallest hill were muted. Filled with a bubble of exhilaration and joy, I finally “got” skiing. I understood why people around the world don a ridiculous amount of clothing, schlep unwieldy gear, battle traffic, and brave inclement weather for a few days of skiing. That feeling of flying is worth chasing.
Every time I hit the bottom of the hill, I’d rush to the chairlift to go back up again. But learning a new sport is exhausting, and I was grateful that the ski resort was so close to the town. It was easy to take a break and hop the gondola down to Telluride to refuel with a pork belly taco at the heaven-sent Tacos del Gnar before hitting the mountain once again. (I really liked skiing, but the easy access to great tacos may have been what convinced this California girl that this was love.)
Almost as rewarding as this newfound addiction was my official introduction to the age-old tradition of après-ski. When the lifts shut down at 4 p.m. the doors of the bars and restaurants swing open. It’s finally time to kick back, raise a well-deserved glass of local craft beer or spiked hot cocoa, and toast to this heaven for people who love skiing—even if they don’t know it quite yet.