The Game Changer

I remember the days of backwards pizzas, edgie wedgies and hula hoops all too well and trust me, when I say I put my time in on the hill with my two sons Noah and Isaac, I mean I put my time in. There were a few days in between the sweat and tears that I turned them over to ski school so I could break away but more often than not, it was me and them…my two, little, adorable monsters.

For the most part, I have split my time between the two efficiently. Three years apart, Noah had plenty of one on one time with mom and by the time that Isaac was ready to hit the slopes, Noah could easily ski circles around us and cheer his brother on from the sidelines. There came a day however, that Noah needed to step up his game and following his little brother around the groomers and tree trails just wasn’t cutting it anymore. Ski days became all about him or all about Isaac. I just had to work it out.

a compromise on the upper and lower East face traverses of Honeycomb

a compromise on the upper and lower East face traverses of Honeycomb

I remember the day that Noah hiked all the way to the very end of Honeycomb so he could ski an untracked line with me. I remember that day, because there was no whining or complaining, no sitting down for a break. He was just a kid and his skis huffing it out like he owned the place. I knew that my days of slow, controlled skiing were nearly over and I was about to step back into the world that I had left before Noah had joined me on planet earth. There was just one glitch in this otherwise perfect scenario. A little beast named Isaac who was still up and coming.

Noah slaying powder

Noah ripping powder

A few days ago, I found myself on the mountain with just my little BIG guy. Isaac is a solid mass of boy and has closed in on and surpassed his big brother in sheer size and brute. He is strong and his skills on the mountain reflect his strength. As we rode up Summit together, he looked at me and said he was ready to hike. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Although, Isaac is solid on his skis, he is not one to overly exert himself and make things more difficult than need be. I went over all of the not so great things about hiking but he insisted. I made him swear that he wouldn’t complain and he promised. He was determined to see what this hiking thing was all about.


Isaac eyeing the goods of hike-accessed terrain

Isaac eyeing the goods of hike-accessed terrain

We pushed through the gate just below Summit and headed up the north ridge of Honeycomb Canyon. Pretty soon, he stopped from his sidestepping and I figured we were going to be heading down but Isaac just kicked off his skis and lifted them up over his shoulder like he had been doing it for years. I followed him all the way out to one of my secret stashes, a line that he would have never been able to ski had he not worked for it.


Earning his turns

We mined for powder all afternoon on the under skied tree lines of Solitude’s backside. I realized that the game had infinitely changed. My time on the mountain was evolving from mothering to actually shredding and picking lines that I want to ski not just lines that we can ski. The pace is picking up and I rarely find myself needing to ski behind…just in case. The years of torture (kidding) are drawing to a close and the world of big mountain Utah skiing, snow safety classes and avalanche training are just around the bend.  Pretty soon, the boys won’t want to ski with their mother anymore but, I know that I have given them a gift that they will cherish the rest of their ski days….and it’s fine if they blow me off one day soon, this mamma still has plenty of game.


Isaac enjoying his earned turns

Isaac enjoying his earned turns

By: Rachael Hodson

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