This Must Be the Place
Home, it’s where I want to be but I guess I’m already there.
These are lyrics from one of my favorite Talking Heads songs. It has carried me through many momentous occasions in the past 15 years, but I don’t think I ever really heard that line or its meaning until this morning.
My husband and I bought an old house last week, and I am deep, deep, deep in the process of painting and cleaning and electricians and radon mitigation and packing and moving. So deep I could barely see out of it to get myself to the ski hill this morning. So deep I was unnecessarily impatient with my kid and my helpful dad and myself as I tried to get too many things done at once. So deep I forgot a crucial piece of ski gear and nearly had to give up my ski mission. (Thank you switchboard Kent for saving the day!) So deep that upon meeting Chip Shevlin, Best of Boat Ski Instructor and a super kind and enthusiastic human being, all I could think about was whether or not he was Chip my new neighbor with the hammer drill. So deep all I really wanted was to get off the ski hill in order to get back into the all-consuming process of creating a new home for my family.
And then I took a run. Perfect corduroy, 1970s-style deep plush corduroy. Rudy’s all to myself. The cold January sun setting the snow on fire with sparkling sunlight. The awesome lifties at Storm Peak and their rosy, never-ending smiles. The sun rising over the top of Storm silhouetting early morning skiers. Soft fluffly snow left over from yesterday morning on Centerfield bumps. Mini powder stashes coming down to Four Points chair. More perfect corduroy on Tornado — a favorite of mine when it’s all bumped out — but complete heaven in the fresh groom after the weekends’ storms. Again, all to myself. Bumps on upper Three O’Clock to warm me up. More perfect cord on High Noon and One O’Clock. Did I mention that there is some perfect cord out there? It is PERFECT.
It didn’t take me all morning, it took one turn. It took getting off the gondola this morning and looking at the sky. It took tightening my boots and clicking into my bindings. It took the catch of cold air in my nose as I took my first real breath in probably a week. It took the lyrics of an old favorite to help me open my eyes, to realize this is home.
This mountain makes me feel found. It wakes me up. It lifts me up and turns me round. Home can be right with you in every moment that you ski. And it’s not just because I live here and have chosen to raise a human here, to be married to an amazing fancy mountain man here, to invest in friendships and employment and our small town worries here. Anyone who passes through this hamlet of Steamboat and this mountain called Mt. Werner feels a sense of home. It’s why we all come back for more.
My ski morning didn’t get me out of my homemaking mindset, but it reminded me that I am already home: I just need to open my eyes and look around.
The less we say about it the better
Make it up as we go along
Feet on the ground, head in the sky
It’s okay, I know nothing’s wrong, nothing
Happy Monday Skiers and Riders, I’m off to paint. With a smile on my face. You, however, should go ski.
Ali Givnish, Alpine skier
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