When we were six

First Tracks

What is it that we all love about skiing? It's challenging, it's exhilarating, it's outdoorsy. Some skiers even say it's the most fun you can have with your clothes on. I think the answer's a bit less complex: Sliding down a mountain makes us feel like kids again. It gives us license to act as though we were six. With the exception of a few basic rules of safety and etiquette, there are no rules in skiing. We don't have to keep right or stay between the lines. We ski as fast as we like, turn where we want, get air when we can. We spray snow on our friends, wear cool-looking shades and bright orange boots, and eat junk food by the ton. We show off shamelessly. When fortune shines on us and we ski in Europe, we get to push and shove in line.

We gleefully defy authority. When the weatherman says, "Big snowstorm coming, stay off the roads!" we jump into our cars and fishtail our way to the most snow-smitten places we can reach. Upon arriving at our destination, we drive right past the sign that says Parking Lot Full and hunt for a close-in space. We ski as fast as we dare past the Slow Skiing banners. Whenever possible, we enter the cafeteria through the door marked Exit.

Skiing might just be the most immature sport on the planet. And we wouldn't have it any other way.