High on my list of lifetime headdesks is a morning on which I set off to “sweep” a terrain park on a mountain to declare it open and I suddenly needed to pee. I was a ski patroller, wearing the heroic black bib and brace with the yellow medical cross on my back, so I skied under the ropeline, past the “closed” sign, and traversed past the ski jumps to take a piss. I had my suspenders and pants down around my ankles when I heard the telltale crunch of a snowboarder grinding to a halt just above me. His face dropped as we locked eyes. He mouthed a silent “fuck,” then kicked the board to face down the hill and took off.
Dear all: You do not beat a ski patroller down a hill. I yanked my pants up and skated after him, cranking my best G.S. technique until I cut him off. “Did you ski under a closed ropeline?!” I asked him rhetorically. “DO YOU SEE WHY THIS RUN WAS CLOSED?” He hung his head silently. “SHOULD ANYONE HAVE TO SEE WHAT YOU HAD TO SEE??” He shook his head. This was an existential question; he understood. I let him go. So many people saw my butt during my ski days. It was the peeing. Peeing in storm-force winds, peeing on 30-degree slopes, peeing as tourists in jeans whizzed by. Some of the most difficult peeing of my life, really. Keep reading »