Did you ever have one of those days where you said- ” this was the perfect ski day? ” Well, a couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to ski with my lifelong friend Tom Birsic, whom I have known since Kindergarten. My wife Janet had had enough after 5 days of hitting it hard at Deer Valley, Snowbasin and Powder Mountain. Our friends the Flying Smittys had gone back to Philly. and Patter( Tom’s better half) had other plans for the day. So Birsic and I hit it early and it was a sunny glorious day at Deer Valley. Tom doesn’t ski anywhere else as he loves Deer Valley. In particular, he loves the Nabob Run and also the signature Steins Way- a black diamond that is so much fun to ski when it is groomed.
So riding up the Sultan Express, Tom and I welcomed a guy to ride with us who was from Australia. An interesting guy who was in Utah for 3 weeks skiing and taking in the NBA All Star Game. He was a developer for Microsoft and was invited to the game due to his work on the PlayStation platform involving the NBA teams. He asked us on the way up if we knew the mountain and could suggest where to go. We asked him what kind of a skier he was and he said ” black diamonds and double black diamonds.” Tom looked at him and said “follow us.” I love Tom’s confidence! We took him to Steins Way and the competitive streak came out in me as I got the jump on him and let it fly down Stein’s waiting for him and Tom at the chairlift at the bottom. He looked at us and said” so glad I connected with you guys” and we skied with him the rest of the morning.
The chairlift conversations developed, and we learned about his life in Australia, where he skied, what his job entailed, and then Tom, being the educated guy that he is, began to ask about Australian Rules Football. I looked at Birsic and said” what do you know about Australian Rules Football?” The Aussie was impressed with Tom’s knowledge of the game. Tom went on to discuss cricket and the finer points of that game and I was in awe of his knowledge. Tom in fact had spent some time in Australia representing K+L Gates- his firm with whom he is a partner. Birsic is a very successful litigator and lives full time now in Park City because he loves the mountains and he loves to ski. The Aussie was so glad he connected with us and we kept making runs with him. On one of the runs, he asked politely how old we were. He was a bit stunned when we said 68, as he was 52 and was hustling to keep up even though he told us he skied nothing but black diamonds and double black diamonds. Tom and I took him down Perserverance Bowl and Nabob and some other signature Deer Valley runs, and he was so appreciative of the tour.
I did tell the Aussie ( whose name is Drew), that Tom is in excellent shape. He skis a lot of days, takes hikes with his dog and hits the weights in his gym at home and at his club. So really, Tom works out about 3 times a day and he shows it. He is in great shape. Point being here that you need to be in shape to ski. As we get older, it is virtually impossible to ski yourself into shape and you are much better off being fit to really enjoy the skiing experience. I ride a mountain bike or hike 4 days a week, year round, but really need to take a tip from Tom and hit the weights. My doc, who is my mountain bike buddy, says that I could use a little upper body strength. I have been on this plant based diet and have lost 10 pounds that I did not need to lose. Thus, my doc says, ” Pat- you are in shape and your legs are strong, but you need to start lifting so that your upper body does not lose tone due to the weight loss.” I am taking his advice and starting that program slowly so as not to hurt myself. I will get there Syed.
When Tom and I bid farewell to Drew- he said,” I sure hope I can ski like you guys when I am 68.” Tom and I chuckled and told him what a pleasure it was to meet him and to ski with him. Somehow, I am sure he will tell his mates about the old dudes he skied with and what a nice tour they gave him. In many ways, Tom and I appreciated the compliment but really, it affirmed that we both were doing something right and hopefully we will be able to keep doing this for years to come. Tom and I really loved skiing with the young guy, and it kind of made the day even a little more special. We are still in the game.
I have written a lot lately about keeping active and keep moving as we get older. It is so important and if you like to enjoy things like skiing, riding a bike, running, or whatever floats your boat, as you age- keep moving. You can do things for a long time if you do. Thanks for reading.
You don’t quit skiing because you get old, you get old because you quit skiing.