The first time I went skiing I was 34 years old. My 9‐year‐old son expressed an interest in learning and, though I was perhaps a bit old to pick up a new skill, I did not want to miss the chance to ski with him. Growing up on the beaches of the Black Sea, I had not had many opportunities to hit the slopes. Still, if he was going to learn, perhaps we could take lessons together.
That first season of skiing was nothing but frustration and disappointment. Here I was, a grown man, tumbling down the mountain, snow in my pants, contorted into some of the most grotesque and humiliating positions you can imagine. I watched helplessly as my son quickly surpassed me in skill level. All I had to show at the end of the season was a pair of poles bent out of shape from falling all the time.
It would have been easy to quit at this point. All the reasons were there. “I am too old to learn. I could suffer all kinds of injuries to my limbs (and my pride). Perhaps I am just not meant for it. I am very good at other things, so why not stick to what I am good at and leave skiing to those who have the gift for it?” But I stayed with it and I'm glad I did. Had I quit, I would have missed out on some of the most amazing experiences of my life: countless hours spent on the lift talking to my son, the amazing slopes and unforgettable trips we shared, the first time we skied a double black diamond (a minor navigation mistake of mine).
Today skiing is one of my favorite ...