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Liz Marsh
Liz Marsh

From the balcony of the condo I’m sharing with my cousins this weekend I can see the hot tubs. There are five different ones of varying temperatures and seating arrangements. There’s even a pool with a slide. The snow falls softly as a waiter serves cocktails poolside. The roaring fire pit in the middle of the patio promises to keep you warm between the hot tub and your fuzzy robe. Just a few steps further is the ski lift, waiting to whisk skiers and snowboarders to the top of the mountain. It is total ski weekend opulence.

We can’t quite believe that this world is now ours to enjoy. It seems too good to be true. All weekend long we’ve felt the need to remind ourselves where we came from.

“Remember when we wanted to get the first chair so we slept in the car? We had to scrape the frost from the inside of the windows in the morning.”

“Remember when the blizzard closed I-70 and the only hotel room we could afford had blood on the wall?”

After the most perfect morning shredding the pow, we stopped for lunch.

“Remember when we couldn’t afford resort food, so we’d eat frozen peanut butter sandwiches in the car?”

We laughed about the fact that my cousin’s son and daughter don’t know any different. They think it’s perfectly normal to walk out their front door and catch a lift to the top of a world-class mountain.

We tried to tell them that when they’re broke college kids, or before they have a stable career, they, too, will have to work hard to play. And they looked at us like we were crazy.

Maybe they will come out swinging in adulthood. Maybe they’ll invent a great new app and make enough money early in life and will never have to suffer.

But I hope not.

Every miserable drive up the mountains in a beater car without heat taught us how to be great drivers. Every time we had to scrape our cars looking for change to buy a lift ticket taught us the value of our money. Every hand-me-down snowboard with beat-up edges, or pair of boots that didn’t quite fit, taught us how to be better at the sport.

We were broke, but we had so much fun. And I wouldn’t trade those days for all the hot tub cocktails in the world.

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