Steep Shots: The family that skis together …

Bonding with the bro


By Emily Palm

When fresh tracks beckon, I usually encourage interpersonal allegiances to fall by the wayside.

Wait for others when there are freshies to be found? No way José. “No family on a powder day,” however, sounds a bit harsh, even when said in Spanglish.

So it went last weekend with my brother, Garrett, visiting from Brooklyn. He caught the schussing bug last year when he came out to experience a slice of the skiing life. The rest of my family knows what a major role skiing holds for my husband and I, but Garrett is the only one who has actually seen it.

While my siblings and I excelled in the newspaper, choir and theater rooms, no one ever marveled at the grace and athleticism of the Palm kids. Hailing from Oregon and California, we went on a handful of trips to Mt. Hood and Mt. Bachelor over the years. None of us ever graduated beyond the green slopes, except for me when I went to college and skiing changed my life.

Skiing does marvelous things for dexterity. The sport transformed me from awkward girl to athletic woman. As I graduated from blue slopes to double black and beyond, I tended to trip less and generally became less clumsy. I can even tell my coordination improves during ski season.

It turns out poise on snow runs in the family. The first day on the slopes last year, Garrett amazed us with his natural skiing prowess (as an improvisational comedian, he attributes his ability to fall well to the physical nature of his craft). By the end of his trip last year Garrett even skied on a black diamond groomed run at Beaver Creek (we’ll eventually work up to an A-Basin black run).

This year I skied with him his entire trip out, and not just out of familial obligation. We had a blast catching up on the chairlift, reveling in the new snow Saturday and bluebird conditions Monday. Hitting the slopes might just be the best sibling bonding out there.

Selfishly speaking, skiing slowly with a newbie can do great thing for form. Last weekend I worked on fine-tuning my tele turns. Without the pressure of someone waiting for me, taking the time to sweat the small stuff in form translates into big leaps in expertise later.

Leaving the boots unbuckled served as another skill-building way to enjoy a mellower day on the slopes while still feeling productive. Back in the day before stiff plastic boots and sturdy bindings, skiers actually had to have form to ski well. Loosening up the corrective gear serves as a reminder to use those edges and stay balanced.

Garrett headed back to New York this week, already homesick for the Rockies when we reached the airport. The fact he’s talking about getting a season pass for next year is the final beautiful part of skiing with siblings: the master plan of wheedling my far-flung family to move out here.

Telemark skier and freelance writer Emily A. Palm Mulica lives in Golden, Colo. Check out her Web site at & follow and Share with her your favorite joke at


One thought on “Steep Shots: The family that skis together …

  1. I always take the walkway to the A Gates for one last look at the Rockies from those picture windows.

    How can I practice my pole plants while walking around NYC??

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