It meant eight hours on the road to get seven hours on the hill.
One night when I was 12 years old my father walked into my room, shook me awake, and said it was time. It was 4:30 a.m. The bus would be leaving soon. I dressed myself quietly in the dark, grabbed my rental skis, and followed him into the damp mid-Atlantic night.
We lived in the small town of Salisbury, Md., which is so flat that the biggest hill is an overpass. It rarely snowed. As a result, I had so little idea of what skiing was about that I can still recall my father explaining this exotic sport to me in our den. I was 10.