Susan C. Anthony

Dennis and Susan at Alyeska ResortDownhill Skiing

Dennis and I met through mutual friends. We were teachers at different elementary schools who coordinated, in our respective buildings, a student ski program in partnership with Alyeska Resort.

In thanks for our help, Alyeska rewarded us with ski passes. In the 1980s, I skied nearly every weekend day. I loved skiing solo. The lifts were all double chairs at the time. I could zoom to the front of a line by calling out, "Single." I met lots of interesting people from all walks of life during the 5-8 minutes it took to reach the top of the hill.

Once when there wasn't much of a line, I skied up to a young man in line who resembled Richard, the brother of a good friend. Instead of the usual question, "Are you single?" (i.e. "Would you like to share a ride on the lift?"), I asked, "Are you Rich?" He looked at me strangely and slowly responded, "No ... but I make a good living!"

Our job was to sign up kids in our schools who were interested, supervise them on the bus from school to resort, help fit them with rental equipment, and schedule chaperons so at least one adult was in the Day Lodge at all times. At the end of the day we were to get kids reconnected with their stuff, on the bus and safely home. Ski lessons were taught by professional instructors in the morning and kids had afternoons to play and practice their new skills.

It was a pleasure to share the outdoor experience of skiing with my students—to just have fun with them. For some kids, it was the first time they'd done anything like this on their own, away from parents. I watched their confidence grow. It was a wonderful time for everyone. Years later I ran into some of the kids, then in high school. They thanked me for introducing them to a great sport.

Dennis ski jumpingAlthough Dennis and I had briefly met before through mutual friends, we first skied together in February 1986. That was the year I took leave to get my first book published. I was waiting and waiting for a promised contract from the publisher. I had a season ski pass, so decided to make good use of the time.

Our mutual friends were there and we all skied together. At one point, Dennis led me off into the woods to access a place from which to jump back onto a main trail (see photo). He had been a competitive ski jumper in his college days. I was a bit intimidated, but gathered courage and jumped. At a critical moment, a familiar voice shouted "Hello!" from the lift. I looked up and fell down, not breaking any bones but severely twisting my knee and essentially ending my skiing for the year. Dennis felt badly, of course, but I recovered and now we're happily married!

On January 31, 1998, one of our younger students didn't quite make it onto the lift. Usually the lift operator pushes little kids back so their derrière is firmly planted on the seat, but in her case it didn't happen. She slipped off the chair and held on desperately. By the time the lift operator noticed something was amiss, she was dangling 20 feet off the ground. He stopped the lift but couldn't run it backwards and she'd have been further from the ground if it had kept going forward. Nobody knew what to do! The manager of the resort, Larry Daniels, tried to go hand over hand on the cable to get to her chair but lost his grip, fell, and broke his back! Ouch! The little girl hung on for an hour while ski patrollers built a huge pile of soft snow underneath her. Eventually, she let go and fell into the snow. She wasn't hurt at all, thankfully!

It's been years since we've skied. Too expensive. As we progress to senior citizenship, however, discounts might permit us to pull out our antique skis and enjoy one last beautiful day in the snow. We'd love to check out the changes at the resort, if nothing else.

Go on to read the next article:  Treed by Moose
Source:, ©Susan C. Anthony