January 15, 2019
Our New Year’s Eve Tradition
“Click, click.” Ski bindings lock in place one by one as we gather under the clock tower in the middle of the village. The chill bites the air and paints cheeks rosy as we wait for the group to all arrive. A few minutes before night skiing ends, we make our way to the lift.
This year the stars twinkle brightly as we begin loading the chairs. It isn’t always that way. We’ve weathered thick fog, snowstorms, and even rain.
On the way up we recall years past – strangers who joined us spontaneously, friends who weren’t quite ready for the steep climb, and what year each of our kids joined the tradition.
“The kids have to be old enough to carry glow sticks or flares, and good enough skiers to not require help” Dad told us the year he inaugurated the tradition on the eve of the Millennium in 2000. Thus, ten became the minimum age to join the climb and now signifies a certain rite of passage in our family.
“We’ve been expecting you” the ski patrol says as we gather at the top and load our skis on our backs. They warn us of cat machines grooming the runs and excuse themselves of any liability. We agree and begin the trek up the ridge.
The noisy chatter dissipates as the angle of the hill steepens. Breathless encouragements from the young and fast punctuate the silence, “You can do it! Good job. Way to go Mom!”
Kick, step, kick, step, we make our way up the face of the ridge.
Fireworks, high fives, and hot chocolate wait at the top.
Unknowingly, so much bonding happens between parent and child, cousin to cousin, friend to friend. The experience ties hearts through woven strands of memory and tradition.
We light the flares and line up to follow each other down in an “S” pattern. Someone volunteers to lead and set the pace for the group.
As I turn my skis downhill, red light shooting from the fire in my hands, I feel alive. People shout, one after the other, “Happy New Year!”
There is truly no other way I would want to turn the calendar page and launch into a new beginning.
So what is so appealing about this experience? It has the key elements of a unique family tradition.
Four Elements That Create A Special, Unique Tradition
- THE ELEMENT OF CHALLENGE – something must be overcome
- THE ELEMENT OF FELLOWSHIP – people are embarking on an interesting experience together
- THE ELEMENT OF FUN – those involved enjoy what they are doing, even if parts are difficult
- THE ELEMENT OF ORIGINALITY – not everyone does it. In fact, it makes our family unique that we have this tradition.
Ours may not sound like a “fun” experience to many of you, but to us, it’s one of the greatest highlights of our year. As we fly down the mountain all aglow, we are building an interesting life, and we belong to each other.