Chacos: How I went from ripper to domestic engineer (column) |

Chacos: How I went from ripper to domestic engineer (column)

Andrea Chacos
Enjoy the Ride

Once upon a time when I was a twenty-something, I was a first-chair, hike-the-bowl and pack-my-own-lunch kind of skier. I was a weekend warrior because I had to work full-time during the week to pay for those winter weekends of bliss.

Before dawn, a few of us would pile into my fake SUV, a boxy blue Isuzu Trooper, with a cup of hot coffee in one hand and a burrito in the other, just to snag first chair. We’d lap the hill, dripping in smiles and sweat while relieving ourselves in the woods. Back then, stopping for a legit bathroom break was too time-consuming and this was considered overly indulgent and selfish. Stepping into the lodge before noon was simply wrong on so many levels.

In those days, my mission was to keep up with my boyfriend and impress his brother. They hailed from Colorado, born with silver skis. My skiing was culled on the East Coast, where it was icy, moist and crowded. If we were to sustain a long-term relationship, I knew I would have to adopt the ways of mountain lovers everywhere and kick ass on the slopes.

So I did.

I moved to a tiny, mountain town a few miles from some of the greatest skiing in the world. I skied moguls, jumped off cliffs, and learned to dine by stealing Saltines and pickles for lunch. I picked up the vernacular from veteran skiers and then referred to ski runs by their original names instead of using the shiny, newer names like the tourists. I finally won over my future brother-in-law by mastering the farmer’s blow. I slowly began to feel like a local.

Years of pumping and dumping in dingy bathroom stalls between bowl laps, an epic knee injury to mend, a hefty monthly mortgage to pay, in-laws to tend to, and real jobs to work have all taken their toll on my mind and body. Weekends these days are filled with grocery shopping, fixing leaky faucets, cleaning bathrooms and choreographing piles of laundry into each child’s room.

Lately, I’ve been feeling guilty about logging only a handful of skier days per season. This is silly but real. The idea of giving an entire day to skiing feels like a luxury when I know other responsibilities have to be checked off the endless, weekend list. Secretly, all I really want to do is go for a hike, get a manicure, read a couple of chapters in my book, bake cookies and watch a movie with my kids.

Truth be told, I think skiing just doesn’t give me the all-consuming adrenaline rush like it once did. Nowadays, I seem to need a bluebird day, a hot lunch, a toilet to sit on, a glass of Chardonnay for après, and heated seats for the ride home. Now that’s a turn-on for this middle-aged mom of three.

I’d like to believe the mountain girl is still in me, however, she’s just aging, evolving, and maturing. You know, like a ballsy, small batch, aged tequila instead of the cheap swill consumed behind the bleachers.

Having a great, sweaty workout a few days a week is still important to me, but it’s just so I can squeeze into my cute yoga pants and eat buffalo wings slopeside. Of course, I make my children wake up at the crack of dawn on the weekends to go to ski school. I can’t give off the impression that being a couch potato is OK at their young age. Most vital on a Sunday, however, is to really impress my spouse, so I make some food for the football game I know will be on later in the day.

This winter weekend, some will wake early for a day of skiing freshies in the trees while others will lounge at home in pajamas, sipping coffee instead. Some will need to fulfill duties that keep us close to home while others have the ability to soak up hours of fresh mountain air on the hill. One thing I know we all have in common though is the innate need to fuel and feed our soul. That’s just how we roll up here in the mountains.

Andrea Chacos lives in Carbondale, balancing work and happily raising three children with her husband. She strives to dodge curveballs life likes to throw with a bit of passion, humor and some flair. She can be reached at

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