A few months after the death of her husband, Joan accepted an invita - tion from her son to celebrate her 68th birthday at Steamboat Springs in the towering Colorado Rockies where he was a certified ski instructor. Yielding to his urgings, she finally spent one day in a class for beginning seniors.

I first met her two years later when we shared a chairlift to the sum - mit of Old Baldy, the giant Sun Valley ski mountain. She told me that that first lesson had opened a new panorama on life. “I learned I could do something I’d never tried. And it’s such a wonderful sport. It fills my win - ters. I’m always meeting new people.”

I recall another first. There’d been a heavy snowstorm earlier in the week and we were off for our first ski trip of the season. It was a special moment for our sparkling, noisy twins: It would be their introduction to skiing. After all, they were 23 months old.

Standing among the eager skiers swirling around the base lodge at Hunter Mountain the girls bounced with joy as plastic skis were tied to their tiny boots. With their mom and I each pulling one, they were hauled up a perilous, snowy slope all of 15 feet long.

At the summit, Mom pointed them downhill. She released them individually. I caught each as she streaked toward the bottom. They giggled with glee over the experience.

“More. More,” chanted one. “Me, too,” her sister begged. Now dynamic 1 8-year-olds, they’ve been ardent skiers since that day.

The golden thread that weaves together the twins and the grandmother is simply this: No one in good health and spirit is ever too young or too old to enjoy the excitement of skiing.

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A few months after the death of her husband, Joan accepted an invita - tion from her son to celebrate her 68th birthday at Steamboat Springs in the towering…