A snow drought plagues Vermont this winter. Temperatures drop from unseasonably warm to downright arctic, with little snowfall.

It’s dispiriting to drive up to the mountain only to see dirt, rocks, and sad patches of snow.

We enrolled our seven-year-old daughter in ski lessons at Smuggler’s Notch this winter. It’s her second season skiing, and the program lasts for eight Saturdays in the winter.

The problem is there’s little snow or coverage. Bring in the snow machines and fake snow.

But while we sulk and try to drum up an ounce of hope about riding that day, my daughter wakes up on Saturdays bright eyed and bushy tailed, raring to go. She doesn’t see the forest. She sees the trees.

We drop her off in the morning and take a few runs. Rocks. Ice. Signs warning of the danger of low snow coverage.

And then we pick her up. Time to ride as a family. Her earnest nature getting on and off of the chairlift warms my icy heart.

Watching her fling down the mountain paralleled for the first time brings us so much joy. She zooms past us at an alarming rate, turning her head to give us a smug smirk. She beat us.

This is why we head to the mountain every Saturday, come rain or ice or dirt. We show up week after week, good or bad. Because that’s what skiing and snowboarding is all about. It’s what life is all about.

You show up. Sometimes it’s mucky and slick as all hell. And sometimes it pours sweet powder around you and falling feels like flipping into a sea of marshmallows.

I think about this often on the mountain. Just show up. Tune in to the sound of every turn, wind whipping past, and cold, brisk air.

Just show up. And sometimes, you’ll be rewarded with the most profound joy life and nature has to offer.