What impact has Antelope Butte had on my family?
When this question was asked of me, the memories came flooding into my heart and mind.
Our oldest son, Josh, began snowboarding with the Luplow boys while in elementary school. Many weekends would see Terri driving the boys up the mountain and back down. I was able to see the positive influence the activity had on the boys. Josh would come back saying that we should all go.
It took a little fast talking on his part to convince us. I remember Mark saying he had tried skiing before. It didn’t go well. Nevertheless, we packed the suburban with the five of us and a few friends and made the trek up the mountain. Then we did it again, every weekend.
We were able to rent equipment from Antelope Butte or Big Horn Mountain Sports. With growing children, this was definitely the most cost-effective way to go. I say “we,” but I should really say “they.” I never felt the need to strap my feet to two sticks and slide down a hill of snow.
Yes, I tried it. I took a ski class at Antelope Butte with Kathryn and Jonathan (Jonny), and I finished it. The instructor, Chris Carroll, did a great job. We all learned the skill. I just couldn’t convince myself that there was any enjoyment in skiing; it scared me. I have said many times that I would feel much safer in a car speeding down the road than on two sticks going down a hill of snow.
Now, snowmobiling is another story.
The rest of the family did not share my fear. For Mark, Josh, Kathryn and Jonny, hitting the slopes was the highlight of every weekend. Yes, even Mark discovered that coasting down the hill was fun after all, and the four of them would ski all morning long.
Not that I didn’t enjoy myself. I loved every minute of my time in the lodge. It was the only time that I sat and did nothing. No dishes, no laundry, no cleaning. Just reading. I sat back and read a book just for fun.
After a morning of skiing, I always had lunch ready for the family. Sandwiches were our staple with a side of chips and, of course, cookies. We each always had a canteen of water with us. After lunch, they would take off for an afternoon of skiing.
While each of them gained a lifelong skill and true enjoyment in skiing, they also developed the ability to make new friends each weekend. Some of those friends were from Sheridan, where we lived, and others were from all over Wyoming. A few are still friends.
There was always a particular group of guys that would find themselves in our vehicle each weekend. They became very proficient skiers and would build jumps. They had a blast building their skills. They always had tag-alongs learning as well.
We as a family, along with friends, continued up to the Bighorn Mountains every weekend up to the time Antelope Butte closed. It has been missed very much in our family. We valued the family time that we had on each escapade. During those years of skiing (reading), we developed the kind of openness that has built us into a strong family and a close group of friends. With the time fast approaching that the area will be open again, our excitement is building. We now have a little guy, our grandson Hank, who will get to have many of the same experiences that his dad and aunt and uncle did growing up. I’m sure he will gain the same appreciation for skiing and for Antelope Butte.
I so look forward to the day that all my kids are back on these slopes together. To quote my youngest son, Jonathan, when he was on his first solo downhill run, “Let’s see what these babies can do!”
Teresa Law is a mother to many, resident of Sheridan County and a dog lover. She is pictured, above, with her grandson, Hank.