Last year, the Big Guy decided he didn’t want to wear his puffer fish helmet cover anymore. The attention it garnered from every passerby was starting to embarrass him—and he also worried that it might get caught in the trees when he skied through them. Ski Uncle had started to offer US Ski Team stickers as prizes for particularly adventurous runs, which Big Guy proudly affixed to the helmet, and I think, above all, this is what convinced him he needed to say goodbye to the Puffer fish. I, for one, was not ready.
First of all, I can’t stand how cute he looks in it. But more importantly, it made him easy to recognize–to the point that I used it as a tool for my career as a Mommy Spy. After ski-school drop-off, I could ride Carpenter lift and catch sight of him underneath me, returning from a run on Little Baldy. More importantly, when we skied together, it made him easy to find on the hill—whether I was following his lead, or waiting a few feet below him as he carved his turns.
Plus, there were no strangers in the lodge. People stopped to compliment him on his “hat,” and inevitably asked me his age, and, upon learning that we are locals, asked me for tips on skiing with their kids and grandchildren, or how to entertain them après ski in town. Often, people would ask to take his picture. On one such occasion he said “No,” a little bit forcefully. I made a wry comment that his agent had advised him against camera-phone shots, the visitors and I shared a laugh, and we moved on.
Months later, I found myself at a Hollywood party. If it sounds fancy, let me promise you—it was. I was among a large group of journalists mingling with talent (and the agents and publicists that represent them) from Fox TV shows. Yes, I met the cast of Glee (love them!.) But I also caught up with a talent manager I hadn’t seen since we’d worked together on his client’s photo shoot for the magazine where I’d worked 15 years earlier. “Wow! You live in Utah! That’s amazing!” (I get that a lot.) “Yep, and I have two kids,” I mentioned, reaching for my phone to produce pictures. “Look, here’s my older one, on skis!” Tom, my pal, did a double take. “Wow, that WAS you!” I gave him a confused look. “I was with a friend at Deer Valley last winter, and we saw the two of you on the patio at Snow Park—I remember we wanted to take his picture and he said no!” He went on to say, he’d recognized me, but didn’t know I lived in Utah, and so he’d assumed it was someone who looked like me. Then, “Later, we saw him skiing—that kid is good! I can’t believe that’s your son!!”
Believe me, my momma-pride was on, well, eleven (Spinal Tap fans, can I get a Woot Woot?). Still, with both kids on the mountain this winter, I’m hoping I can offer them new funky fresh helmet covers for Hanukkah this year, so I can keep them in my line of sight.
What’s the coolest helmet cover you’ve ever seen?
Do your kids wear ‘em?
Do you love ‘em or hate ‘em?
Let me hear from you.