White Out

December 3rd, 2010

White Out - Behind The Awkwardness

“I didn’t wear my goggles skiing, went snow blind, and got these patches while my eyes healed. My dad took this photo of me and my ski instructor (who he was trying to make feel guilty/teach a lesson) the next day. I love this picture and I love that my dad would document something like this. I am sure Tony did too.”

(submitted by Elizabeth)

67 Responses to “White Out”

  1. Conrad says:

    But the really pressing question is, was she racked up like a deuce, another runner in the night?

  2. moi says:

    The reunion calls for a re-creation photo! =)

  3. samer_shu says:

    She was getting ski lessons from the Bernie, the dead guy from Weekend at Bernie’s?

  4. Sadie says:

    I just love how is badge says “We care” lmfao

  5. Val says:

    What year was this? I grew up skiing at Squaw too

  6. Jimbo says:

    C’mon Tony, the least you could do was let the girl wear your big ‘ol honking sunglasses!!

  7. Eliot says:

    Elizabeth, you have inspired me to submit my own awkward family photo. And I have several gems to choose from!

  8. j_bryon says:

    Young Elizabeth was allowed to the secret hideout but only if she was blindfolded first.

  9. Alan says:

    I’m just amazed at how well Elizabeth can touch-type such a caption and post the picture without being able to see… Great job!!

  10. Tony/aka Bernie says:

    I honestly did feel sorry for Elizabeth and still do today. It was an unfortunate thing to have happened. Being the parent myself of two terrific kids who live life to the fullest, I also have compassion for her Dad but understand that we all need to take personal responsibility in situations like these. Lessons were learned by all that day, but ultimately in the snow sports buisness our job was to provide a safe, fun, learning experience for our guest and that day we could have done better! Elizabeth, if you are a skier let’s take a run together for “old time sake”!

    • Rosieposie says:

      You are too cool Tony! Thanks for the laughs!! p.s. hope Elizabeth catches up with ya

    • Laura says:

      Very classy, sir!

    • hmm says:

      Our teachers used to take me and my classmates rappelling without helmets and rafting without sun screen, and it didn’t even occur to our parents that they were important. I’m glad safety’s a priority now, but you were just handling it like everyone else did. Glad to hear you’re still out on the slopes!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hello there from Elizabeth. First, to settle all the personal responsibility instructor vs. parent ski goggle debates; it was not Tony or my dad at fault but ME, at age 8.

      Dad sent me out with dorky ’70s goggles with a rainbow strap and yellow lenses which were decidedly not cool when all the other kids in my ski class had rad ’80s black and neon sunglasses. So I threw my giant goggles off of the lift into the snow below never to be seen again. Problem solved! Except for burning off my corneas and all.

      When I showed this to him online my dad said that Tony was a good guy who obviously cared about kids and was good at his job. He also laughed his ass off at all your comments. Thanks Dad! He just wanted the ski instructors to see what happened when kids didn’t wear goggles. He also remembered that Tony was the supervisor, not the instructor, which I didn’t know but heck I was 8 and couldn’t see anything. I just remember that I got to ride on a snowmobile.

      I love the combination of Tony’s paternal arm around my shoulder and my eye patches in what would otherwise be a totally normal coach/kid style photo. But the bizarre and creepy gauze, Tony’s somewhat stunned expression and my obvious blindness give it that special awkwardness. It looks like I could have had my eyes gouged out and was on a Make-a-Wish ski trip or something equally morbid. Leave it to my dad to document an injury with the same chummy casualness as taking a photo of me and my soccer coach.

      And no, after this I never went skiing again but 22 years later I am going to try.


      I will be at North Star the day after Christmas and would love to meet and get a reunion photo together (especially since I couldn’t see you last time.) This time around my dad will be calmer and I will have glasses instead of patches. I am shocked not only that we are connecting online but that you remember me as a tall snow blind eight year old named Lizzie. This photo has always been a favorite of mine and never fails to crack me up with its awkwardness. And if we do


      • tony says:


        This photo has been the source of much fun and laughter as i took on a life of its own……. from a posting on facebook by a friend of my (22 year old) daughter, to a framed version that appeared as a white elephant gift exchange at our Christmas party that now sits at the front desk of my construction office, to a suggested safety meeting topic at the Squaw Ski School and finally last week to to an appearance on national tv on CBS Sunday Morning, amazing!

        It’s great that you are giving skiing another try! Although I regularly ski at Squaw I am no longer with the Ski School having switched over to custom home building.

        A reunion photo would be fun, my contact information is on my website tonyhardyconstruction.com

        All the best,


  11. Get Real says:

    Sorry, but I agree with Matt Hardy – it was the parent’s responsibility for the child to have the proper gear …

  12. matt hardy says:

    Ok here is what yall been looking for!
    “I do feel sorry for the girl. The real story is…… this happened sometime in the late 80′s, I was the supervisor in charge on the “day after”. This really pissed off Dad comes in the ski school office with his daughter and wants to have the instructor responsible strung up, of course on the day after, the ski instructor was long gone. I had to calm him down and agreed to have my picture taken with his daughter! parents blaming the ski school for something they should have been resposible for. After that though we had a box full of lost and found sun glasses and goggles that we put on the kids.”

    • Holly says:

      Great story Matt! I remember your dad well. He’s an awesome guy and a fixture on the Squaw slopes. Obviously a seasoned skier was not responsible for a tourist’s naivete about proper ski wear.

  13. matt hardy says:

    Just talked to my dad! You all want to hear the real story?

  14. matt hardy says:

    HAHA ! Yes! That is my dad!

  15. trogdor says:

    Wait, shouldn’t the ski instructor have been the one who insisted on the goggles if they were so critical? What about her dad (the photographer), didn’t he have some responsibility when she was skiing outside the lesson? She looks pretty young for all of the blame to be assigned to her (And taking a “that’ll learn ya” picture).

  16. meri says:

    This is hands down one of the best commercial endorsements I have ever seen for Squaw Valley! Truth in advertising! “WE CARE!”

  17. iLOLd says:

    Poor kid! This looks like a Stephen King book cover… (Run! Someone mad her mad!!!)

  18. Josh says:

    He looks like Bernie Lomax, haha! He is alive! I knew it all along!

  19. carol says:

    Ski instructor carried this photo around everywhere, “Remember kids, don’t EVER forget your goggles like Elizabeth did!” How nifty to be the bad example! Poor girl.

    • Rosieposie says:

      That would be too funny if someone ever asked her, “Hey aren’t you the Elizabeth that was in the pic from ski camp warning about snowblindness? By the end of the week we had seen that picture so many times, I could recognize you anywhere! There is something different about you though, did you change your hair? Oh no wait it is the eyes, they have color, I should have bet that bimbo that said they were blue, I knew they were brown all along! So how the heck you been?”

      • Dana says:

        But why would any responsible instructor take someone down the slope without goggles? If the goggles were so readily available, why didn’t someone put some on this poor kid?

        • Cara says:

          I live in Michigan, and I only really wore goggles on really windy days, otherwise I often didn’t bother. It’s not like adults were with you all the time, so it was your own fault. I’d ask the girl what happened to her goggles before you go pointing any fingers.

  20. moony says:

    OMGosh is such a silly phrase. everyone knows it’s meant to be ‘God.’ changing a word doesn’t change your intention.

    that said, that’s an amazing picture.

    • thelocket says:

      Actually it does. It isn’t the same word and just because you are putting your own intent into what the word means, does not make you some “magical” intention fairy that gets to say whether someone means something or not. Relax and just enjoy the awkwardness of the picture and leave the intentions to the experts.

    • amy says:

      I like the gosh option myself. And I ain’t no jesus freak.

    • plainbelliedsneetch says:

      Sooo, no point in cleaning up my language? Say what I mean?
      My three-year-old nephew’s gonna get a great vocabulary lesson next time we spend time together.

    • steph says:

      to be clear….my “intention” was to say “gosh” which is why I spelled it out.

  21. susie says:

    The instructor needed to be wearing sunscreen. Pretty bad sunburn there.

  22. Photo Voyer says:

    Isn’t he a bit old for her? Talk about robbing the cradle.

  23. jaci says:

    This is so not funny! I had the same thing happen at Squaw Valley and was snowblind for three days!

  24. Jake says:

    HAHAHA so awkward, but so good.

  25. LT says:

    Who’s Tony?

  26. april says:

    Drum roll!!!!! The man we have chosen for your new husband IS……………

  27. Joy says:

    “We Care”

  28. steph says:

    OMGosh!…I didn’t know there was such a thing. Glad you healed and can laugh about it now.

    • Cara says:

      Neither did I. Of course, I only took one ski lesson when I was 8, and then just practiced all by myself, learning as I went as the years passed growing up in Michigan.

  29. Micacamcam says:

    I’m sure this picture was brought out anytime she did anything her parents did not want her to as a warning…. forever!

  30. Suzanne says:

    To be honest, the ski instructor doesn’t look fazed at all. Plus, he’s wearing sunglasses…

  31. Tina says:

    I love the “WE CARE” insignia on Tony’s outfit!

  32. Alex says:

    ahahah how does somebody get to that point? xD

Leave a Reply

View Mobile Site
spread the awkwardness