It was one of those days that you look outside and think, “Man, I HAVE to go skiing today”. It looked like a cold and miserable day. It looked overcast and foggy. It did not look like a nice day to be skiing. But today was one of my scheduled days, so dutifully, I got the kids going, and we headed up to the ski hill.
The parking lot was relatively empty, not uncommon for a Tuesday, so we were able to park close on the upper level. We each carried our skis or boards and methodically parked them in our usual places in front of the lodge. I went down to sign in while the kids settled at a table, and the day began. I spent my first 30 minutes working the parking lot, saying hello to people, answering a few questions, but mostly just standing there, shielding my face from the snow that was falling somewhat diagonally from the gentle wind.
By 9:30 a.m., I was ready to put my skis on, so left the parking lot, knowing that the stragglers would find their way to the chair lift just fine without my help! I knew a fellow Host would be waiting at 10a.m. for a possible tour, so I made an effort to be there myself so we could ski together. We rode the chair lift together up the hill, passing the time with small talk, commenting on the falling snow and what the conditions would be like today. It wasn’t too cold, and besides being a bit foggy, the snow looked good and the day seemed to have some promise.
At the top of the hill, we exited the chair and slid down to the Family Ski Zone sign. The other two Hosts were already there, and we made plans for where we wanted to ski first. Then, a couple older men skied up and wanted a tour, one of the easy ways down. I volunteered to give the tour, so left my group, and took him down the hill.
The snow was amazing! I kept looking behind me to be sure he wasn’t too far behind, and finally stopped to take a rest. When he stopped he exclaimed “I wondered when you’d ever stop. My legs are burning!!” My legs were burning too, so we both gladly stood there resting, watching the snow gently fall, and we discussed whether this run would be appropriate for his friend. Since the friend had recently injured his wrist, this gentleman decided this run was a little too steep, so we skied down the rest of the way to Chair 1, and went our separate ways.
I headed up the hill again, this time riding alone, and spending most of the time shielding my face from the blowing snow. Once at the top, I met up again with my fellow Hosts, only to be approached again by a woman also wanting a tour. She wanted the easy way down, so I volunteered again, leaving my colleagues, and taking advantage of her slow speed to work on my form! We took a leisurely ride down the hill, cutting across Beaver Slide to head back to midway, taking Chair 1 to the top again. This time she wanted to go all the way to the bottom, so we again took the easy run down the mountain, this time going down a green run I had never been down myself.
It was fun, stopping to wait for her, chatting a little, then continuing down the mountain. The snow was soft and light, and skiing was effortless, like being on cruise control while driving the car! I found myself singing as I skied, putting my arms out like a bird, feeling like I was flying lightly down the hill, the light powder spraying up behind each turn like a water skier on the water. I had visions of Warren Miller ski movies, and wondered if I looked anything like those in his films!!
Once at the bottom, we took a quick, break at the lodge, and I took my skis to the ski shop to get them waxed. I had noticed on the flat that my skis seemed very slow, and wondered if they needed some TLC since I know nothing about ski maintenance. They did need waxing, and it was fascinating to go into the back room and watch the process. Being a Host has some unexpected perks, and this was one of them!
Once my skis were done, we hit the chair again, this time heading for Lost Dutchman, the green run on the other side of the mountain. By this time of the day, my legs were warmed up and ready to do some serious skiing, but I was still with this older woman, and as we passed run after run, all of them black diamonds, I found myself longing to be freed of my tour giving responsibilities so I could fly through the trees in the deep powder.
Lost Dutchman was just beautiful, almost like cross country skiing, since there were so few people on the mountain. There was simply nobody else around, and the snow was mostly untouched in the east Basin. it was difficult to be content skiing with an almost beginner, but I tried to just see the beauty that was all around me. There were many spots of completely untouched snow, and I took every opportunity to glide through those areas, watching the snow cascade over the tips of my skis like water flowing over the rocks in a river. It was silky smooth, like satin ribbon waving in the wind, and it felt so light and airy, like walking on clouds. I had never seen snow do that before, and it was just incredible to see!
We made our way to the top of the mountain one last time, but this time my “tour’ person went down the mountain on her own, and I was able to head down with my colleagues, down the double black diamond runs, through the deep powder in the trees. It was such a fun day, and turned out to be one of the best days ever!!