Archive for November, 2009

Elevation is King Early Season

This time of year, my ride to work is pretty interesting.  See, like most of you, I live down in the valleys of Northern Idaho, about 25 miles away from Schweitzer and over 2000 feet lower in elevation.  And, like most of you, I don’t have a flake of snow at my house right now.

From the bottom of the Schweitzer road, the nine mile journey up the mountain is really a tale of two seasons — at the bottom, the ground is bare and brown is the dominant color — kinda ugly and depressing, actually. But those who would let this landscape fool them would be missing out at the very different world waiting up the road. 

Twenty minutes later, you’re in the middle of winter. Snow in the trees, growing snowbanks on the roadside, loaded rooftops.  Ahhhh.  It’s what skiers dream about all summer long.  In fact, Schweitzer’s received 50 inches of snowfall already during this very young season.

So, go ahead, look out your window and gaze at your barren backyard.  But, don’t let the image fool you…. There’s snow in mountains and the ski season is here. Get out and enjoy the season!

The Demise of the Drought

It’s hard to explain the anticipation that has been simmering inside me for the last few days, weeks, months…. From the first bite of frost, to the first snowflake, to the first chair, waiting to ski has been like waiting for rain in the desert. It might come, eventually, but not soon enough.

Taking that analogy a little further, when ski-dehydration sets in it causes a strange phenomenon, from irrational behaviors, excited outbursts and even hallucinations.  It gets to a point when you can hardly contain yourself, takes over your life, haunts your every thought.

Then that moment comes…

This morning, I got up at 4:30, was on the road by 5:15 and pulled into the parking lot at 6am. I was ecstatic to see several inches of fresh snow in the village, and undoubtedly more on top! I already had all my snow gear on, save for boots and skis, and was ready to go.

After capturing a few photos – the first bell of the season, first chair of the season, I tucked away the camera and made my first turns of the season.

There is no way to explain it – it’s not like it was just a cool drink of water to temper the sting of ski-dehydration, but a shower of snow and euphoria.

Zipping down the run I found myself, as I normally do, inspired by the fact that every other person on this mountain right now has something in common. They were all dying of thirst. They are all happily quenched. And now, rejuvenated, they will drink in the sublimity of this mountain all season long.

Cheers.

Drink up.

First Turn Jitters

As we literally inch closer to the beginning of the season I find myself spending more and more time daydreaming about those first turns. I sit at home and stare at my new skis propped up against the wall and think “I should probably wax them one more time, just make sure it has really soaked in.” Anything I can do that has anything related to skiing I want to do it!

I know the first few days of the season means making turns on Midway or Chair2, runs that would typically be avoided or skied on cruise control during the regular season. However at first I don’t care if there is fresh powder, or if the weather isn’t perfect. The only thing that matters is that the mountain is back open and I’m having fun with friends again doing the thing that all of us love and live for!



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