Monday morning sitting at the
office desk and someone walks by and says “How was your weekend”?
In less than a heart beat I am transported back to
the drive up the hill. The pink morning sunrise illuminating the cloud over our
mountain that dumped 8-10 inches of fresh last night and will continue to dump
another 6” through the day. Laughing on the chair, we rise above tree line into
the biting, sub-zero wind that is whipping cloud and snow into a mono chromatic
wall of blankness. Skiing by brail (” Feel the force Luke”, one of my partners
says) for the first 100 yards of our run down to the trees. Then, one thrill
finished we enter another world. Deathly
quiet as we cross the tree line, invited in by the sound of snow falling
through the branches, the trees welcome our company.
and hollering as we punch through the deep sheltered domain of the trees. The
wind is stilled in here, and the snow covers the sharpness of the forest floor.
We absorb the smoothness of the snow, and our hard, sharp turns develop
smoothness to match the terrain. The trees like silent guides, probably bemused
by our antics, direct us in our travel down the mountain, a huge slalom course
with no loser and all are winners.
build on each others energy, as the day goes on. A group of wild people
blasting past others as we ride the terrain, diving through glades, openings
and over jumps that alone we would show hesitation and maybe a little self
doubt, choosing another path for that run. Together we are super and nothing
can stop us. We blow through openings in the trees that are but a crevice of
light. We hunt the sides of the runs for the cornice drops from wind blown
drifts, a landing in the soft snow below, a perfect landing or a head plant,
both are met with catcalls and whistles and encouragement. We hunt for the
patch, that 2, 3, if lucky 4 turn spot of snow that is yet untracked in an
otherwise chopped up field. Pity anyone below us on the hill, suddenly
surrounded by a mass of insane animals, cackling and laughing as they travel on
down the hill in a cloud of snow. We are a gust of wind, with no real direction
or destination, there one moment and then gone. We are ageless, old and young,
both blended and neither the master. We push each other, and accept the wrecks
as part of the day, waiting and helping as needed for the gear to be gathered
and cleaned off (and of course the ribbing), and then off we go again.
We gathered in the lodge for lunch. The energy is
still there, enhanced by the atmosphere of the mid mountain lodge. Here, all
around us are other skiers and boarders, all with the energy and joy of the
day. No one cares about loud and boisterous talk or what we say or laugh about,
our aura is infectious and we share happily with those around us. Back to the
hill and the rapidly filling tracks we go.
The snow falls heavily, our laps becoming a pristine
white as we ride up the chair, filling with snow in the same manner as the
tracks we left behind us. We fly on the run, gliding through the turns and
never touching the hard snow below us, floating as on an ocean. With wonderful
frequency an unexpected face shot blasting a sharp burst of cold, excitement
and exhilaration. Here the years of learning and practice played a rich tune.
Every turn had a bit of the falls, frustration, and miserable days, the
thoughts of giving up. Every turn had a bit of the first stem-christie, blue
bird spring day; the first powder and bump run that felt good and the first
black diamond run with a friend.
The runs we took that day blend, the best moments
added together into a day with one run that was ultimate throughout. And the
great ski days blend into one day that had the ultimate run lasting decades, priceless
moments of life.
I smile and with a quick glance, reply to my
co-worker, “It was good”.